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ACT or American College Testing is an undergraduate entrance exam taken by high school students in English-speaking nations. The ACT is majorly preferred by US universities. ACT registration can be done both online and offline mode. Non-US residents need to pay an ACT exam fee of $63(INR 4,835.25) (without writing), or $88(INR 6,754) (with writing). The ACT score is valid for 5 years. The average ACT score is 21. ACT exam pattern was previously paper-based. ACT is taken in a computer-based format outside the US. ACT syllabus consists of subjects like reading, Mathematics, English, Science, and an optional writing paper. ACT score range is measured on a 0-36 scale. The total duration of the ACT is 2 hours 55 minutes (without writing) and 40 minutes if the writing section is added. Candidates receive their ACT scores within 2-8 weeks of taking the test.  


Candidates are required to know which one to take the ACT or SAT. Below is the difference between ACT vs SAT.

Section SAT ACT
Test contents Reading, Writing & Language, Math (with a calculator and without a calculator), Essay (Optional) English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, Essay (Optional)
Duration of the test 3 hours (format: no essay) and 3 hours 50 minutes (format: SAT with essay) 2 hours 55 minutes (format: no essay) and 3 hours 40 minutes (format: SAT with essay)
Number of questions 154 questions 215 questions
Score range 400–1600 1–36
Negative marking No No
Purpose of taking Admission and SAT Scholarships Admission and ACT Scholarships
Exam fees $49.50 (without essay) $64.50 (with essay) $63 (without essay) $88 (with essay)

At what age should you take the ACT?

There is no age limit to appearing for the ACT. However, any candidate below the age of 13 will not be allowed to register for the test. In that case, the student needs to contact ACT Customer Support to seek assistance to create a MyACT account and complete the registration for the test.

Do Colleges prefer the ACT or SAT?

Colleges do not create a distinction between ACT and SAT. In fact, most US universities accept both. It entirely depends on the choice of the candidates whether they will take SAT or ACT. Both the tests have equal difficulty levels.

Is the SAT or ACT Harder?

SAT and ACT have equal difficulty levels. It is important for candidates to figure out which test is best suited for them. They can decide the same by taking a diagnostic test and evaluating their performance. 

Which one to take – SAT or ACT?

Students prefer taking both the SAT and ACT as both are used for college admissions decisions and awarding merit-based SAT Scholarships.
The apt way to decide if to take the SAT or ACT is to take a full-length practice test of each type. Since the syllabus and pattern of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you manage time and what kinds of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit.

What is the Passing Score for the ACT?

The ACT has no official passing scores. But the average ACT score is a 21 on a scale of 1- 36. If you get a score of 21, then you have scored higher than 50% of test-takers. Try to score high to get admission to prestigious colleges.

ACT Exam Pattern

The ACT exam pattern has MCQs based test with a total of 215 questions. The ACT exam evaluates a candidate in five main areas: Reading, Mathematics, English, Science, and an optional Writing section. The duration of the ACT test is 2 hours 55 minutes excluding ACT Writing which is 40 minutes long. Below is a detailed description of the ACT exam syllabus that you must go through prior to your preparation:

ACT English

ACT English is the first section of the ACT syllabus with a duration of 45 minutes with 75 questions. The English section of ACT contains passages or multiple essays followed by multiple-choice questions. ACT exam questions of English cover skills like usage/mechanics, sentence construction, and rhetorical abilities. There are underlined portions that need to be corrected on one side of the page, and the other side has answer options. syllabus of English section measures the candidate’s abilities on four main skills:

  • Usage/mechanics: Commas, apostrophe, misplaced or dangling modifiers, colons, etc
  • Rhetorical skills: Transitions, clarity, precision, brevity, structure
  • Sentence Structure: Develop sentences in a grammatically correct, coherent, and stylistic manner

ACT Science Syllabus

ACT Science syllabus consists of 40 questions to be solved in 35 minutes. ACT exam pattern of science has three main passage types: Data Representation, Conflicting Viewpoints, and Research Summary which consists of topics related to Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth Sciences. There are a total of 7 passages and are usually followed by tables, charts, or graphs. ACT science tests the interpretive, analytical, problem-solving, and evaluation skills of test-takers.

