ACT Help And FAQs

If you’re preparing to go to college, then you’ll want to look into taking the ACT. Not sure about what it entails? Then you’re in the right place. Here are the answers to all the main questions that you’ll have during the process.

General Questions

What is the ACT?

The ACT is a national college admissions exam that covers four subject areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The ACT includes tests in all four areas, as well as a 40 minute writing test. After the final Science test, you’ll also take a short multiple choice test on one of the subject areas. This multiple choice test is designed to further refine future tests, and won’t reflect on your final score.

Why take the ACT?

If you are looking to apply to colleges in the US, then you’ll most likely need to take the ACT. The results of this test are accepted by all four year colleges and universities in the US. Taking the test makes you visible to colleges, so you can start getting ready to apply to your intended places of study.

Who can take the ACT?

Anyone of any age or grade can take the ACT. This can include students from grade 6 all the way to high school graduates. As long as you register and pay the fees, you can take the test.

When should you test?

If you’re planning on applying to universities, the best time to test is around two months before the application deadline. This is because scores for the ACT test are typically reported within 2 – 8 weeks after the test date.

Should you test again?

Many students test during both their junior and senior years. This can be helpful if you were unsure of directions, or had other circumstances that affected your performance the first time. It’s also shown that over half of students who retest improve their scores the second time.

Registration Questions

What are the name requirements when signing up?

You’ll need to use the name that appears on your government documentation when applying for the ACT. When you go for the test, you’ll need to present photo ID. The name on that ID will need to match the name that you applied with.

How do you pay for the ACT?

You’ll be able to use all major credit cards or registration or state vouchers in order to pay online.

Can I change or cancel the test date?

Yes, you can change your test date or cancel the test, up until the late registration deadline. Be aware that the fee for the test is non refundable, if you decide not to test. However, if you’ve bought any optional services, such as the ACT writing test, these can be refunded.

Photo Upload Questions

When are photos required?

If you’re a standby test taker, you’ll need to include a photo of yourself prior to the photo upload deadline. On test day, you’ll present a standby ticket that includes this photo.

What does ACT do with these photos?

The photos are used on test day to ensure security and identity matching. These photos are kept in a secure encrypted database, and are only retained while you are going through the testing and application process.

Special Circumstances

Can I get a fee waiver?

In some circumstances, you’ll be able to get a fee waiver on the ACT. If you think you may need one, you’ll need to speak with your high school counselor. Remember that the waiver is used on a test whether you take it or not, so keep that in mind when picking a test date.

Is the ACT available in languages other than English?

No, the ACT is only offered in English. However, there is support available for English learners.

Is extended time offered?

Yes, if you are an English learner or have a documented disability, then you may get extended time on the test. There’s more information available on the ACT site regarding this.

Test Day

How should you prepare for test day?

One of the best ways to prepare is to have a solid class program, including English, Mathematics, Science and social studies. You can also take practice tests so you can see what the test is like, and understand how it works. There are free practice tests available in the Preparing For The ACT.

What ID so you need on test day?

You’ll need your photo ID that matches the name you signed up for the ACT under. That includes any ID issued by your state or government, or your hard plastic card school ID.

Test Prep

How long will the test take?

Typically, the testing begins at 8am, and if you’re taking the standard test it will end at 12:15pm. If you’re also taking the writing test, you’ll be dismissed at 1:15pm.

What areas do the multiple choice questions cover?

These will only cover the subjects you’re being tested on by the ACT, so you can expect questions on English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science.


Can you speed up the availability of scores?

No, the dates you’ll be given will be the earliest that you can expect to get your testing scores.

Can you cancel reporting to colleges after you see your scores?

No. The deadline for amending college reporting is the Thursday noon after the scheduled Saturday test date.

Why are some scores taking longer?

There are several reasons it’s taking longer for you to get your scores. That includes any irregularities at your test center, if your matching information information you provided is not consistent with the info on your ticket, if you owe any registration fees, and if your answer documents from your test center have arrived late.

Now you know all the basics of taking your ACT. You can start preparing now, so you can get the best scores possible and get entrance to your chosen college. The best preparation is working hard at school, so you have the knowledge base needed to ace the test.