About ACT - Winward Academy

ACT Prep

Length

2 hours 55 minutes (without writing)

3 hours 35 minutes (with writing)

When Offered

The ACT is offered seven times per year: February, April, June, July, September, October, and December.

Sections

The ACT exam has four sections in a set order: English, Math, Reading, and Science. There is an optional Writing section.

Cost

$50.50 (without writing)

$67.00 (with writing)

What is the ACT?

The ACT is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper exam administered by ACT, Inc seven times per year. It’s a college entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to inform admissions decisions and grant merit-based scholarships. Because your ACT score is a major factor in college admissions, it’s important to prep to achieve your best score.

Length

2 hours 55 minutes (without writing)

3 hours 35 minutes (with writing)

When Offered

The ACT is offered seven times per year: February, April, June, July, September, October, and December.

Sections

The ACT exam has four sections in a set order: English, Math, Reading, and Science. There is an optional Writing section.

Cost

$50.50 (without writing)

$67.00 (with writing)

What is the point of the ACT?

The purpose of the ACT is to measure a high school student’s college readiness and to give college admissions officers a common data point to compare applicants. Applicants submit standardized test scores (ACT or SAT) along with high school GPA, course list, extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or mentors. Overall, the higher your ACT score, the better your chances of admission and receiving financial support. Colleges use ACT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships.

When should I take the ACT?

Most high school students take the ACT, SAT, or both during the spring of the junior year or the fall of their senior year. Examine your baseline score, estimate how much studying you need to do, and plan accordingly. Not everyone’s happy with his or her score the first time around. Plan ahead so you’ll have time to retake the exam if needed. View all upcoming ACT test dates.

What is tested on the ACT?

The ACT has four sections scored on a scale of 1 to 36: English, Math, Reading, and Science. The average of those four sections is calculated as the ACT composite score. The ACT also includes an optional 40-minute Writing section that some colleges require. Check with your college counselor or college websites for more information.

How long is the ACT?

The ACT covers 215 questions in 2 hours and 55 minutes. The breakdown of the sections is as follows: English 45 minutes, Math 60 minutes, Reading 35 minutes, and Science 35 minutes. If you choose to take the optional Writing section, it is an additional 40 minutes. Note that as of September 2018, some tests will include a 20-minute experimental section, which will NOT count toward your score. It’s a way for ACT to test out questions on real users prior to integrating them onto real exams.

How is the ACT scored?

Each section of the ACT is scored from 1 to 36. Your composite ACT score is the average of those four sections. If you take the ACT with Writing, you’ll receive a separate score for Writing that does not affect your composite. There’s no penalty for wrong answers, so be sure to guess if you’re not sure or run out of time. In addition to the section scores and composite score, you will receive a STEM score, an ELA score (if you wrote the optional essay), and other scores to indicate mastery.

How do I register for the ACT?

Registration deadlines for the ACT tend to be about 5 weeks before the test date. You can get registration materials from your counselor at school, or you can register on the ACT website.

How can I prep for the ACT?

It should come as no surprise that students who are well-prepared and confident perform much better on the ACT. It’s extremely important to memorize math equations, as they’re not provided. Grammar foundations, reading comprehension skills, and expertise with interpreting figures, tables, and graphs are also beneficial. The right prep course can help you focus your energy and develop the skills you need to ace the ACT. But remember -- not all prep courses are created equal. At Winward Academy, our ACT prep solutions are tailor-made to give you as much -- or as little -- help as you need on the specific topics and concepts you're looking to master.

Should I take the ACT or SAT?

Most colleges and universities accept scores from both the ACT and SAT, and do not favor one test over the other. Due to changes made to the SAT in 2016, the two tests are now more similar in content and style. It’s easier for students to prep for both exams concurrently and earn competitive scores on both tests. Other students, however, show a strong preference for one test over the other. The best way to decide which test is better for you is to take a full-length practice test of each one and compare your scores. Pay attention to how you handle time pressure, whether you’re comfortable doing math without a calculator, and what questions you find challenging. Those factors can help you determine which test is a better fit. Try our ACT, SAT, or Both quiz to learn more about which test is better for you.