The ACT is comprised of four sections, each scored on a scale of 1-36:
Should I take the ACT test or the SAT test?
What is the ACT test?
How is the ACT test scored?
How many questions are there on the ACT test?
How long is the ACT test?
When should I start ACT test prep?
Should I take the ACT test or the SAT test?
Most colleges and universities accept both the ACT and the SAT as a criterion for admission. But there are advantages to each, especially if you're considering a science or math program. That's why we offer both ACT and SAT test prep, and we advise you about which test is best for you and your educational goals.
Visit our “ACT or SAT?" page to learn more
What is the ACT test?
The American College Testing (ACT) test is a standardized test used for college admissions in the U.S. The nonprofit organization with the same name administers it for tens of thousands of students every year.
Because high schools and homeschooling programs differ so much in outcomes, resources, and funding, grade point averages (GPAs) are not reliable predictors of whether students will be successful in college. A high GPA is best, but most U.S. colleges and universities still require ACT scores or SAT scores as part of their admission criteria.
More importantly, college administrators use ACT scores as screening tools for applicants. They use ACT scores as tiebreakers when two students measure up more or less the same.
If you don't perform well enough on the ACT, you may not be admitted to college.
Think about it. If you worked in a college admissions office, would you rather read 500 transcripts from different high schools everywhere, when you don't know how rigorous each school's curriculum is — or would you rather just reference ACT scores?
Our ACT test prep gets you ready to compete with more than just students here in San Diego, or even California. You're competing with students who may have had more resources in learning, more access to specialized or accelerated classes, and more opportunities overall. Our private ACT tutors are educational experts with experience across many different schools who can help give you the skills you need to score higher.
Contact us now to learn more about ACT test prep classes
How is the ACT test scored?
The ACT provides two combined scores: ELA (English, Reading, and Writing) and STEM (average of Math and Science).
How many questions are on the ACT test?
English — 75
Reading — 40
Math — 60
Science — 40
You've been studying for years. (You're near graduation!) And all of it comes down to a total of 215 questions, half Math and Science, half English and Reading. Our ACT prep courses review these subject areas, and our ACT prep tutors focus on the specific topics the test covers.
How long is the ACT test?
English — 45 min.
Reading — 35 min.
Math — 60 min.
Science — 35 min.
You have 215 questions over 175 minutes — an average of only 45 seconds to answer each one. Our private ACT tutors teach you how to take a timed, standardized test to get the most out of every minute. Plus we'll show you ways to reduce anxiety to keep your mind calm and clear.
When should I start ACT test prep?
Right now! The more time our ACT prep tutors have to work with you, the more subject review and test-taking practice you have before the test.
In our experience, our students benefit most from ACT tutoring with a few hours each week for a few months before exam day. That gives you time to review all four subject areas in depth, learn test-taking techniques, and take a few practice tests so you have more command of the material and less anxiety about the actual exam.
Contact us now to set up your ACT test prep classes
ACT Frequently Asked Questions
For anyone interested in getting into a college or university, it is important to fully understand the ACT. While many students are faced with the choice between taking either the ACT, SAT or both, the ACT is a good option for students interested in pursuing math and science degrees at most major colleges. Below, the exam experts at Hawk Educational Solutions answer ACT frequently asked questions.
- What is the Best ACT Prep Course in San Diego?The best ACT prep course in San Diego can be found at Hawk Educational Solutions. We specialize in getting students ready to maximize their potential on the test and get into the college of their dreams. Our ACT test prep methodology has proven results, with students showing significant gains of up to 300 points on their test scores. To learn more about Hawk Educational Solutions ACT test prep, contact us today by calling (619) 300-7231.
- Where to Take the ACT Test in San Diego?There are currently five locations to take the ACT test in San Diego. Students can take the test at Rancho Bernardo High School, San Diego High School, San Diego Jewish Academy, San Ysidro High, or Southwest High School. For more information, you can search for a test center location on the ACT website.
