ACT: The Main Questions

The phrase “ACT” is much less known than the phrase “SAT”. The ACT is a standardized test that students take to receive a score and send along with their college applications. The phrase “ACT” is an acronym for “American College Testing”. The test serves as a knowledge test to help determine a student’s college readiness. Performing well on this exam can result in qualifying for more scholarships and having more options when choosing a college.


Because the exams have several differences, some students perform better on one than the other. It is up to the student to decide whether the SAT or ACT, will result in a higher score to send to colleges. Most colleges do require that students take one of these exams and report the score in their application.

Because the ACT provides a score between 0-36 and the SAT provides a score between 0-1600, it is often difficult for students to compare their scores to decide which one is better. Here is a table released by ACT and College Board that may help:

For more differences between the SAT and ACT, visit this post by Prep Scholar.

What’s On The Test?


75 Questions & 45 Minutes

This section tests students’ grammar skills through multiple choice questions.


40 Questions & 35 Minutes

This section tests student’s reading comprehension through multiple choice questions on several passages. Passages can cover any genre or subject.


60 Questions & 60 Minutes

This section tests students’ mathematical skills on topics typically covered in high school courses, such as geometry, through multiple choice questions. Students may use an approved calculator throughout the entire math section.


40 Questions & 35 Minutes

This section tests student’s interpretation of data and reasoning through multiple choice questions on science topics, typically covered in high school courses.


40 Minutes & 1 Question

This optional section tests students’ composition skills through an essay prompt.

*Don’t worry! There are breaks throughout the test!

How Do I Register?

First, create an account through the official ACT website. Once an account has been created, search for a “Register for the ACT: U.S” button to begin registration.

When Should I Take The ACT?

It is advised to have completed Algebra 2 in high school before taking either the SAT or ACT, in order to be prepared for the mathematics section. Students usually begin taking the ACT in their third or junior year of high school, but it is always encouraged to start as early as possible.

 Do I Have To Pay To Take The ACT? How Much Does It Cost?

The ACT exam costs about $52 without a writing section and $68 with the writing section. This price can change with a late registration, change of test date, etc.

Students may qualify for a fee waiver, which would allow a student to take the ACT for free, if they meet one or more of the following requirements.

What Are The Benefits Of An ACT Fee Waiver?

  • Registration and late registration fees for two ACT exams
  • One score report to the student’s high school and six reports to colleges of their choice, at the time of registration
  • Up to 20 official score reports to colleges of the student’s choice
  • Access to the test prep resource ACT Rapid Review
  • Access to the test prep resource ACT Online Prep

How Do I Get An ACT Fee Waiver?

Visit your high school counselor for a fee waiver form.

For further details on the process of attaining a fee waiver and using it, please visit the the ACT Fee Waiver Procedures.

How Do I Prepare For The ACT Exam?

*The ACT exam can be taken unlimitedly. Remember that colleges always choose the highest score a student acquired and some colleges even combine the highest scores from each section during different test dates to combine and create a student’s “super score”.

We wish you Good Luck!

Follow us on instagram! @schoolbellblog

Read our Latest Posts!

*The School Bell Blog is not associated with programs mentioned. This blog serves as a resource of information that may or may not apply to the readers and it is up to each individual reader to verify the information on their own. For verification on what opportunities are available to you and for formal help, please see your school counselors. The School Bell Blog encourages everyone to do their own research before taking the information stated here as fact. Thank you.

Please email me with any questions or requests for posts:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s