Standardized tests help universities assess and compare the students' abilities. Colleges use the results to determine if a student academic department or program at the school.
If you get test anxiety and do not perform to the best of your abilities on standardized tests, know that you can take them again. Also, the scores are one of many elements in the college application process. Universities also look at your Common App, essays, letters of recommendation, résumés, interviews, transcripts and grade-point average (GPA) to determine admission.
But, yes, they are important, so prepare, study and sleep the night before the test.
Here is what you need to know about the ACT.
Another standardized test that admissions offices use to compare applicants is the ACT. This test is created by ACT Inc. The ACT is an entrance exam like the SAT; it helps college admissions offices make a decision. However, the ACT tests more subject areas and is scored differently. Students typically take the ACT during the spring of their junior year of high school, and again if needed in the fall of their senior year.
What does the ACT test?
The ACT has four sections and an optional writing test. Again, some schools may require the writing test as a part of their application, but always make sure to double check when registering for test dates.
The four sections the ACT tests your knowledge on are English (45 minutes), reading (35 minutes), math (60 minutes) and science (35 minutes). The optional writing section is one essay, and 40 minutes is allotted. The ACT should take three hours, and add 40 minutes with the essay portion.
How is it scored?
The scoring for the ACT is a lot different than the SAT. The maximum composite score you can receive is a 36, and the average score is 21.
How is the composite score determined, you might ask? For each section, you will receive a raw score ranging from 1 to 36 indicating the number of questions you got right. (Again, no penalty for wrong answers, so always take an educated guess.) Then, your composite score is the average of the four scores for the English, reading, math and science sections. The composite score is rounded to the nearest whole number.
If you take the optional essay, you’ll receive a separate writing score with your score report. It does not factor into your composite score.
The ACT score report will show you your strengths and weaknesses. And like the PSAT, it will show areas where you can improve if you take it another time. To learn more about how the ACT is scored, percentiles and where your scores can take you, look at this site.
When can you take the ACT?
The ACT is offered six times per year. Below are the test dates for the 2016-2017 year.
Since registration deadlines are approximately five weeks prior to the test date, the easiest way to register for the ACT is the online application on the ACT website. You also have the option to get registration materials from the guidance department at your high school or by calling ACT Inc., at +1 (319) 337-1270.
The cost for the exam without the essay portion is $34. With the optional essay portion, it will cost you $49.50. Remember: Some schools waive the fee for students unable to afford the exam so make sure to be in touch with your guidance department.
Always be prepared for your tests. Take advantage of free practice tests found online, purchase workbooks to improve your test taking skills or even find prep courses taught by local teachers. Remember to get a good nights sleep, eat a balanced breakfast and bring extra pencils to your testing center.
And remember, it's only a test! It does not define who you are or your intelligence.
Have you taken SAT? ACT? TOEFL? What advice do you have for others? Please leave a comment here and post on our Facebook page.