About ACT: Are Your ACT Scores Good Enough?

About ACT: Are Your ACT Scores Good Enough?

What is ACT?

American College Testing widely known as ACT- is used as a benchmark of eligibility for admission of students, by majority of colleges and universities is called ACT. The thought process behind designing such an entrance exam was to have and use a common parameter to assess all the applicants. Weight age given to ACT exam tends to vary on school to school basis. In a recent update it is been declared that Authorities are all set to conduct the ACT test digitally/online by the year 2015; which makes it more interesting and easily accessible.

Parallel to ACT; enlisted parameters carry their own importance:
  • High school GPA
  • Academic transcripts
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Personal Interview
  • Written essay for entrance

How to apply for ACT?

Commencement of ACT is usually in February, April, June, September, October and December; the months which are scheduled for the ACT to be offered nationally every academic year. Admission office of the school you intend to join is the best option to seek advice and guidance about the ACT exam.

Eligibility Criteria for ACT:
  • Frequency: 6 times/year
  • Duration: 3 hours, 3½ hours including essay
  • Sections: Reading, Writing, English, math, science
  • Cost: $34 - $49.50 – Tend to vary at times
  • Maximum Score: 36
  • Average Scores: score21

Why is ACT test important?

One of the prominent reasons to agree to the importance is that the test scores are accepted to all the 4-year colleges and universities across United States.

Enlisted are some of the facts, to portray the importance of ACT test more significantly;
  • What you learn is what you write - multiple-choice tests
    Learning of high school syllabus of English, Science, Math, Reading and writing are the subjects to be co related to the test papers in the ACT and hence it varies a lot from any IQ or aptitude test. Students who are regular and hardworking at school are more prepared for this test as compared to others.
  • Systematic approach towards preparation of an ACT
    Parents’ encouraging their kids to take up not so easy courses in the high school has been the smartest way to prepare for the ACT. However in this E-learning age various online test preparation options such as testing tips for each subject, free student booklets, preparing for the ACT, sample essay writing and free online practice tests are widely used.
  • Future planning
    The most important part is the user friendly concept of ACT website. It helps you out with a unique Interest Questionnaire followed by a student profile section. Applicants are supposed to populate fields, including your interest, courses and educational preferences. Basis the details provided in this segment you are providing ample information to the colleges, about the curriculum you attended in high school and the career choices you are looking for.
  • Increased profile visibility
    Your visibility to colleges and scholarship agencies increases on the basis of the details you provided as mentioned in the above point. This works to be an additional benefit to be prepared for the real world post your high school.
  • Your knowhow your scores
    This entrance test is liberal enough to assess the applicant basis the correct answers – no negative marking.
  • Your choice of scores to colleges
    Applicants are allowed to select at the most 4 colleges; to which ACT will share your scores. It happens to be a part of the basic cost for your test option. For those who are appearing for ACT more than once are supposed to choose the dates of results on which the ACT score charts would be shared to colleges. ACT ensures to share scores of the test date the applicant decides.
  • Voluntary Writing Test
    Writing skills prove to be really useful in academic and work life. ACT is flexible enough to allow students to choose ACT assessment plus writing test; if they want to go for the writing test or not as it involves extra time and money. Rules and beliefs for schools and universities may vary on types of measures for the test.

Major components of ACT test

Students when think about ACT test; we would say it has four segments namely English, Science, Math and Reading. The fifth aspect of a 30 minute written test is optional. ACT Test Sections and Information is enlisted below for your benefit. A few schools might look out for written test scores and hence it may be advisable to go for it.
English 75 multiple–choice questions
45 minutes
Tests grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and rhetorical skills
Math 60 multiple–choice questions
60 minutes
Algebra I and II, geometry, and some trigonometry
Reading 40 multiple–choice questions
35 minutes
Four passages (prose fiction, social studies, humanities, and natural sciences) with 10 questions per passage
Science 40 multiple–choice questions
35 minutes
Questions on science-based passages presented with graphs, charts, tables and research summaries
Writing Writing test is optional*
1 essay
30 minutest

When should I take the ACT?

Students are becoming proactive and smarter day by day. They opt to take up the test traditionally in the spring of their previous year end. This leaves them with a chance of repeat test and SAT, if required at the fall of the senior year.