ACT Reading Syllabus

ACT reading consists of 40 questions that need to be completed in 35 minutes. There are a total of four sections, three of which comprise lengthy prose, and the remaining one has two brief proses. ACT exam questions are generally similar to the first-year college syllabus. The questions of ACT reading are related to Social Studies, Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Literary Narrative or Prose Fiction. ACT reading evaluates skills based on major ideas and details, organization and development, and uniformity of knowledge and ideas.

ACT Maths Syllabus

ACT math comprises 60 questions with a duration of 60 minutes. ACT math topics cover the following given below:

  • Pre-algebra: 14
  • Elementary algebra: 10
  • Intermediate algebra: 9
  • Plane geometry: 14
  • Coordinate geometry: 9
  • Elementary trigonometry: 4

It also implicates data interpretation from tables/graphs and problem-solving. The calculator is allowed in ACT Maths but follows certain guidelines.

ACT Writing Syllabus

ACT Writing is an optional section that is mostly opted by Indian students. ACT exam pattern of writing consists of an essay prompt to be completed in 40 minutes. The essay task states three viewpoints on a debatable issue. Candidates must explain and defend their position on that issue. It is scored on a range of 1- 6 by two separate examiners. This section is scored on four categories: Ideas and reasoning skills, organization and development, language use, and structure. Scores in this section mirror the potential to produce useful thoughts and evaluate different points of view on the given issue.

ACT Registration

Students often enquire about “How to Apply for the ACT?” – ACT registration can be carried out in both online and offline processes, though the first one is more preferred. ACT registration deadlines generally fall five weeks before the test date. Below are ACT registration details of online and offline methods:

For ACT Registration Online:

  • Arrange all the important documents like academic documents, digital headshots, contact details, and more.
  • Access ACT official website from your computer/laptop. Phones and tablets are not suitable.
  • Create an account on ACT official website
  • Register by clicking on the symbol
  • Complete the profile selection by providing details like contact, and academic details
  • Select your ACT test date from ACT exam dates and the option (with or without writing)
  • Select up to 4 colleges to deliver your ACT scores
  • Select an ACT test center
  • Confirm the ACT exam fees 
  • Lastly, upload your photograph

For ACT Registration Offline:

  • Request for a mail packet at your school or from the website
  • Fill in the details like contact, academic information, and also choose ACT test center and date
  • Mail ACT registration form. The delivery will take 7 - 10 days.

ACT Test Cancellation

If there is a need to change your ACT exam schedules or cancel the exam, candidates will not receive a refund. Therefore, rescheduling is a better option than cancellation. If the cancellation is done by the official body then the update will be delivered to the candidates. For cancellation, students need to contact ACT Student Services for deciding the next slot. 

ACT Exam Fee

ACT exam fees in India are $63(INR 4,835.25) (without writing), or $88(INR 6,754) (with writing) for taking the exam with writing. ACT exam fees for late registration, test center/date change are $25(INR 1,918.75).

Here are the ACT fees details and additional information:

Fees Details Amount
Basic ACT Registration Fee without the writing test $150
ACT fees registration charge with the writing test $166.50
ACT fees for international students outside of the U.S. $51
ACT late fee if you register after the deadline but before the final late registration $35
ACT waitlist fee if you register after the late registration deadline $51
ACT reschedule fee if you make changes to the test date, centre, or type $35
ACT fees for revealing the mistakes you made in the questions and answers (optional) $20

ACT Fee Payment Method

ACT exam fees can be paid via debit or credit cards or online fund transfer. In case of late registration, candidates need to incur an additional fee of $35. 

ACT Eligibility

Candidates often wonder ‘At what age should you take the ACT ?’ Well, there is no strict ACT eligibility to be abided by candidates. Generally, candidates studying in grades 11 or 12 take the ACT exam for pursuing their undergrads. Though students of grades 6 to 9 can also take the ACT exam. ACT eligibility states that the candidate needs to be 13 years of age to take the exam. There is no upper age limit. Though candidates below 13 can also take the exam with the assistance of ACT customer support. 