- Can You Take the ACT Test Online?Some students are allowed to take the ACT test online. For example, all students taking the ACT abroad will take the test online. There are also specific test centers that offer the online version of the ACT test.
- What is the ACT Online Prep?ACT online prep allows students to prepare for the ACT from the comfort of their home or location convenient to them. Instead of having to go to a location at a specific time once a week for test prep courses, ACT online prep gives students flexibility in terms of where they work on acing the ACT.
- What’s the Difference Between the ACT and SAT?There are a few primary differences between the ACT and SAT. These differences are listed below:
- The SAT reading focuses more on identifying accurate evidence than the ACT
- The ACT tests higher levels of Math and Science than the SAT
- The ACT is close to an hour shorter. The ACT is two hours and 55 minutes long, while the SAT is three hours and 45 minutes long.
- The ACT is much more straightforward. The SAT tends to focus on logic and reasoning, making it more tricky and difficult to understand at times.
- The SAT is scored on a scale from 600 to 2400 (with the optional essay), while the ACT is scored with a composite score of one to 36.
- How Much is the ACT Test 2020?The ACT costs $52 to take the standard test. If students want to also take the optional writing test, the ACT will cost $68. For students experiencing financial hardship, there is a fee-waiver program to help your family pay for the test.
- What Are the ACT Test Dates for 2020?At this point, the ACT has only released four test dates in 2020. More dates should be released as the year goes on. The only current ACT test dates in 2020 are:
- February 8, 2020
- April 4, 2020
- June 13, 2020
- July 18, 2020
- How to Pass the ACT Test?The best way to score high on the ACT test is to plan ahead. As stated above, develop a study schedule as soon as you register for the test so that you have adequate time to prepare. You should also immediately take a practice test, allowing you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to spend extra time on areas that require improvement. Finally, you need to learn ACT test-taking strategies to give you an advantage going into the test. All of these methods to earn a high score on the ACT test are addressed in Hawk Educational Solutions ACT Prep courses.
- How Many Hours a Day Should You Study for the ACT?The amount of time you will need to invest in studying for the ACT will vary from person to person. In general, you should try to invest an hour or more a day of studying with ACT practice test materials. Students should create a study schedule as soon as they register for the test, as the ACT is not a test you can “cram” for.
- How Do You Prepare for the ACT Test?The best way to prepare for the ACT test is to practice. The key to success is becoming familiar with the test format, structure, and content so that the day of the exam you are prepared and ready to excel. Students should be taking ACT practice tests, as well as enrolling in courses or classes that can teach them ACT test-taking strategies.
- Is the ACT Test Hard?While the content of the ACT is fairly straightforward, the test is quite difficult because of the circumstances in which students take the test. The test has strict time constraints, meaning that students do not have the time needed to think long and hard about each question. The test is also quite lengthy, making it an endurance exercise. Finally, the amount of pressure students feel to get a great score on the ACT test can make it that much more difficult. With that being said, many students, with proper preparation, can succeed on the ACT.
- How to Study for the SAT?The best way to study for the SAT is to enroll in an SAT Test Preparation course. These courses will provide you with practice tests, tips, and other skills you need to ace the SAT. Hawk Educational Solutions offers SAT help in San Diego, so if you are in the San Diego area and want to get an awesome score on the SAT, contact us today by calling (619) 300-7231.
- What is the difference between the SAT and the ACT?Although most colleges accept the SAT and ACT equally as admission criteria, there are subtle differences between the two:
- The SAT gives more time per question
- The ACT Math Test is complete calculator friendly
- The ACT includes a Science section
- Math concepts slightly different (more geometry and trig on the ACT)
- The SAT gives a reference table of geometry formulas (no need to memorize)
- Greater emphasis on Math with the SAT (ACT weighs it as one-quarter of the score, versus the SAT, which is one-half)
- No grid-in questions with the ACT Math test, only multiple choice
- No evidence-support reading questions on the ACT
- Essay content differs (more personal opinion allowed with ACT)
- What is the PSAT?The PSAT, also known as the Preliminary SAT and NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), is also administered by the College Board and is given to high school sophomores and juniors. With Math and Verbal sections, it’s similar to the SAT and offers a glimpse into how students are likely to fare later on the SAT. However, the primary purpose of the PSAT is to determine which students are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which provides financial support for top performers.
