The ACT is a national college admission and placement examination. It is recommended that students take the ACT test during the Spring Semester of their junior year in high school. Most colleges accept this test in lieu of the SAT I. Many students take both SAT I and ACT in order to increase their chances of getting a good score. The ACT measures your skills and knowledge in English, Math, Science and Reading and examinations last up to three hours.

Students that plan to take the ACT should prepare by also taking The PreACT® Test, practice test to the ACT. PreACT is the second part of a testing system that starts with EXPLORE®, which is usually taken in the 8th or 9th grade, and ends with the ACT, usually taken in the junior or senior year of high school.

More information about PreACT | More information about EXPLORE

ACT Structure

Section Time Number of Questions Scoring
45 min.
60 min.
35 min.
35 min.
Optional Writing Test
40 min.
1 prompt
(Writing Subscore)
*You'll receive a Writing Test subscore and a Combined English/Writing score. The Combined English/Writing score is created by using a formula that weights the English Test score two-thirds and the Writing Test score one-third to form a combined score. This combined score is then reported on a 1-36 scale.

Please note that some colleges will require the Writing Test. You should decide whether or not to take the Writing Test based on the requirements of the colleges you are applying to or considering. Visit The ACT Plus Writing to know more.

ACT Test Dates

Test Date Regular Registration Deadline
2015-2016 School Year
September 10, 2016
August 7, 2016
October 22, 2016
September 16, 2016
December 10, 2016
November 4, 2016
February 11, 2017*
January 13, 2017
April 8, 2017
March 3, 2017
June 10, 2017
May 5, 2017
2016-2017 School Year
September 9, 2017
October 28, 2017
December 9, 2017
February 10, 2018*
April 14, 2018
June 9, 2018
July 14, 2018*
*No test centers are scheduled in New York for the February and July test date

Please visit the ACT website for more information about test dates, registration and fees.

ACT Preparation

Be sure to practice with the ACT Prep Test available on the ACT website ( and review the sample questions to help familiarize yourself with the ACT test. For each question, click on your choice of lettered answers to see if you are correct. Explanations of both correct and incorrect answers are given with the correct choices. Five sets of questions are available for English and Mathematics; four sets are available for Reading; and seven are available for Science. Together, these 21 sets make up one complete ACT Assessment Test.

Stay informed with the ACT's monthly newsletter, News You Can Use

ACT Fee Waiver form

Students can receive ACT test fee waivers for the basic test fee for two test dates. Fee waivers are available for students:

  • who are in foster homes or are a ward of the state
  • whose family receives public assistance
  • who participate in a federally funded TRIO program such as Upward Bound
  • whose total family income is at or below the Low Standard Budget for 2008 as established by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
If you think you qualify, check with your counselor early as funds are limited each year and won't be available once depleted. Visiting with your counselor is the only way to obtain a fee waiver.


The PreACT® Test

The PreACT includes four multiple-choice tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science and examinations lasts up to 2 hours. The PreACT is a great tool for students to evaluate their strong and weak points before taking the ACT. It covers the same subjects and gives an estimated ACT score.

Visit ACT's website for The PreACT® Test to get test tips, free copy of practice test, and college planning advice.

Students that have taken the PreACT can apply or be nominated for the Ventures Scholars Program.



Taking EXPLORE® in 8th or 9th grade tells you things you need to know—to plan your high school courses, prepare for the ACT, or choose a career direction.

Go to Visit ACT's website for EXPLORE® to get test tips, and college planning advice.


© 2010 Ventures In Education, Inc.