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The ACT Explained

August 1, 2012

The ACT is a college admissions exam that tests a student’s knowledge in math, science, English and reading. The test includes 215 multiple-choice questions as well as a writing test. Some colleges and universities in the United States require a student to submit ACT test scores as part of the application process.

Anyone who meets these criteria needs to learn more about the ACT:

  • You want to study in the United States.
  • You have applied to a college or university in the United States.
  • The college or university to which you applied requires all applicants to take the test and submit the scores.

If you want to be an F student, you must also make sure that the school to which you apply is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified. An international student who wants to take the ACT must create an account and register online. Before actually registering for a test, search for available testing centers and dates in the country where you live. You may have to travel to take the test. If testing centers are too far away, download “Request for ACT Arranged Testing; The ACT also offers free online preparatory materialsto help you study for the test.

While similar in many ways, the ACT and another well-known admissions test, the SAT,;have some slight differences. The ACT has four subject sections plus an optional writing section, and the SAT has three subject sections. In 2005, the College Board released a new version of the SAT, which includes a mandatory writing test. The ACT has an optional writing test that a student must only take if the school requires it.

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