What is ACT?

A university admissions test accepted by most four-year universities in the United States and Canada for undergraduate admissions
Comprised of 4 sections: English (75 items, 45 minutes), Mathematics (60 items, 60 minutes), Reading (40 items, 35 minutes), and Science (40 items, 35 minutes)
Optional Writing test consisting of one prompt, to be completed within 40 minutes
Total duration of 3 hours and 35 minutes, if taken with the optional Writing test
Conducted in April, June, July, September, October, and December
Scored range from 1 to 36 and are valid for 5 years

ACT Test Format

ACT Test Format
The test consists of 4 compulsory sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing section.
Section I: English
Understanding of English; production of writing; knowledge of language skills
Section II: Math
Mathematical skills typically acquired up to age 17.
Section III: Reading
Reading comprehension commonly encountered in first-year college curricula
Section IV: Science
Interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in Biology, Chemistry, Earth/space sciences, and Physics
Section III: Writing
Writing skills taught in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses
Sections Questions Duration Scoring

75 multiple choice

45 minutes

1 – 36

Math 60 multiple choice 60 minutes 1 – 36
Reading 40 multiple choice 35 minutes 1 – 36
Science 40 multiple choice 35 minutes 1 – 36
Writing (optional) 1 essay prompt 40 minutes

2 – 12 points
Not included in
total score


Total   3 hours 25 minutes (
without optional
Writing section)

4 hours 5 minutes (with
optional Writing

Including breaks
1 – 36

Our ACT Test Preparation Classes

linh nguyen

Linh Nguyen
US College, Medicine, MBA, Post-Graduate

Graduating with highest honours (Summa Cum Laude) in Anthropology from Yale-NUS College, Singapore, Linh is a scholastic powerhouse with a diverse academic background which spans the humanities to the quantitative sciences. A highly proficient test taker herself, Linh has obtained perfect scores in the ISAT, SAT Math and PTE. Additionally, she has scored in the 99th percentile for the SAT and UCAT, and the 96th percentile for the GRE.

Rachel Tseng ACT

Rachel Tseng
US College, Medicine

Rachel graduated with a BA in Neuroscience, and intends to pursue an MD. Having studied in Singapore and the US, she is well-versed in both systems. With over 4 years of tutoring and mentoring experience, she hopes to use her expertise to guide students through the MCAT, GAMSAT, and the university admissions process. A multihyphenate, she was also a national swimmer, Dean’s lister, collegiate sports scholar, and serves in the Alumni Admissions Council for her alma mater.

Frequently Asked Questions about ACT

Students applying to the most selective universities should generally aim for a competitive score above 33.

ACT scores are valid for up to 5 years.

You may sit for the ACT any number of times.

Internationally, the ACT is held in September, October, December, February, April, and June. Some upcoming test dates include: 16th & 17th April 2021, 11th & 12th June 2021, 16 & 17th July 2021.

ACT scores for the multiple-choice sections are usually available within two business days of the test sitting for students taking the computer-based test. Writing scores are typically available two to three weeks after the release of multiple-choice scores.

Both exams are widely recognised by US universities. One key difference between the SAT and the ACT is the inclusion of a Science section in the ACT, accounting for 25% of the final score.
If you are unsure as to which test to take, we invite you to try our free SAT and ACT diagnostic tests for an idea of your expected performance on each test. 

Articles on the ACT and US Universities/Colleges