What is the ACT®?
Learn more about the standardized test for US College Admissions.
- About the ACT
- Test Dates
- SAT vs ACT
- UK Testing Centres
About the ACT
What is the ACT?
First introduced in 1959, the ACT is now as widely accepted by U.S. Universities as the more well-known SAT. With SAT tests in the UK being booked up months in advance and with the new 2016 SAT changes, an increasing number of students applying to U.S. Universities are opting for the ACT rather than the SAT.
What the ACT measures
The ACT college readiness assessment is a curriculum and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students' academic readiness for college. The test uses the same score scale as ACT Explore and ACT Plan, making the system an effective tool to monitor academic progress and student growth.
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|English||75 Questions||45 Minutes||Measures standard written English and rhetorical skills.|
|Mathematics*||60 Questions||60 minutes||Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired through their secondary and sixth form years.|
|Reading||40 Questions||35 minutes||Measures reading comprehension.|
|Science||40 Questions||35 minutes||Measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem-solving skills required in natural sciences.|
|Optional Writing Test||1 Prompt||35 Minutes||Measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses.|
Who should take the ACT
Most American high school students take the ACT for the first time in the spring of the year before they graduate from high school. This corresponds to spring of the AS-level year in the UK system. In fact, students educated in the UK system might consider taking the ACT after finishing their GCSEs, as the math and science content are similar to that covered at GCSE-level. This autumn or winter of the lower sixth year might be an ideal time to prepare for and take the ACT.
How can I register for the ACT?
To take the ACT outside the U.S. or Canada, you must register online through www.actstudent.org
What about re-takes?
You can re-sit the ACT as often as you like. Most students take it 2 or 3 times and most colleges take your highest score on each section. If you do decide to re-take the exam, make sure you do something differently to help increase your score.
Starting September 2020, students who want to improve their scores will be able to retake single sections of the ACT, instead of sitting for all of them again.
International Test Dates and Registration Deadlines:
|Test Date||Registration Deadline||Late Fee Required|
|December 13-14, 2019||November 22, 2019||December 6, 2019|
|February 7-8, 2020||January 17, 2020||January 31, 2020|
|April 3-4, 2020||March 13, 2020||March 27, 2020|
|June 12-13, 2020||May 22, 2020||June 5, 2020|
|July 17-18, 2020||June 26, 2020||July 10, 2020|
Please visit www.act.org for the most up to date information.
SAT vs ACT
Should I take the SAT or ACT?
Most U.S. Universities do not have a preference for which exam you take - however you should check with the school itself for clarity. Below is a comparison of both the tests:
|Test Length||3 hours, 25 minutes||3 hours, 50 minutes (including optional 50-minute essay)|
|Test Sections||5 sections||3 sections|
|Science Content||Tests science reasoning (analysis, interpretation, problem solving)||Science not included|
|Math Content||25% of the overall score; entirely multiple choice||33% of overall score; trigonometry and fill-in questions|
|Essay||Last section - optional||Last section - optional|
|Scoring||3 scores of 1-36 per subject area
Writing score: 2-12
|2 scores of 200-800 per section
|Guessing||No penalty for wrong answers||No penalty for wrong answers|
|Score History||Students decide which score is sent||A student's entire score history is sent (depending on university requirements).|
|Test Fee||$46.00 (No Writing) + $47.50 Non-U.S. Regional Fee
$62.50 (Plus Writing) + $47.50 Non-U.S. Regional Fee
|$43.00 + $40.00 Non-U.S. Regional Fee
$60.00 (With Essay) + $40.00 Non-U.S. Regional Fee
|Register for the test (Please note students must register themselves for the test)||www.actstudent.org||www.collegeboard.com|
UK Testing Centres
Testing Centres in the UK:
Please note: not all centers are available on every testing date and have limited seating, so be sure to research and book well in advance!
- Wellington College (Berkshire)
- Brentwood School (Brentwood, Essex)
- Bromsgrove School (Bromsgrove)
- Immanuel College (Bushey, Hertfordshire)
- The Kings School, Canterbury (Canterbury, Kent)
- ACS Cobham International School (Cobham, Surrey)
- ACS Hillingdon International School (Hillingdon, Middlesex)
- International School of Aberdeen (Cults, Aberdeen)
- Fettes College (Edinburgh, Scotland)
- Kingsdale School (London)
- Southbank International School (London)
- University College School (London)
- Marlborough College (Marlborough, Wiltshire)
- Ef International Academy (Oxford)
- Concord College (Shrewsbury, England)
- TASIS The American School (Thorpe, Surrey)