The ACT (American College Testing) is a paper-based test for college admissions mostly in the United States and Canada.

It is a competitor to the College Board’s SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).

Almost all colleges and universities in both the above countries accept the ACT but they lay different emphasis on other factors of evaluation like class rank, GPA, and co-curricular activities etc.

However, as a choice between ACT and SAT, colleges, in general, do not indicate any preference and treat both more or less equally.

ACT assesses a high school students’ educational ability to perform college-level work in English, mathematics, reading, and science. Its optional Writing Test evaluates a student’s skill in planning and writing a short essay.

Test scores range from 1 to 36 and the English, mathematics, and reading tests also have subscores ranging from 1 to 18.

The composite score is the average of all four tests. Those who take the optional writing test receive a writing score ranging from 2 to 20.

The writing score does not affect the composite score.

The ACT now combines two scores: The ELA (English Language Acquisition) as an average of English, Reading and Writing scores and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) as an average of Maths and Science.

The questions on the ACT come with multiple choices and each correct answer is worth one raw point with no penalty for picking an incorrect answer choice.

In India, the ACT can be taken 5 times a year in the months of September, October, December, April, and June.

The Test is conducted in round 31 centers spread over 21 cities but all centers do not schedule tests on all the specified dates.


The following are ACT fee details:

ACT Registration Fee (without the Writing test) $39.50
ACT Plus Writing Fee $56.50
Late Registration Fee additional $25
Telephone Re-Registration Fee additional $15
Standby Testing Fee additional $49
Test Date Change Fee additional $23
Test Centre Test Fee additional $24
*College Report Fee additional $12


The ACT is divided into four sections –EnglishMathsReading, and Science which always come in that order only. The full test takes 3 hours and 35 minutes including the optional writing section.

During the test, there is a 10-minute break after the first two sections and a 5-minute break before the writing section.

Section No. of Questions Time
English 75 45 mts
Math 60 60 mts
Reading 40 35 mts
Science 40 35 mts
Writing (Optional) 1 essay 40 mts


Just to organize themselves better, candidates can refer to the following table to have a fair idea of how many seconds they have to spend on each question:

Section Approx Secs on Each Question
English 36 seconds
Math 1 minute
Reading 52 seconds
Science 52 seconds