ACT Photo Requirements

  • Photo of only you
  • No blurry or hazy or grainy images
  • Photo of head and shoulders, squarely facing at the camera
  • The picture should be in portrait mode and not landscape mode
  • No dark glasses
  • There should be no filter or emojis, or lenses in the picture
  • The face should be aimed at the camera
  • Only JPEG, JPG, PNG, or BMP format allowed
  • The maximum file size is 5 MB
  • The photo needs to be 640 x 480 pixels

ACT Exam Dates 2022

Here in the table below is ACT exam date details of 2022:

Test Date Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Estimated Score Release
June 10 and 11 May 13, 2022 May 27, 2022 June 21-August 5, 2022
July 16 and 17 June 17, 2022 July 01, 2022 July 26-September 9, 2022

*The test is not available in New York for the July test date.

ACT Test Centers

ACT college entrance exam test is offered at numerous places across India and multiple times. It is held in most of the cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and more. Across the world, over 2 million candidates take the exam in over 130 countries. Test-takers need to select  ACT test centers in India during the time of registration. The following are the ACT test centers in India:

Ahmedabad International School, Ahmedabad Idea Institute Of Management And Technology, Ahmedabad Merittrac Services Pvt Ltd, Delhi
Candor Intl School, Bangalore Data Scribe Consultancy Services, Bangalore Merittrac Services Pvt Ltd - Hyderabad, Hyderabad
Merittrac Services Pvt Ltd - Bangalore Chris Pareeksha, Bengaluru Orlando Academy, Indore
KIIT International School, Bhubaneswar Radha Raman Assessment, Bhubaneswar Evault Digital, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Cps Global, Talking Technology Pvt. Ltd. Chennai Merittrac Services Pvt Ltd, Chennai Neerja Modi School, Jaipur
Infinite Dimensions, Dehradun The Doon School, Dehradun Pareeksha Online Examination Centre C/o - Universal Solutions, Kolkata
Council For American Education, Merittrac Services Pvt. Ltd, Delhi Elbrus Assessment Center, Delhi City Montessori School, Lucknow
Rr Info, Mumbai Glendale Academy International, Hyderabad Smart Wonders School, Mohali
Vivekanand Education Society Inst Of Management Studies And Research, Mumbai Sreyas Institute Of Engineering And Technology, Hyderabad Biotech Exam Hub, Lucknow
G. H. Raisoni School Of Business Management, Nagpur Sage University, Indore, Indore Kalvi Public School, Sholavandan, Madurai
Ata Infotech Ventures Pvt Ltd, Salt Lake Jayshree Periwal International School, Jaipur Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai
Lakshmi Balaji Computers, Vijayawada Kodaikanal International School, Kodaikanal Singapore International School, Mumbai
Jspm's Rajarshi Shahu College Of Engineering, Pune Delhi Public School Vijayawada, Vijayawada Woodstock School, Mussoorie

ACT Score

ACT score range is calculated out of 1 to 36. The composite ACT score is the average of the four sections of the ACT syllabus. ACT score report features the scores of four sections - reading, maths, English, and science. Candidates curious about ‘what is the passing score for the ACT?’ need to know that there is nothing as such. Candidates need to achieve the ACT cutoff of the colleges they have selected. ACT score validity is 5 years. Candidates have the option of ACT score cancellation that can be done when they’re leaving ACT test centers. They need to inform the proctor about that.

What is a Good Score in the ACT?

The below table shows the performance level according to the ACT score range.

Top Scores Competitive Scores Good Scores Below Average Scores
English 29-36 24-28 20-23 19 or lower
Maths 28-36 24-27 20-23 19 or lower
Reading 30-36 25-29 21-28 20 or lower
Science 27-36 24-26 21-25 20 or lower
Composite 28-36 24-27 20-26 19

How to Send ACT Scores?

