The CollegeVine Guides to the ACT

Love them or hate them, standardized tests are an important part of the college planning and application process. The ACT is one of the major testing options available to college-bound high school students, so many applicants will choose to make it part of their college preparations.


The ACT test consists of four required sections—English, Math, Reading, and Science—as well as a Writing section that is optional overall but required for certain colleges. While this exam has a reputation for being more popular in the Midwestern states, it’s widely accepted by colleges and differs from the SAT in ways that make it a more appealing option for some students.


Here at the CollegeVine blog, we’ve frequently posted about the ACT, its structure, its content, and its scoring process. Below, you’ll find a list of all our posts about the ACT with links to each. Read on for everything you need to know about the ACT!


Understanding the ACT


Whether the ACT is entirely new to you or you’re hoping to improve your understanding of its details, these posts will help you get to know the exam better.


ACT Statistics: Participation and Rankings By State

Which Section of the SAT and ACT is Most Important?

When Should I Take the SAT or ACT?

A Guide to Disability Accommodations for Standardized Testing

ACT section guides


The ACT’s five sections—English, Math, Reading, Science, and the optional Writing section—require different knowledge and different strategies. Below, you’ll find our section-specific posts about the details of the exam.



A Guide to the English Section of the ACT

Four Common Mistakes to Avoid on Your English ACT

Three Grammar Rules Every Student Messes Up on the ACT


A Guide to the Math Section of the ACT

Five ACT Math Mistakes to Avoid


A Guide to the Reading Section of the ACT

The Four Types of Passages You’ll See on ACT Reading


A Guide to the Science Section of the ACT

Writing (optional)

A Guide to the Optional ACT Writing Section

Five Tips to Score a 12 On Your ACT Essay

The 50 Best Vocab Words for the ACT Essay


Preparing for the ACT


Once you know how the ACT works, it’s time to get started with the process of studying for the test. Check out these posts for more advice on managing your test preparation.


How Many SAT or ACT Practice Tests Should You Take?

What Parents Need to Know about SAT and ACT Studying Prep


Advice for ACT test day


Knowing what to expect when you arrive at the testing facility will make the test day experience less stressful and give you a better chance to succeed.


13 Tips for ACT Test Day

What to Bring (And Not Bring) to the ACT


Understanding your ACT score


Your ACT score report distils your performance on the exam into just a few numerical scores. Below, you’ll find our advice on figuring out what your scores mean for you.


The Complete Guide to the ACT Score Report

How the ACT is Graded: A Breakdown

How Does the Scoring Curve Work for the ACT?

Can a Good SAT or ACT Score Offset a Bad GPA?

Retaking the ACT


Many students choose to retake the ACT in hopes of receiving a better score. Here’s how to decide whether to retake the test and, if you do decide to do so, advice on doing better the second time around.


Should You Retake Your Standardized Tests?

10 Tips to Improve Your ACT Score

Do I Have to Self-Report My Test Scores?


We hope these posts will provide the information you need to understand the test, study effectively, and do your best on the ACT!


Want to know how your SAT score/ACT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

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Monikah Schuschu
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Monikah Schuschu is an alumna of Brown University and Harvard University. As a graduate student, she took a job at the Harvard College Office of Financial Aid and Admissions, and discovered the satisfaction of helping students and parents with the often-baffling college admissions process. She also enjoys fiber art, murder mysteries, and amateur entomology.

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