FAQs on ACT Every Test Taker Must Know

Meta: Looking to do well on the ACT? Heed our tips so that you won’t be blindsided by any aspect of the ACT that comes up.

If you’re in high school, you probably at least know that the ACT is an exam you need to do well in, if you’re trying to get into the college or university you want. But if the extent of your knowledge of the ACT is that it’s a multiple-choice test, then you certainly don’t know enough about the exam.

Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes, and knowledge is half the battle. We have some facts for you that should give you the information you need so that you’re not blindsided by disaster simply because you didn’t know a crucial fact.

What’s Covered by the ACT?

The ACT covers 4 main subject areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. To finish this test (or at least this version of the test), you have a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Now there’s also a version called the ACT Writing Plus exam, which includes the optional Writing section. You may opt to forego this version if the colleges or universities you’re applying for don’t require it. But some universities do require the Writing section, so you should do your research and find out if the universities you want to get into requiring this.

If the Writing section is part of your exam, you have 4 hours to complete the test.

When Can You Take the ACT?

For the whole US, the ACT is given out during February, April, June, October, and December. These are the same months for the ACT every year.

Just keep in mind, though, that in some states, there’s also an ACT exam scheduled for September. Check if you live in one of these states.

When Should You Register for the ACT?

That’s really up to you. However, most students take the ACT during the spring semester of their 11th grade. You don’t have to wait to get to your 12th grade, because the ACT subject coverage only covers the lessons covered until the 11th grade spring semester anyway.

By taking the test this early, you get your ACT scores early enough so you can get a move on in your college applications. Also, taking the test at this time gives you enough time to retake the ACT if you’re not satisfied with your scores.

How Do You Register for the ACT?

The easiest way is to just do it online. This is the most common way to register these days.

But if you’ve already registered previously for the ACT over the last 2 years, you may have to register through the phone. You can call 319.337.1270.

You can also consult with your high school counselor’s office for help with the registration. If, for some strange reason, you don’t have any Internet access, the counselor’s office can provide you with old-fashioned paper registration packets.

How Much Will It Cost to Take the ACT?

Here’s the ACT section on the fees associated with the test.

  • ACT (without writing section). $55. The fee covers the score reports sent to you, your high school, and up to 4 colleges you pick.
  • ACT (with writing section). $70.
  • Late registration. $35.
  • Change fee. $35. This covers the cost of either changing your test date or your testing location.
  • Additional score reports. $13. You have to request this online before the test date.
  • Test information release. $22. This gives you a copy of your test questions and answers.

When Do You See Your ACT Scores?

Your scores will appear online in about 2 weeks or so after taking the ACT. Just log on to your ACT account and you’ll find your scores at about this time.

After about 4 to 7 weeks, your paper score reports will arrive at your high school counselor’s office. If you took the ACT with the Writing section, you’ll be mailed your scores once your Writing score has been recorded.

What Happens If You Think Your ACT Scores Aren’t High Enough?

If your score isn’t high enough to get into the college you prefer, you can choose to have your ACT scores deleted from your official record. You just have to send in a request letter (with your name and home address) to have your ACT scores removed.

You will then get the ACT score deletion form, and you can send this form back to:

ACT Records

P.O. Box 451

Iowa City, IA, 52243-0451

Once your scores have been deleted, you’re free to retake the test and try to get higher scores.

How Many Times Should You Take the ACT?

Technically speaking, you can take the ACT as often as you want. But most educational experts contend that it’s best to take the ACT no more than 3 times.

The pertinent ACT group records your ACT scores each time you take the test. You have the option of sending the scores from particular test date to the colleges you want to get into.

When is the Best Time to Prepare for the ACT?

It’s best if you reserve as much time as possible for your ACT preparation because the ACT is that important. Try to begin your review the summer before your 11th grade, as you won’t have as many distractions to deal with.

What’s the Scope of the ACT Math Coverage?

You’ll get 60 questions on the math portion of the ACT, and they’ll cover the following areas:

  1. Pre-algebra
  2. Elementary algebra
  3. Intermediate algebra
  4. Coordinate geometry
  5. Plane geometry
  6. Trigonometry

Can an Educational Consultant Help?

That depends on the services they offer, the associated costs, and what kind of student you are. It also depends if you can get the same kind of services from your high school counselor’s office. Some private schools have counselors who have undergone special training and workshops, and you may get their assistance for free.

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