What is the ACT? (American College Test)

The best indication of how well you will do in college is a measure of how well you can perform the skills necessary for college coursework. The ACT measures these skills in English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. These areas are tested because they include the major areas of instruction in most high school and college programs. The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests and a 30-minute Writing Test. ACT results are accepted by virtually all U.S. colleges and universities.

Registering for the ACT

There are several ways to register for the ACT. You can register online at You can also get a registration packet to complete and mail in (see a Talent Search Advisor or your high counselor for a paper packet). Visit for more information concerning the registration process.

Schedule of Test Dates:

Test Date Registration Registration Late Fee
Sep. 12, 2015 Aug. 7, 2015 Aug. 8-21, 2015
Oct.24, 2015 Sep. 18, 2015 Sep. 19-Oct. 2, 2015
Dec. 12, 2015 Nov. 6, 2015 Nov. 7-20, 2015
Feb. 6, 2016 Jan. 8, 2016 Jan. 9-15, 2016
Apr. 9, 2016 Mar. 4, 2016 Mar. 5-18, 2016
Jun. 11, 2016 May 6, 2016 May 7-20, 2016

Cost of the ACT

  • ACT - No Writing: $34
  • ACT - Plus Writing: $49.50
  • Late fee: $21
  • Standby fee: $42

All Talent Search participants will receive an ACT fee waiver once during their junior year and once during their senior year. This does not include late or standby fees.

ACT Preparation Websites

General ACT Test-Taking Strategies

  • Carefully read the instructions on the cover of the test booklet
  • Read the directions for each section carefully
  • Read each question carefully
  • Pace yourself - don't spend too much time on a single passage or question
  • Use a soft lead No. 2 pencil with a good eraser; do not use a mechanical pencil, ink pen or correction fluid
  • Answer the easy questions first, then go back and answer the more difficult ones
  • On difficult questions, eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can, then make an educated guess from the remaining answers
  • Answer every question - your score on the multiple-choice tests are based on the number of questions that you answer correctly. There is no penalty for guessing
  • Review your work - if you finish a test before time is up, go back and check your work
  • Mark your answers neatly. Erase completely and cleanly without smudging
  • Do not mark or alter any oval on a test or continue writing on the Writing Test after time has been called or you will be disqualified from the exam

Should I take the ACT more than once?

There are no limitations on how many times you can take the ACT, although there are restrictions on how frequently you can do so (you must wait a minimum of 60 days between retests). Many students take the test twice, once as a junior and again as a senior.

You should definitely consider retesting if you had any problems during the test, such as misunderstanding the directions or not feeling well. You may also want to consider retesting if you are not satisfied that your scores accurately represent your abilities.

Retesting may be a good idea if you see a discrepancy between your ACT scores and your high school grades, or if you have completed coursework or an intensive review in the subject areas included in the ACT since you were tested. Research shows that of the students who took the
ACT more than once:

  • 55% increased their Composite score on the retest
  • 22% had no change in their Composite score on the retest
  • 23% decreased their Composite score on the retest

For additional questions or information visit the ACT website,, or contact a Talent Search Advisor by phone, 575.562.2447, or email,