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College Preparedness: ACT Testing

This is to help high school students and their families know what to expect in the college transition process.

ACT Helpful Links

ACT Resources


*Many colleges require completion of either the ACT or SAT or both exams before admitting students. Check the comparison table to see the difference between these two exams and decide which one is right for you

Three Things You Should Know about ACT

Three Important Things to Know About the ACT Test

  • It's OKAY to take the ACT test more than once
    • You are likely to improve every time you take the ACT test 
    • If you are not satisfied with your first score, take a second test
    • Remember, many colleges allow you to choose which score to be sent as part of the application
  • No answer should be left blank 
    • One of the key differences between ACT and SAT is that there is no penalty for incorrect answers on ACT 
    • Make sure you pick an answer even if you are running out of time
  • Know what your college's average scores are
    • Having a higher score than your college's average score will give you a better chance of getting scholarship or aid

What to Expect on Test Day

What to Expect on Test Day

  • Doors open at 7:45 am and close at 8:00 am
  • Testing starts between 8:30 to 9:00 am
  • There is one 5-minute break during the test (or two if you are taking the writing section) during which you can eat, drink or go to the restroom
  • You must follow the rules for cell phones and electronics, or your scores may be canceled
  • For more detailed information, check it out on ACT official site

Terms to Know

Terms to Know

  • ACT (American College Testing) test is one of the basic standardized college exams which include English, Mathematics, Reading, Science and an optional Writing test
    • Not all colleges or universities require students to take the ACT test to be admitted
    • Most colleges or universities often recommend or require students to submit ACT scores with the Writing test
  • Fee waiver is a reduced cost for college admission tests and some even will pay for the entire cost, which allows low -income students to test for free 
    • Check with your high school counselor or your community center to see if you qualify for the fee waiver
    • You can also check if you are eligible through the requirements listed on the ACT Frequently Asked Questions page under "Special Circumstances"