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2019-11-07 00:12:20

TOP-5 tips how to pass American College Testing (ACT) for international students

TOP-5 tips how to pass American College Testing (ACT) for international students

American College Testing is a standardized test whose results are required for admission to most colleges and universities in the United States . ACT is conducted in the United States and in the official test centers of the world, evaluates the academic readiness for college of local / foreign students.

The ACT test determines readiness in 5 blocks: English , mathematics, reading, science, writing (optional) + assesses the knowledge and skills acquired by applicants at school. This distinguishes ACT from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), a student-centric test.

Who is ACT intended for?

Private universities and public universities in the United States have strict academic requirements for local and foreign applicants, but they all include the results of standard tests to assess the knowledge and abilities of future students.USA colleges and universities offering four-year undergraduate programs accept ACT and SAT: some are one of them, others are both, so check your list of requirements carefully when choosing a university. Today, ACT remains the most sought after admissions committee of US universities.

  • Who is eligible to take the ACT exam, dates

The exam is taken by high school students: more often it is chosen by students who are preparing to pass the final exams after completing secondary education, who want to apply for undergraduate programs in the United States. Students can take the test before the actual admission season: points remain valid for 5 years after the date of the test.

  • Varieties of American College Testing

There are two types of testing: traditional ACT without a written part and ACT Plus Writing with an additional written test. When applying, applicants check whether the selected college requires a written module.

The standard test includes 4 sections, all questions are accompanied by several answer options:

  • English (75 questions, 45 minutes): assessment of written English and rhetorical skills
  • Mathematics (60 questions, 60 minutes): assessment of mathematical skills to the level of 10 + 1
  • Reading (40 questions, 35 minutes): measuring read
  • Science (40 questions; 35 minutes): measures the skills of reasoning, analysis, problem solving and interpretation in the natural sciences.

An additional written test is a 30-minute essay to evaluate writing skills in English.

The duration of the test is 2 hours 55 minutes, 3 hours 25 minutes. to write ACT Plus, but it can take from 4 to 5 hours, including breaks and administrative instructions. The exam is in writing, but in the near future it is planned to transfer to a computer or online format.

  • ACT Calculation Method

The method of scoring is used for sections with multiple choices (mathematics, English , reading and science): for each correct answer, the student receives 1 point; For each section, an estimate is generated based on the number of correct answers. The scores for each section are converted into a total score from 1 to 36. The final ACT score is a combined score, which is calculated as the average value according to the results of tasks in all four sections.

The ACT written test is evaluated by two examiners on a scale of 1 to 6, where 6 points is the maximum possible. Both scores are added to the count.

A composite score does not include a written grade. Students can learn their results online 2.5 weeks after the test date, but official assessment reports are published 3-8 weeks after the exam date. The results of a written test are published only after all tests have been evaluated, that is, 5-8 weeks after the date of testing.

The student can send ACT test results to any colleges other than those you selected during registration for an additional fee. You can perform the ACT test several times and submit the best results to colleges.

  • ACT Exam Schedule

American College Testing is held 6 times a year: in September, October, December, February, April, June. Test dates and the corresponding registration deadlines are set by international testing centers: you can find out the addresses of the centers and dates on the ACT official website or from our managers. Registration for test participants for the next school year begins in July.

  • ACT Application Procedure

International students register to participate in ACT online: create a free ACT account, provide personal data, information about exam fees. In the near future, the filing of a photo will be added to the general requirements: the picture can be downloaded via the ACT website, mail or a mobile device.

The account on the ACT website will allow students to access other features: viewing results, reports, changes to the information provided during registration.

  • Examination fee

The exam fee for international students is $ 65 (without written part) and $ 80.5 for a test with written work. The cost includes reports that will be sent to the test subject, high school and four colleges of choice. Additional fees are charged for adding college. Payment for the exam is made using a bank card and ends in the process of registering a student in the center.

  • Test preparation

Before participating in test trials, students get acquainted with the various stages of the test, the format of the test. What you should pay attention to?

  • The official testing authority publishes an exam preparation booklet called ACT Preparation, which includes practical tests and preparation strategies and student guides.
  • Familiarity with the instructions for the individual sections of the test before the exam will save time on the day of the test.
  • Multiple choice test results are based on correct answers: marks for incorrect answers are not awarded, points are not taken.
  • All questions in one section have the same weight, so at first it is preferable to answer simple and moderately difficult questions before spending time on difficult ones.
  • Using the “Written Test” booklet for written notes will prepare you for writing essays in the answer folder.
  • The difference between ACT and SAT

Both tests are generally accepted standardized tests, their passing is a general requirement for admission to American high schools. Designed primarily for high school students, tests measure skill in problem solving, reading comprehension.

Since all American colleges and universities accept ACT or SAT scores , it makes no sense to take both tests. The content of the tests is not identical, but ACT and SAT are very similar:

A brief overview of the main differences between ACT and SAT




Total time

2 hours 55 minutes without writing

3 hours 35 minutes with a letter 3 hours without an essay

3 hours 50 minutes with an essay

Partition Order

  1. English
  2. Maths
  3. Reading
  4. The science
  5. Writing (optional)
  1. Reading
  2. Writing and language
  3. Math without calculator
  4. Math calculator
  5. Essay (optional)

Section Time

  1. English: 45 minutes
  2. Math: 60 minutes
  3. Reading: 35 minutes
  4. Science: 35 minutes
  5. Writing (optional): 40 minutes
  1. Reading: 65 minutes
  2. Writing and language: 35 minutes
  3. Math not calculator: 25 minutes
  4. Math Calculator: 55 minutes
  5. Essay (optional): 50 minutes

Number of questions

  1. English language: 75 questions
  2. Math: 60 questions
  3. Reading: 40 questions
  4. Science: 40 questions
  5. Letter (optional): 1 essay
  1. Reading: 52 questions
  2. Writing and language: 44 questions
  3. Math without calculator: 20 questions
  4. Math with calculator: 38 questions
  5. Essay (optional): 1 essay


The overall ranking is from 1 to 36.

Each section uses a scale from 1 to 36. The total score is the average of 4 points in sections.

In the additional section “Letter”, a scale of 2 to 12 is used; points are not counted in the final score.

Overall ranking - 400-1600

The Fact-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Mathematics sections use the 200-800 scale, which combine to produce a common score.

An additional essay uses three separate scales from 1 to 8, these points are not taken into account when calculating the final result.


$ 50.5 without a written block

$ 67 with writing block

$ 47.5 without essay

$ 64.5 with an essay

Who takes the results

All US Colleges and Universities

All US Colleges and Universities

A few more differences between the two most popular tests, the results of which are accepted by American universities:

  • Scientific section: ACT contains a section devoted entirely to science, SAT does not. SAT offers questions regarding scientific aspects in the sections Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
  • Using a calculator: ACT rules allow you to use a calculator for all questions in mathematics, SAT contains a subsection of Math No Calculator, for which you can not use a calculator.
  • Focus on geometry: geometry tasks account for about 35-45% of ACT Math, and less than 10% of SAT. Trigonometry is about 7% of ACT, of SAT - less than 5%.
  • Variants of answers - tests differ in the number of answers in mathematics: ACT Math gives 5 possible answers, SAT Math - 4 (AD).
  • In the section on reading SAT, all questions follow in chronological order; in ACT Reading, questions are asked randomly and do not always follow the order of content in the passage.
  • ACT Writing includes reading a short passage, analyzing various points of view on the problem under discussion, after which the students express their opinion on this issue. SAT applicants read and analyze essays, use evidence, the author’s argument, without expressing their own opinions.
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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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