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The ACT

The ACT is one of the leading college admission assessments in the United States of America. All universities in the United States accept both ACT and SAT for college admissions. The ACT is administered in India in the months of April, June, September, October, and December. In India, the ACT is not administered in February.

Structure of the ACT

The ACT consists of 4 timed sections: English, Math, Reading and Science. A fifth section, the Essay Section is optional.

English: The English section consists of five passages designed to test your grammatical and rhetorical skills. You have 45 minutes to answer a total of 75 multiple choice questions.
Math: The Math section consists of sixty, progressively harder questions testing your knowledge of Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. You have 60 minutes to answer 60 multiple choice questions.
Reading: The Reading section consists of four passages designed to test your reading comprehension skills. You will be given one passage each from the four areas of Prose/Fiction, Social Sciences, Humanities and Natural Sciences. You have 35 minutes to answer 40 multiple choice questions.
Science: The Science section consists of seven passages detailing scientific studies. This section is designed to test your ability to quickly gather data from tables and graphs; it is NOT primarily a test of your science knowledge. You have 35 minutes to answer a total of 40 multiple choice questions.

How is the ACT scored

Students earn 1 point for each correct answer and neither lose nor gain points for each omitted or incorrect answer.

A student’s raw score for a section is calculated by determining the number of questions answered correctly in that section. Example: If a student answered 60 questions correctly in the English section, his English raw score would be 60.

A student’s raw score for a section is converted to a scaled score, which ranges between a 1 and a 36, with 36 being the highest possible score. Students receive a scaled score for each of the four multiple-choice test sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science).

A student’s composite ACT score is the average of the student’s scaled scores for the four multiple-choice test sections. Example: If a student scored a 24 English, 28 Math, 26 Reading, and 23 Science, his composite ACT score would be (24 + 28 + 26 + 23)/4 = 25.25, which is rounded down to a 25.

Scoring for the Writing Test: Two readers read and score each student’s Writing test essay. Essays are scored holistically (i.e., based on the overall impression your essay makes). Each reader gives the essay a score ranging between a 1 and a 6, with 6 being the highest possible score. The two scores are added together to get a student’s Writing subscore, which can range between a 2 and a 12, with 12 being the highest possible score.

A student’s English score and Writing sub-score are scaled to create a student’s Combined English/Writing score. The English score accounts for 2/3 of the Combined score while the Writing score accounts for the remaining 1/3. A student’s Combined English/Writing score will range between a 1 and a 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.

Neither the Writing subscore nor the Combined English/Writing score affects a student’s composite ACT score. Instead, they serve as standalone scores that appear on a student’s score report.

An ACT score report includes scores for each of the four subject areas tested (English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science) and all associated sub-scores (which are calculated separately).

The Composite Score is the average of the four subject area test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. Fractions less than one-half are rounded down; fractions one-half or more are rounded up.

How Does the ACT differ from the SAT

The ACT has a Science section; the SAT does not. The ACT does not test vocabulary. The ACT goes into slightly more advanced math than does the SAT but the ACT math is not as tricky. The essay is optional on the ACT whereas it is mandatory in the SAT. Finally, the ACT is a shorter test but it puts more emphasis on speed.