ACT FAQs

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, math, reading, science and an optional writing test. The ACT is widely accepted by four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Each Spring, CMS high schools offer the ACT free of charge to all 11th graders.

The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The scores on the exam range from 1 to 36, with a national average score of 21. The ACT is administered on seven test dates: September, October, December, February, April, June, and July
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The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes including a short break. If the optional writing test is taken, that adds approximately 40 minutes. Approved calculators may be used on the math section of the exam.

What is the ACT?

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, mathematics, reading and science.

What does ACT stand for?

Originally, ACT stood for "American College Testing." In 1996, however, the official name of the organization was shortened to simply "ACT." This change in the official company name was made to better reflect the broad array of programs and services we now offer beyond college entrance testing.

Why take the ACT?

The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

What is the ACT Plus Writing?

The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 40-minute Writing Test. This option must be selected at the time of registration. The Writing Test is a 40-minute essay test that measures your writing skills--specifically Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, Language Use and Conventions.

What is the optional writing test?

The Writing Test is a 30-minute essay test that measures your writing skills--specifically those writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses. The test consists of one writing prompt that will define an issue and describe two points of view on that issue.

When is the ACT administered?

The ACT is administered on seven test dates: September, October, December, February, April, June, and July. The exam is administered within the United States, U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and Canada.

*Each Spring, CMS high schools offer the ACT free of charge to all 11th graders.

How many questions are there and how long will the test take?

The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes including a short break:
  • English: 75 questions - 45 minutes
  • Mathematics: 60 questions 60 minutes
  • Reading: 40 questions 35 minutes
  • Science: 40 questions 35 minutes

why take the act vs the sat?

When determining which entrance exam is best, student and college preference should be considered. Our table here highlights the differences between the exams.

When should I take the ACT?

Students have traditionally taken the ACT in the spring of their junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of their senior year. However, more and more students are choosing to take their first ACT earlier, such as during the fall of their junior year. This gives them more flexibility to retake the ACT test one or more times, or to take the SAT or SAT subject tests.

*The ACT Math section covers content from Math 1 (Algebra), Math 2 (Geometry) and some of Math 3 (Algebra II). We recommend that students wait to take our course until they have completed Math 2 and are currently taking Math 3.

 Are there any requirements for taking the ACT?

While there are no particular requirements we do offer recommendations. The ACT Math section covers content from Math 1 (Algebra), Math 2 (Geometry) and some of Math 3 (Algebra II). We recommend that students wait to take our course until they have completed Math 2 and are currently taking Math 3.

How is the ACT scored?

You'll earn one score (1 to 36) on each test (English, Math, Reading, and Science) and a composite score, which is an average of these four tests. The composite score does not include the writing score.

The highest possible ACT score is 36, while the national average is currently 21.

*Please check with your college of choice for specific score requirements

Two additional career and college readiness indicators are offered:
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) an average of the science and math scores
English Language Arts (ELA) an average of English, reading, and writing scores

What is the highest possible ACT score?

The highest possible ACT score is 36.

What is the national average score?

The national average is approximately 21.

where do i find my act score?

Your official multiple choice score will be available online within 2-8 weeks after the test is administered and your essay will be available in 2 weeks. ACT scores can be found by logging into your account at http://www.actstudent.org.

How much does the ACT cost?

The ACT exam costs $52.00 and includes reports for you, your high school and up to four college choices. The ACT Plus Writing exam costs $68.00 and includes reports for you, your high school and up to four college choices.

*Each Spring, CMS high schools offer the ACT free of charge to all 11th graders.

For an additional $22.00 fee, you can request a copy of your test questions and answers. For more information, click here.

What is the ACT Plus WRiting?

The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 40-minute Writing Test. This option must be selected at the time of registration.

The Writing Test is a 40-minute essay test that measures your writing skills--specifically Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, Language Use and Conventions. Learn more here.

What is the science section?

The science section measures a student's ability to analyze and synthesize data presented in a graph form.

How do I register for the ACT?

Can I use a calculator on the ACT?

Approved calculators may be used on the math section of the exam. For additional information, please see the official ACT Calculator Policy.

Are parents allowed to attend classes with their student?

We do not allow non-paid individuals/parents to audit the class. Only paid students and instructors are allowed in the classroom.

Cell Phone Policy

We want all students to be fully engaged in their test prep course.  To encourage full immersion, we ask that students limit cell phone use during class. Students are welcome to use their cell phones on breaks but phones should be tucked away during the duration of learning.

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