Last Updated: February 09, 2021

ACT FAQ

The ACT test is written by high school students who wish to attend college/ university as a competitive exam. This exam lets students with average GPAs balance out their applications and thus procure admission to a college of their choice. The exam also lets colleges access the skill sets of a student by looking at the score range thereby getting a better idea of what the student is capable of rather than relying on a GPA that could have been affected over the years through various reasons. Considering the magnitude of the exam it is natural to have a lot of questions about the same. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions along with their answers here to make it easier for you to navigate.

What are the methods in which I can register for ACT?

ACT has its own official online registration portal which is the most preferred method. But registration can also be done by standard mail.

How long does the online registration take?

ACT estimates that the registration process might take around 30 minutes in all if you have all the documents in hand.

What should I have to register online?

You should have a headshot photo, high school code, high school course information, and a credit card for online payment.

What is the eligibility criteria for ACT?

There is no eligibility criteria for ACT.

When can I apply for ACT?

ACT is usually taken by students in their junior year or senior year. It is preferred that students take the exam in the junior year since then they have ample opportunities of retaking the test if they want to improve their grades.

How many ACT exams are conducted in a year?

The ACT exam is conducted 7 times nationally in the months of September, October, December, February, April, June, and July.

What is the ACT score range?

The highest mark that can be obtained in the ACT is 36 and the lowest is 1.

Does ACT have negative marking?

No, ACT does not have negative marking.

What is an average ACT score?

An average ACT score would be around 21 out of 36. This is subject to variation from year to year.

What is the duration of the ACT exam?

The ACT exam is conducted in 2 hours and 55 minutes. An additional 40 minutes are given for those who are taking the optional Writing Test.

When can I get the ACT scores?

You will be able to view your composite score between the second and third weeks after the test. Writing test scores will take an additional two weeks after which you will receive your official score report.

When will colleges receive my score report?

Colleges will receive your report around the same time as your writing test scores will be released. This can take around four to ten weeks after the test.

Is the ACT exam in paper-format?

Unlike SAT, ACT is conducted completely online. It is a computer-based test.

What is the fee for ACT?

ACT exam fee is just $55 without the optional Writing test and $70 with the Writing test included.

Since when can I take the ACT exam?

ACT exam can be taken by anyone above 13 years of age. Students from 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade levels are permitted to take the test though they should preferably take the PreACT at the time.

How many questions will be asked in the ACT exam?

The ACT exam consists of 215 questions spread over four sections in the paper. These questions are mostly in the multiple-choice format, but it also contains grid-in questions in the Mathematics section.

Can I cancel my ACT score? Will my fee be refunded?

The ACT exam scores can be canceled with immediate effect if you tell the proctor to void your score. This ensures that the test will not even be graded.
No, the fee will not be refunded. Since the exam has already been held not grading it because you choose to nullify the grades will NOT warrant a refund.

Does canceling my scores remove my bad test score from my record?

No. In order to remove your test score from ACT records, you are supposed to submit a written request. This is not valid if you have taken the test through state testing or district testing.

How many times can I retake the ACT exam?

ACT can be attempted a maximum of 12 times. It is advisable to retake the ACT 2 or 3 times to improve your scores. Retesting does not make you lose a lot of time considering how the exam is conducted 7 times a year.

What is standby testing in the ACT?

Standby testing is a chance for students to attempt the ACT exam if they missed the late deadline to register either for a test date or for a change in the exam center. It does NOT confirm a seat for the test. Candidates can be admitted for the test only when there is a seat vacant after the confirmed seats have been filled.

What is Section Retesting?

Students are allowed to retake individual test sections/ subjects to improve their overall score instead of retaking the entire test. The retest will be offered mostly on National ACT test dates given that they have already taken a full ACT test and that they have a valid composite score.

Can the ACT test be given be re-evaluation?

Yes, students can request a re-evaluation of the ACT test. They should do this within 12 months of the test date. The application for the same must be sent through standard mail with an additional fee. The results are updated within 3 to 5 weeks after the request has been received.

Are calculators allowed for ACT?

Yes, you may bring calculators and use them during the Mathematics section of the exam.

What kind of calculators are allowed for Act?

Examinees can use graphing calculators, scientific calculators, and any four-function calculator. Any calculator with a built-in or downloaded computer algebra system functionality is prohibited. This includes brands like Casio, Hewlett-Packard, and Texas Instruments.

Terms to know in ACT

Raw Score-Raw score is the total number of questions you have answered correctly within each section.

Scaled ScoreThe raw scores are converted into scaled scores for each section. This is done to maintain the consistency of scores between test dates depending upon the difficulty level of the question paper.

Composite Score-This is the average of the four area scores. It is rounded up to the nearest integer and will be within a scale of 36.

Superscoring-ACT creates a composite score from the four best grades in your different test attempts. They also keep one other composite score of your choice that reflects your best skills.


ACT Resources


Online ACT Practice Tests



Average SAT score for Top Schools