The Ultimate Guide to Acing Your ACT Test

Study Abroad Team 25/10/2023

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What is ACT, and Who is Eligible to Take it up?

ACT, also known as American College Testing, is a standard admission test. ACT suits students looking for admission to undergraduate schools based in the US and Canada. The ACT exam was developed to analyze the candidate’s scientific, written, verbal, and mathematical abilities. The ACT. Inc administers a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test. The main objective of the ACT test is to measure a high school student’s college readiness. It also offers universities a single data point to analyze the abilities of all students. 

Students preparing for entrance exams for abroad studies should know about the syllabus of the ACT. The admission department in foreign universities will review the student’s standardized test scores and GPA. By scoring high in the ACT exams, aspirants can optimize their chances of admission to reputed universities. The ACT test is more than 60 years old. The test aims to offer candidates an accurate measure of what students learn in the secondary examinations. Since ACT is primarily for high school students, there are no specific eligibility criteria to appear for this examination.

As per ACT, anyone can appear for the test regardless of age and academic grade level. Besides the high school students, grades 6, 7, 8, and 9 can also appear for this examination. Here are some other eligibility criteria for the ACT test. 

  • Applicants must have a valid passport. 
  • Candidates must take the test at least two months before the admission deadline. 
  • Students should meet the course-wise eligibility criteria set by the university. 

Steps to Calculate the ACT Scores

When college admission officers shuffle through piles of applications, a good ACT score can be the best bet for applicants. ACT is the best entrance exam for abroad studies. The ACT comprises four sections- English, Reading, Science, and Mathematics. Each section has a scale score that ranges between 1 and 36. The scale score is derived from the applicant’s raw scores in each section. Students should refer to a sample ACT raw score conversion grid. 

Scale Score

Mathematics Raw Score

Reading Raw Score

English Raw Score

Science Raw Score

36

59-60

40

75

40

35

57-58

39

73-74

39

34

55-56

38

71-72

38

33

54

37

70

37

The ACT raw score conversion grid can help an aspirant prepare properly. It will allow students to fine-tune their scores on the ACT tests.  

How is ACT Different from SAT? Which is Easy?

Aspirants should know about SAT exams for Indian students. The ACT and the SAT are respected and recognized equally by most universities in the US and Canada. Most colleges use the ACT and SAT scores of the aspirants to compare their abilities before granting admission to them.At first glance, it is tough to differentiate between ACT and SAT. While the SAT and ACT are standardized exams, they’re different tests.

These tests analyze a student’s ability and readiness for admission to a foreign university.The SAT is initially a psychological test that assesses the aptitude for learning. On the contrary, ACT is a placement test that indicates the candidate’s academic preparation and achievement. The main difference between ACT and SAT boils down to the below-mentioned aspects.

  • The total number of questions
  • The scoring scales
  • The overall length of the assessment  
  • The types of sections
  • The dates of the tests  

Students should be aware of the overall comparison between ACT and SAT.

  • Total Number of Questions - The total number of questions asked in the ACT is 215. On the contrary, students have to solve 154 questions in the SAT exam.
  • The Scoring Scale - The scoring scale in ACT is 1 to 36. On the other hand, the scoring scale in SAT is 400-1600.
  • The Length of the Assessment - The total duration of the ACT examination is 3 hours and 35 minutes. The overall length of the SAT is 3 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Sections - Mathematics, Reading, English, and Science are the main sections of the ACT. The sections in the SAT exam are mathematics, optional essay, reading, and writing.
  • The Test Dates - Aspirants can appear for ACT four times a year. On the other hand, students can appear for SAT six times a year.

The SAT exams for Indian students also include an additional non-calculator mathematics section. It also comprises a basic formula page.  

Which One Should I Choose? ACT or SAT?

The scores of the ACT and SAT are used for college admissions and awarding merit-based scholarships. But most colleges in the US and Canada don’t prefer one test over the other. Therefore, aspirants preparing for the entrance exam for MS abroad should know about the requirements set by the college.Universities and colleges abroad use SAT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships. Colleges use the ACT score to assess students' abilities for their admission to undergraduate courses.

Aspirants usually feel confused about which test to take for admission to the USA and Canadian colleges. Applicants can ward off this confusion by taking a full-length practice exam of each type. SAT and ACT are pretty similar. Appearing for a practice ACT and SAT test will help the students find which exam is better.

Preferences of Universities Between SAT and ACT

Aspirants preparing for the entrance exam for MS abroad should be aware of the preferences of the universities. Many universities in the United States typically accept SAT or ACT test scores. Moreover, some colleges typically don’t have any preference for a specific test.

Therefore, the students must check with each university to see if they have particular reservations about ACT or SAT. Some colleges may recommend one test over the other. They may also suggest the students appear for subject tests besides SAT or ACT. Ultimately, a student should appear for a test they feel most comfortable with.

Points to Remember When Registering for ACT

A candidate will have to register for the ACT test online. Students should note that there is an offline option. However, the online mode is faster. Typically, it takes thirty minutes to complete the registration for the ACT test. Here are the things required to register for ACT.

  • Voucher or a credit card
  • Academic documents
  • Email address

Here are the things to remember while registering for the ACT test.

  • Students should create a MyACT account by visiting www.global.act.org
  • After creating the account, they should use their credentials to log into their account
  • Applicants should exercise caution while filling out the application form
  • They should select a test session
  • In the next step, the candidates should select the desired date and the option
  • Applicants should choose the four colleges that will deliver the ACT score
  • Students should pay and upload their photographs for successful registration
  • It is recommended that students register for the test two to three months before the admission date
  • By registering early, students will have access to a precise schedule

The key to achieving success in SAT or ACT is by preparing correctly. Students can score better by knowing the differences and similarities between ACT and SAT.

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