What Is the ACT Exam?

The ACT exam, short for the American College Testing exam, is a standardized test offered to high school students in their senior year. This test mainly encourages students to apply for college. It helps college admissions teams determine if a student is a good fit for their university and should be placed in certain classes once enrolled. The ACT is an excellent exam for students to take, as those who initially did not consider college changed their minds upon completing the exam with high marks. The ACT is also crucial for underrepresented students who want to attend college through scholarships based on merit and academic success in high school.

The ACT is specifically for students in grades ten through twelve in American high schools. The test itself identifies the necessary skills that a student will need to be ready for college and their subsequent careers. Essentially, the ACT is a clear and concise link between what students know and what they are prepared to learn next upon entering college. High school counsellors will also use the ACT reports to guide struggling students to identify their potential career paths and college options and evaluate how well the institution’s teachers are instructing their students.

What Does the ACT Exam Consist Of?​

The ACT exam consists of four different multiple-choice tests. The subject of each test includes English, math, reading, and science. The exam also includes an optional writing test that students are encouraged to take. Each test is to identify the skill level of each subject, as they are usually the most critical subjects for success in college or universities. The scores for each multiple-choice test are 1 through 36. The final score for the exam measures the average of all four tests. The writing test, though optional, measures a student’s writing and comprehension skills and is based on a single prompt with three perspectives. The student must write an essay on their view of the issue, mainly to show how well they understand English and critical writing.

ACT standardized test


There are a few key differences between the ACT and the SAT. The ACT has different time limits per section: 35 minutes for reading, 45 minutes for English, 60 minutes for math, and 35 minutes for science. The scores for the ACT range from 1 to 36.

On the other hand, the SAT is three hours long with two short breaks on the hour. The SAT final scores range from 400 to 1600. It's worth noting that no college admissions team prefers one test over the other, and both are acceptable when applying for colleges.

The ACT exam scores are for quite a few different things. At its core, the test is to address a student's readiness for college. ACTs are for high school counsellors to help identify pain points in a student's education and help them better prepare for college admissions. Colleges also use the scores to determine if a student is ready or a good choice for a particular institution. Just as well, ACT scores are for decision-makers in high schools to identify how well the student body is doing in certain subjects.

What is a good ACT exam score?

The average ACT score is about 20.8. Keep in mind that this is a composite score based on the average of all the different sections tested. A score of 21 would land a student right in the middle. Generally, a score of about 24 or higher is considered quite good. A perfect score would be a score of 36, which is quite challenging to achieve. High-level universities require relatively high ACT scores for admission, in addition to other factors. MIT students generally have an ACT score of 33 to 35, while Harvard students usually have 32 to 35.

The math section of the ACT is often the most challenging section for students to take on. In general, the ACT math test involves pre-algebra, elementary algebra, and intermediate algebra multiple-choice questions. Questions will include concepts like plane geometry and some trigonometry.

Discover our TutorOcean marketplace with affordable, vetted ACT Tutors that fit your budget.

How Do I Become an ACT Exam Tutor?

If you have a passion for teaching others and love ACT, becoming an ACT tutor is easy. You need a minimum of a high school degree or GED to start teaching kindergarten and middle school grade levels. You may need a degree in a specialist subject for higher-level examinations depending on the level of practice you plan to teach. The costs of ACT tutors vary because you will set your pay rates and time schedules depending on your own experience and circumstances.

Your first step will be to decide which topics you’d like to tutor. Then choose the age groups and grade levels you want to teach. Learn the curriculum and critical concepts for those grade levels. And lastly, establish your teaching methods, tools, and eventually, you will create your own course materials over time as you get more experience working with students.

Hire the Right ACT Tutor Today!

Book a private tutor online or in-person on the fastest growing learning marketplace.