How do I register?

  • Registration Deadline: 5 weeks prior to the ACT test date.
    2013 ACT Test Dates (United States, US Territories, and Canada):
    • June 8, 2013
    • September 21, 2013
    • October 26, 2013
    • December 14, 2013
    • February 8, 2014*
    • April 12, 2014
    • June 14, 2014

  • Touch Points: school's guidance counselor
  • Helpline: ACT, Inc. at 319–337–1270 – they will send registration packet
  • Online Registration

Difference – ACT Vs SAT

It’s a dilemma for the students to decide on to which exam to take as the colleges may acknowledge either the ACT or SAT.
Numbers count…there are instances where applicants end up doing well in SAT whereas few more score significantly on ACT.
1 ACT comprises of 4 components: SAT comprises of 3 main  components:
English Critical Reading
Math Math
Reading Writing
Science Above topics gets divided in 10 sub sets
Writing test - OPTIONAL NA
2 Questions are very straight forward and easy to understand at the first go. One may need to spend time figuring out what you're being asked before you can start solving the problem
3 It has a science section No science section in the test paper
4 Individuals good at words would love ACT Individuals who are not that good at words would love SAT
5 Emphasis on vocabulary is less as compared to the objective and output of questions SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary.
6 Minute details such as amoebas or chemical reactions are not required Individuals who are true science-phobes,  SAT may be the best option
7 ACT tests more advanced math concepts including arithmetic, algebra I and II,geometry and trigonometry; still proves ot be easy for a lot of students Questions are designed in a manner to confuse the students and test their preparedness to assess complicated questions
8 The 30-minute ACT writing test is optional The 25-minute SAT essay is required 
9 Written test scores are not included in the composite scores SAT does factor in your writing scores
10 Composite scores are of importance Scores in each section of SAT is important to authorities

What is the Best Score?

On receiving the ACT scores people think twice before opening the envelop whether should they open it or should go ahead to register themselves for the next available retest.

Average ACT Scores

In this last lap as well; individuals get confused. With the scores they got will they get admission in the school they selected? What could be the top college ACT scores? What is required in terms of ACT scores for admission to top colleges? Are they in the range and meeting the college acceptance scores?

The short and crisp answer to the query is “Higher…the better”

It is all purely based on the criteria set by the college you would have selected. Above the average scores in ACT may be a 23 or 1800 in SAT for a specific college/university whereas the other one would consider it to be below average. Hence with higher scores one has better and more options in terms of selecting the colleges or universities.

National average for SAT is 1500 and 20-21 for ACT. Individuals close to these numbers may likely get picked up at a significant number of colleges and universities, however; they might be dropped by more choosy schools. Individuals securing their scores above average better their chances to get selected at choosy schools.

Converting ACT scores to SAT scores

Now that we have covered all the aspects; we will now see how and what worth ACT composite score stands against SAT CR+M+W scores…or look for results on converting ACT scores to SAT scores

The table below would be of great help for all those who are looking for score of SAT that might be equivalent to ACT composite score. Sincere effort are been made to provide precise details available from a concordance table.
ACT Composite Score Estimated
(Score Range)
ACT Composite Score
36 2390 2380 - 2400 36
35 2330 2290 - 2370 35
34 2250 2220 - 2280 34
33 2180 2140 - 2210 33
32 2120 2080 - 2130 32
31 2060 2020 - 2070 31
30 2000 1980 - 2010 30
29 1940 1920 - 1970 29
28 1880 1860 - 1910 28
27 1820 1800 - 1850 27
26 1770 1740 - 1790 26
25 1710 1680 - 1730 25
24 1650 1620 - 1670 24
23 1590 1560 - 1610 23
22 1530 1510 - 1550 22
21 1470 1450 - 1500 21
20 1410 1390 - 1440 20
19 1350 1330 - 1380 19
18 1290 1270 - 1320 18
17 1230 1210 - 1260 17
16 1170 1140 - 1200 16
15 1100 1060 - 1130 15
14 1020 990 - 1050 14
13 950 910 - 980 13
12 870 820 - 900 12
11 780 750 - 810 11