The ACT – Part 2

6 January 8:36 pm
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Yesterday, we covered how long the ACT has been around, who accepts this college entrance exam, and general information on what the test covers. Today, I would like to get into a few more specifics that tend to be the most frequently asked questions about the ACTs.

For the 2009-2010 testing season, the basic registration fee for the ACT is $32. This includes sending score reports to up to four college choices. If you wish to include the optional writing section, the price increases to $47. This is still a great value.

The test takes a little over four hours for the basic version (without the writing). This includes any administration instructions that need to be given and built in breaks. The actual test takes 2 hours and 55 minutes, but it is broken down into sections as follows:

English: 45 minutes
Math: 60 minutes
Reading: 35 minutes
Science: 35 minutes

If you add on the writing test, it adds an additional 30 minutes to the testing time.

Unlike the SAT, the ACT is administered on six national test dates. The first three are in September, October and December. The second three are in February, April and June. A student may take the ACT only once per national test date but no more than a total of twelve times. Many students take it in their junior year and again in their senior year.

So, the question becomes “what are the benefits of taking the ACT”? There are actually many.

The ACT is accepted universally for college admission. The test itself is curriculum-based. It is not an IQ test or an aptitude test. The questions asked on the ACT are related to things that are typical of high school course materials. So, basically it is covering items that the high school student would have already learned.

In addition, the ACT provides test takers with an interest inventory that helps provides valuable information for career and educational planning. It also includes a student profile section that contains a comprehensive profile of the student’s high school work and their future plans.

The ACT is owned by a private, not-for-profit organization that is committed to providing services at the lowest possible price; therefore it is a good value. It is also inexpensive enough to be taken more than once if you and your teen so chooses.

So, which college entrance exam will you choose? Please let us know on our discussion forums at

Written by: Susan Harris News Editor

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