1. What is the ACT?

The ACT is a 3.5-hour long test (4 hour if taking ACT Plus Writing) used to determine admission for most colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The ACT tests four different content areas: English, Math, Reading and Science. There is also an option to take the ACT Plus Writing that includes an essay section.

  • The English portion of the ACT consists of one 45-minute section of 75 multiple-choice questions.
  • The Math portion of the ACT consists of one 60-minute section of 60 multiple-choice questions.
  • The Reading portion of the ACT consists of one 35-minute section of 40 multiple-choice questions.
  • The Science portion of the ACT consists of one 35-minute section of multiple-choice questions.
  • The Writing portion of the ACT consists of one 30-minute essay.

2. How important are my ACT scores?

The importance of the ACT varies from school to school. Some schools place tremendous emphasis on the ACT, whereas a small number of schools have, instead, become test optional. While GPA, extracurricular activities and recommendations are extremely important, the ACT is the sole opportunity for colleges to fairly compare applicants across a uniform scale.

Bottom line: An outstanding ACT score will wow any admissions committee and bolster a student’s chances for acceptance into a top tier university.

Your Sentia tutor will help you target your test-prep to meet the specific requirements and priorities of your top-choice schools.

3. What is considered a “good score” on the ACT?

For the class of 2017, average ACT scores were:

  • English: 20.3
  • Math: 20.7
  • Reading: 21.4
  • Science: 21
  • Composite: 21

While anything above these average scores may be considered “good”, top universities report significantly higher averages for enrolled students. For example, the prestigious Princeton University reports the following averages:

Princeton ACT Scores:

  • Composite: 32-35

A competitive, but non-Ivy League University, such as Boston University, reports the following averages:

Boston University ACT Scores:

  • Composite: 31-34

4. Can I take the ACT multiple times?

Yes, however the ACT is only offered seven times per year, usually in September, October, December, February, April, June and July. Most students will take the ACT for the first time during their Junior year and will achieve their highest score on the October administration during their Senior year.

Keep in mind that schools have different policies when it comes to considering scores from multiple ACT administrations. Whereas some schools will consider only your highest composite score, others will consider your highest section scores across multiple administrations.

5. How is the ACT scored?

The English, Math, Reading and Science sections are scored out of 36 points and then averaged together for a possible composite score of 36 points. Before arriving at a final score, one must calculate a raw score:

  • Maximum raw score for English: 75
  • Maximum raw score for Math: 60
  • Maximum raw score for Reading: 40
  • Maximum raw score for Science: 40

Your score begins at zero and you receive one point for every question you answer correctly. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so it is always to your best advantage to guess. Raw scores are then converted using a unique curve to a scaled score between 1 and 36.

If you take the ACT Plus Writing, the essay score will not be factored into the English score, rather it will be a stand-alone score called ‘English/Writing.’ Essays are scored from 1 -6 by two graders. The two grades are added to receive a total essay score between 2 – 12.

6. Can I cancel my ACT scores?

Yes, but you must do so by Thursday at 12pm CST after your test date. You can do so by contacting ACT in writing to request a cancelation form. Once you submit the form, all scores from the test date will be deleted.

7. What types of questions are on the ZCT?

The ACT tests English, Reading, Math and Science skills.

On the English section, students will encounter questions on:

  • Punctuation
  • Grammar and Usage
  • Sentence Structure
  • Strategy
  • Organization
  • Style

On the Math section, students will encounter questions on:

  • Pre-Algebra
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Plane Geometry
  • Trigonometry

On the Reading section, students will be asked to read four passages and:

  • Determine main ideas
  • Locate and interpret significant details
  • Understand sequence of events
  • Make comparisons
  • Comprehend cause-effect relationships
  • Determine the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases and statements
  • Draw generalizations
  • Analyze the author’s or narrator’s voice and method.

8. How do I register for the GRE?

To register online, visit

9. What fees are associated with the GRE?

It costs $46.00 to the take the ACT (No Writing) and $62.50 to take the ACT Plus Writing. There is an additional charge of $29.50 late registration.