If you’re looking for “When and where are the scores of ACT reported?” then here is the answer. ACT delivers your scorecard automatically after the scores are released. But if you want to send your scores to more colleges that is possible too. The below steps need to be followed for that:

  1. You can order it online from the official account
  2. Pay through your credit card the following amount:
  • If tested before 9/1/2017: $39
  • If tested after 9/1/2017: $13

ACT Cut Off 

The below table of ACT cutoff will help candidates with ACT score requirements in Top Universities:

ACT Preparation Tips

The following are a few general ACT preparation tips:

  • Get thorough knowledge about the ACT syllabus
  • Get yourselves the two best ACT exam preparation books, and you can choose from - Official  ACT Prep Guide 2020-21, ACT Beginner’s Guide, ACT Prep Subject Guides, and more;
  • Daily practice of ACT exam sample
  • Mak use of ACT reading score calculator and calculators of other subjects to understand your performance level. Many sites are offering online score calculators. 
  • Get lessons from ACT academy providing online courses
  • ACT English tips ask candidates to first skim the whole essay
  • Understand the different types of ACT exam questions
  • There will only be one correct answer in ACT
  • Always answer easier questions first
  • Always write five full paragraphs – one introduction, three body paragraphs, and one conclusion
  • Use transition words between paragraphs
  • ACT Math tips ask candidates to carry a graphic and legal calculator for use
  • Practice from ACT preparations material online for a wide range of topics
  • Use ACT Academy for free online resource materials
  • ACT Reading tips ask candidates to first, answer the question then look for the answer choices
  • Study the most frequently tested concepts 
  • Devote the complete time for each section
  • Work out on a proper ACT exam schedules
  • Make an ACT study plan according to your convenience 
  • Understand your weakness and work hard on them
  • Focus on time management while creating your study plan, and also taking the diagnostic tests 
  • Work on the elimination method for removing wrong answers
  • ACT science tips ask candidates to go through the questions first
  • Don’t be intimidated by the Maths section problems
  • Refer your school notes as your ACT preparation material
  • A good way to prepare for the ACT is by discussing with other test-takers about their experiences. The areas they found easy, and the ones that were tough.
  • 1 week before the exam, only go through those questions that you find tough
  • On the test day, make sure that you wake up early as a late entry to the test center may not be allowed

ACT Coaching Classes

Below are a few of the best ACT coaching classes in India. These classes make use of the ACT English score calculator, and other score calculators to measure the performance level of candidates. ACT Preparation at Home can be aced with proper study materials and mock tests. The features of ACT coaching classes include personalized timings, problem-solving sessions, flexible pricing, and more. 

  • Clear Perceptions
  • Uwezo Learning Inc
  • Mohit Agarwal Classes
  • Manya
  • Jamboree
  • Allen Career
  • Prajna Prep
  • IMS Learning
  • Texas Review

ACT Test Day Instructions 

Test takers should go through test day instructions provided on the official website under the “test day tab”

  • Printed Copy of ticket
  • 1 photo Id proof (Meeting ACT guidelines)
  • Masks are mandatory following the COVID-19 protocol. Candidates not wearing a mask will not be allowed to get inside the testing area.
  • Sharpened soft lead Number 2 pencils
  • Do not bring highlighter pens, colored pens or pencils, or correction fluid/tape
  • A watch without any alarm can be brought to test center premises
  • For the mathematics test, you can bring a calculator
  • Candidates can also bring snacks to eat during break time
  • If possible leave your mobile with your parent or guardian.
  • It is advisable that candidates familiarize themselves with the route of the ACT test center. 
  • Candidates need to carefully pay attention to the proctor's instructions. 
  • The proctor itself will instruct the candidates about the starting time. 

ACT Practice Papers

You can get ACT preparation materials online, but here are some ACT practice papers to help in your ACT preparation:

ACT Math Practice Paper:

ACT English Practice Paper:

ACT Reading Practice Paper:

ACT Science Practice Paper:

So, these are all about ACT, and the candidates who want to complete their undergraduate studies from the reputed US universities must take ACT very seriously.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


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