The ACT test is a national college admissions test and, like the SAT exam, is accepted by all 4-year colleges and universities in the United States. The ACT test comprises subject area achievement tests in four areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. As an achievement test, it measures what you have learned in school. In this way, every time you attend class, you are preparing for the ACT test. This test has an optional Writing section. Students planning to take the test for a specific college should check to see if the Writing section is required for the schools of their choice. Keep in mind that you cannot take the Writing test separately, at a later date. You’ll have to repeat the entire test to get a writing test score if you find out you need it later, so it’s probably a good idea to just go ahead and take it with the other tests.
Your ACT test score can range between 1 and 36 in each of the four mandatory testing areas. These four scores are averaged together for a composite ACT test score. When people ask you for your ACT test results, they are usually referring to this composite amount and the national average is about 21.
If you choose to take the optional writing test, you will be given an essay prompt with 40 minutes to compose your essay response. This score appears as a writing test subscore of between 2 and 12. The ACT test, like the latest version of the SAT exam, imposes no penalty for guessing.
As of the fall of 2016, the ACT test score report will contain a number of informative changes. Added are figures that tell how many correct answers the student got out of the highest number possible. Also, your subscores on each test will be placed on a number line that contains a bar labeled ACT Readiness Range. This way, you will be able to tell where your subscore falls in terms of scores that show readiness for college-level study.
Also included in the new score report is an estimated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) benchmark rating. This is shown to help students plan college and career paths. This benchmark is a result of your combined scores on the Math and Science portions of the ACT test.
Even more career-planning information is given to the student in the new report, by the way of Career Connector summaries and Interest-Major Fit data. These scores are established through student responses about interests and experience that are given during registration.