ACT- What's On The American College Test

June 19, 2019 0 Comments

The ACT, or American College Test, is one form of a standardized college entrance exam. Schools and universities across the nation use a variety of standardized tests to assess a candidate’s preparedness and potential for their programs. Depending on a student’s program of choice, specific entrance exams may have to be completed in lieu or in addition to another. While some tests are designed to assess for skills related to a profession, the ACT is a broader test. While all entrance exams will assess for knowledge and skills at a specific level, the ACT will assess candidates on skills and understandings of high school information.

Similar to the SAT, the ACT is designed for testing students at the high school level, specifically looking for higher education post-graduation. The exam will test the same main subject areas of language and math, but the ACT also includes a section on science for a more comprehensive assessment of high school education. Additionally, the ACT claims that it is not a test on sole cognitive reasoning. As a result, the ACT is stereotypically thought of as less of a mind game in comparison to its alternative of the SAT, since the questions are considered more straightforward. For students seeking a more complete comparison of the ACT and SAT, follow this link for additional information.

Regardless of how the exam compares to others, there is no argument that the ACT is required by numerous universities and colleges for admittance. And even though a college may not require the ACT specifically, many will substitute or use the scores completely in addition to the SAT, for a more complete assessment as well as for scholarships. For any student needing or simply wanting to take the ACT, the ACT exam breakdown is as follows:


Number of Questions

Time Limit



45 minutes



60 minutes



35 minutes



35 minutes

Writing (optional)


40 minutes

The ACT can range from three and a half hours to a little over four hours with breaks and depending on if a student completes to optional writing portion. The multiple-choice question counts stay relatively consistent, while every exam reserves the right to add additional, unidentified and unscored questions for student survey purposes. With the overwhelming portion of the test being a multiple-choice format with 4 or 5 answer options, the test has no penalties for wrong answers. Rather, a student’s score is only a compilation of points from the questions answered correctly.


Understanding what the format of the test is and how a score is generated is a major component to doing well on the exam. The next, and most difficult step in successfully tackling the ACT is knowing the content and material. Even though students taking the ACT are likely going to be tested on relevant material being taught within their high school, it is important to know the specific content within each subject test.

To assist with your goals, Smart Edition Media has created a study guide that provides essential lesson material as seen on the ACT. Complete with lesson quizzes and simulated exams, the guide will give hands-on practice for any student. Each guidebook provides access to convenient online resources and exams for extra educational diagnostics.

For a complete subject analysis, preview the study guide or view additional information at the official ACT site.