ACT Key Facts

The ACT is one of two standardized achievement examinations for college admissions in the United States and is produced by ACT, Inc. It was first administered in Fall 1959 by Everett Franklin Lindquist as a competitor to the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test, now the SAT Reasoning Test. The ACT test has historically consisted of 4 tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science reasoning. In February 2005, an optional writing test was added to the ACT, mirroring changes to the SAT that took place later in March of the same year. Most four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. accept the ACT.

  • The ACT is a 3 to 3.5 hour test and can be taken at any one of many test centers in the United States and around the world 5 or 6 times a year.
  • The ACT composite score ranges from 1 to 36 and is drawn from the four mandatory sections. The optional writing section does not get factored into the composite score.
  • Unlike the SAT, there is no penalty for incorrect answers on the ACT.
  • Although the writing section is optional, some schools do require an essay score and will factor it in to the admissions decision. If you elect to take the optional writing section, then you will receive your 2-12 score and an additional combined English/Writing score scaled from 1-36.
  • The ACT can be taken as many times as a student wishes to take it.
  • If you have taken the ACT multiple times, then you can choose any or all of your scores to send to the recipients you select.
  • The national average of ACT scores is about 21 (composite) and 7.7 (writing).