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The ACT Test

The ACT exam is one of two entrance exams to US Universities, the other being the SAT Exam (to work out which might suit you go to our article which exam). The ACT exam has four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science Reasoning and lasts 2 hours, 55 minutes with an optional 30 minute Writing section. The more competitive US universities will require students to take the Writing section.

The ACT has a Science Reasoning section and its Maths section measures at a higher level (trigonometry) than the SAT Reasoning Test (geometry). We therefore, generally, advise students who are strong in Maths and Science to take this exam. The ACT exam also only requires one testing date for the competitive Universities, rather than two for the SAT reasoning and subjects tests.


To register for the ACT exams you must go to the ACT student website. For help with this go to the Fulbright Commission step-by-step guide.

Testing Fees

The ACT test costs $39.50 for registration plus a $40 international processing fee. The Writing section is an additional $17 and there are further fees for standby testing or additional score reports (beyond the 4 free score reports at registration).

Testing Dates

The international ACT test dates for 2016-17 are as follows:

  • 9 April 2016 (deadline 4 March 2016)
  • 11 June 2016 (deadline 6 May 2016)
  • 10 Sept 2016
  • 22 Oct 2016
  • 10 Dec 2016
  • 8 April 2016
  • 10 June 2016

Testing Sites

The tests are offered at the following locations in the UK: Brentwood, Essex (Brentwood School); Bromsgrove (Bromsgrove School); Bushey, Hertfordshire (Immanuel College); Cobham, Surrey (ACS Cobham International School); Cults Aberdeen (International School of Aberdeen); Hillingdon Middlesex (ACS Hillingdon International School); London (University College School); London (Southbank International School); New Castle, N. Ireland (Shimna Integrated College); Oxford (EF International Academy); Sevenoaks, England (Sevenoaks School); Shrewsbury, England (Concord University); Thorpe Surrey (TASIS The American School).

Be aware though that not all centres are available on every testing date, so please check when registering that your preferred test site is available.


The four sections on the ACT are each scored from 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score. The overall composite score is the mean (average) of the four sections. For further information on ACT scoring please see the ACT student website.

Each correct question on the ACT scores one point (there is no penalty for incorrect answers). Three to eight weeks after the test you can view your overall scale score online, which ranks your raw score in comparison with every other student who took the test on that day.

After the scoring, the results can be posted or sent electronically to the Universities of your choice. During registration you can elect to send your results to up to four Universities free of charge and a further two for an additional fee. If you choose to send your results at a later date additional charges will apply.

Further Information

For further information on standby testing, students with disabilities and other general information watch Education USA's webinar on the ACT or goto the Fulbright Commission or the ACT student website.

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