- How far in advance does my child need to prepare for the SAT?We recommend SAT coaching begin at least several months prior to the test. The sooner your child can start preparation, the more relaxed they can be about going over weak spots with the material, taking practice tests, and trying out test-taking tips. Our goal at Hawk Educational Services isn’t just to have students score highly on the exam but to make them feel confident and comfortable about it as well.
- Is preparation for the SAT really necessary?While the SAT used to be more of an aptitude test, it is now designed to align with US high school core curriculum in math and English, which means it tests students on actual material, such as knowing how to solve certain types of mathematical equations and what various vocabulary words mean in context. Since the SAT does not test strictly for aptitude, students can prepare for it by studying the material tested. The College Board, which administers the SAT test, readily acknowledges that preparing for the test can increase students’ scores. Hawk Educational Services also helps scholars prepare for the test by teaching them test-taking strategies and helping them deal with test anxiety, all of which makes students less apprehensive and more likely to perform at their best.
- How Many Questions Are on the SAT?The test has a total of 154 questions, not including the essay prompt. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section has 52 questions, Writing and Language has 44 questions, Math without a calculator is 20 questions, and Math with a calculator is 38 questions.
- What Calculators Are Allowed on the SAT?Certain parts of the SAT Math section allows for the use of a calculator. Most graphing calculators, scientific calculators, and all four-function calculators are allowed during the test. If you are unsure if your calculator is allowed on the SAT, ask an expert at Hawk Educational Solutions.
- When Do SAT Scores Come Out?Students can usually find their SAT scores online 13 days after taking the test. If you choose to write an essay, an additional two days will be needed for grading.
- How Long is the SAT?The SAT is a three-hour test if you choose not to complete the optional essay portion, and three hours and 50 minutes if you do write an essay.
- How is the SAT Scored?As stated above, the SAT has two sections, English and Math, both of which are scored separately. The maximum score for each section is 800. This number is calculated based on the number of questions the test taker gets correct, and then that score is “equated” to take into account the difficulty of the test. That way, students who took a more difficult version of the test will not be unfairly penalized.
- What is a Perfect SAT Score?A perfect score on the SAT is 1600. The test has two sections, English and Math, and each is worth 800 points. If you get an 800 in both, you will get a perfect 1600 SAT score.
- What is an Average SAT Score?According to the College Board’s 2019 report, the 2019 national average for the SAT was 1059. Therefore, anyone who scored a 1060 or higher in 2019 should consider their score a good score. However, for many universities, higher scores are required. While achieving a score above the national average is a good start, there may be more preparation needed to meet the requirements of top tier universities.
- What is a Good SAT Score?A “good” SAT score is dependent on a student’s individual goals and where they want to further their education. A good SAT score depends on each university’s average freshman SAT scores for the prior academic year. For instance, if the typical University of California at San Diego (UCSD) freshman who was accepted in the fall of 2018 scored between a 1320 and 1510, then a 1320 or higher for 2019 applicants may be considered a good or qualifying score at UCSD. A competitive score will likely be 1430 or higher. On a national level, if a student scores above the national average, a student’s score can be considered a good score when the score is compared to those of other high school students around the country.
- What Does SAT Stand for?SAT stands for “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” as it is a test of a student’s suitability and natural ability (aptitude) in schooling and education (scholastic).
- What is the SAT?The SAT is an exam that is used by universities and colleges to help determine if an applicant will be granted entrance into the school. The test attempts to determine if high school students are ready to thrive in a college environment, giving those tasked with college admission decisions a common test to compare students’ aptitude and academic skills. The test is a multiple-choice exam, asking students to answer questions related to Math, Reading, and Writing.