We have all heard of the SATs, especially since the major overall a few years ago. A lesser known college admission and placement exam is the ACT. Yet it is growing in popularity with both the colleges and with college bound students. So, how about some facts about the ACT?

The ACT has been around since the fall of 1959. It has been administered in all 50 states since 1960 (only a year after appearing on the scene). A more startling statistic is that in 27 states, more than 50 percent of high school graduates take the ACT. That is impressive when you think that many individuals have never heard of this exam. Even, students that have disabilities and those outside of the 50 United States can take the ACT.

Even more staggering is the fact that more four-year colleges REQUIRE the ACT as their entrance exam compared to any other test. In those four-year colleges that do not require it, the ACT is the PREFERRED exam. All the Ivy League schools accept ACT scores for admission purposes.

The scoring is very different than the SATs as the top score you can achieve is 36. Yes, that is a 36. When parents and/or students do not realize this, they can often panic if they get back a score of 20. So, you may want to let your student know that the average score for the nation in 2009 was 21.1 and that average is based upon more than 1.4 million students taking the exam in 2009.

English, math, reading, and science are all covered on the ACT. There is an optional writing component if you wish to have your child take that. There are 75 questions asked in the English section, 60 questions asked in the math section, 40 questions asked in the reading section, and 40 questions asked in the science section. That brings the grand total of questions asked to 215.

Tomorrow I will go over some of the frequently asked questions about the ACT, so please come back for part 2.

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Written by: Susan Harris News Editor

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