Frequently asked questions

The ACT measures college readiness skills, which means that it tests the academic knowledge and skills that students have learned in school. ACT scores relate directly to students’ prior academic preparation and are predictive of students’ readiness for college. While all college admissions tests require critical thinking skills, students who take the ACT are evaluated primarily on their school-based knowledge and skills.

The ACT consists of 4 academic subtests (English grammar, high school Math, academic Reading, and Science) and an optional writing assessment. The subtests assess content knowledge and skills related to academic performance.

A perfect score on the ACT is a 36. The average ACT score in 2019 was 20.7. A student receives a score out of 36 for each subtest (English, Math, Reading, Science), and then the four scores are averaged to produce a composite score out of 36. The writing prompt is scored separately with a numerical score from 1 to 12, and this score is then factored into a combined English/Writing score out of 36; the Math and Science scores are also combined to calculate a STEM subscore out of 36.

No. All colleges in the U.S. and abroad accept the ACT. You may, however, still need to take the SAT Subject Tests, depending on each college or university’s requirements.

In each student’s initial intake at Thirty-Six Education, the company founder will help determine which test is better for the student. 

An SAT/ACT concordance table can be found at:

No. The ACT has been used in college admissions since 1959. No colleges or universities currently express a preference for either the SAT or the ACT. In the class of 2019, nearly 1.8 million students took the ACT.

Yes! ACT scores respond to hard work. Generally, students who put time into preparing for the test will improve their scores, provided they prepare in an effective way. Since the test is closely linked to college preparation and performance, it gives colleges and universities a clear indication of students’ abilities.

Each college or university uses scores differently, and it is advisable to check the testing policies of individual schools. Some schools will superscore ACTs; when applying to these schools, students submit score reports from multiple test dates, and the college or university combines the highest individual section scores to create a “superscore.” 

The ACT has recently announced that, beginning September 2020, students will be able to retest individual sections of the ACT. ACT will then create a “superscore” for students to use in their applications, reflecting the best individual section scores across their testing. It is unclear, however, whether colleges will honor this new superscoring system or whether they’ll still require a full test to be submitted.

In the ACT writing section, students express their own perspective on an issue. They’re given an open-ended prompt to which there is no “correct” answer; for example, “What do we gain and what do we lose as our interpersonal relationships are increasingly conducted online instead of in person?” The idea is that the prompt can be argued from both sides. Students are presented with three perspectives on the topic and are expected to  express their own perspective as well as how their own perspective relates to one of the given perspectives. 

Students often have many questions about the ACT and the best way to prep. We’re only a message away, and we’re glad to help. Contact us