Like the SAT, the ACT is used to determine college admissions and award scholarships and grants. Most colleges accept the SAT, ACT or both. The ACT is approximately 3 hours long and made up of four sections—English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. Each section is scored on a scale of 1 – 36, and the composite overall score is the average of the four scores. The test includes an optional 30-minute essay. Note that some colleges require the writing section, so please check the websites of the colleges you are considering.
The ACT maintains test scores by test date and allows you to choose which date to send to colleges. Some colleges allow you to use this feature, others require that you send ALL scores. For this reason, it is advised to take the test a maximum of two or three times. Again, check individual college requirements before test registration and sending scores. ACT Test Dates ACT Test Registration Check or Send your ACT Scores ACT Test Accommodations
What are the differences between the SAT and ACT?
Most colleges accept either or both the SAT or ACT. However, the tests have important differences that each student should consider. One essential difference between the ACT and the SAT is that the ACT is a curriculum-based college admission test which measures the knowledge and skills taught in high school that are important for college-level work. The SAT is an exam that measures college success skills as well as the critical thinking and reasoning skills in reading and math that are necessary for academic success in college. For more detailed information on the differences read the Princeton Review comparison. You may also view the StudyPoints chart of the key differences between the current SAT and ACT tests.
Is one test “better” than the other? Which test should I take?
Given that many students score slightly higher on the ACT it is recommended that you attempt both SAT and ACT. Recent research has suggested this is especially true for young women. You are encouraged to take the ACT with writing in either the spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year.