Before we bombard you with extensive information about the ACT, we request you to ask yourself the following questions:
  • Are you a fast-thinker?
  • Do you love books but do not have an affinity for reading?
  • Is managing time well your innate character trait?
  • Can you deal with basic Science with ease?
  • Is your vocabulary rudimentary rather than advanced?
  • Do you find yourself struggling with Math problems?
If you found yourself answering a ‘NO’ to most of the questions, then we are afraid you might want to rethink about taking the ACT- maybe SAT would be a better bet for you.

Know all about the SAT here.

Still confused? An ACT vs. SAT diagnostic test can help you.



ACT, or the American College Testing, is a standardized test whose score is accepted by colleges or universities- including all of the Ivy League Schools- offering undergraduate programs conducted for college admission mostly in the US and Canada.

It is generally taken by 13+-year-old high school students who plan to study abroad for their undergraduate studies.

Fee: The ACT Online Registration fee with writing is $166.50 whereas if you plan to opt out of the ACT writing section, the fee is $150.

The ACT comprises of four sections- namely English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each of these sections is scaled to obtain a composite score out of 36. There is also an optional ACT writing(essay) section which is scored out of 12.Just FYI, an average ACT score for Indian students is 27/36.

Talking about the length of the test, the ACT is exactly 2 hours and 55 minutes (175 minutes) without essay or 3 hours and 35 minutes (215 minutes) if you take the optional essay.

Each section of the ACT is timed. Here is the breakup of the time allotted for the four sections:
  • ACT English -75 questions in 45 minutes
  • ACT Math- 60 questions in 60 minutes
  • BREAK for 10 minutes
  • ACT Reading- 40 questions in 35 minutes
  • ACT Science- 40 questions in 35 minutes
  • BREAK- 5 minutes
  • ACT Writing (Optional essay)- 40 minutes


What will you be tested on?

ACT comprises of four sections namely English, Math, Reading, Science and an optional Writing or the essay section. Let‘s understand each section in detail.

ACT English Section

75 questions in 45 minutes.

The ACT English Section consists of 5 passages with 15 questions each(15x5=75). The questions test you mainly on the usage of the English language and rhetorical skills.

A more detailed syllabus of the ACT English is shown below:

ACT English - Usage & Mechanics

  • Understanding Sentences and Fragments
  • Punctuating Clauses: Essential & Non - Essential
  • Understanding the usage of commas, apostrophes semicolons, dashes and colons.
Grammer + Usage
  • Verbs: Subject- Verb agreement
  • Pronouns: Agreement, Relative Pronouns + Cases
  • Adjectives + Adverbs
  • Word Pairs & Comparisons
  • Idioms
Sentence Structure
  • Modifiers
  • Transitions
  • Parallel Structure

ACT English - Rhetorical Skills

  • Relevance: inserting,replacing, or deleting info
  • Understanding the focus/goal/purpose of a passage
  • Transitions - Opening/Closing and transitional sentences
  • Sentences & paragraph ordering
  • Redundancy & Wordiness
  • Diction + Register

*These are approximate figures and have been curated observing the past trends.


60 minutes 60 questions

The ACT Math allows you to use the calculator throughout the section unlike in the SAT, where you get to use a calculator only in 1 of the two math sections.

ACT Math

Elementary Algebra
  • Expressing Relationships, Linear Equations, Simplification, Exponents and Polynomials, Quadratic Equation, Inequalities.
  • Number Properties,Word Problems, Fraction & Decimals,Ratio n Proportions, Counting Principles,Absolute Values, Statistics and Probability.
  • Logarithms,Complex, Numbers, Functions,System of Equations, Sequences.
Plane Geometry
  • Lines and Angles, Triangles, Properties of Polygons & Circles, 3D Gepmetry, Volumes of solid figures.
Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Number Lines,Graphing Inequalities, Midpoints, Distance & Area, Interpreting Graphs, Circle & Polynomial Equations, Conic Section.
  • Solving Triangles, Trigonometric Identities and graphs, Solving Trigonometric Equations and Trigonometric Functions.

Topic-Wise Weightage Of ACT Math


*These are approximate figures and have been curated observing the past trends.


35 minutes 40 questions

The ACT Reading section consists of 4 passages- Prose Fiction (Literary Narrative), Social Science, Humanities, and Natural Science- with 10 questions each. Following are the types of questions that are usually tested on the ACT Reading:

ACT Reading

Key Ideas & Details
  • Central Idea questions
  • Inference and detailbased questions
Craft & Structure
  • Vocab - in context
  • Function questions
  • Writer's view questions
Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
  • Analyzing author's argument
  • Evaluating Reasoning

*These are approximate figures and have been curated observing the past trends.


35 minutes 40 questions

The ACT Science section comprises of questions dealing with the following fields of science:

ACT - Science Topics

Life Science
  • Cel Biology, Genetics, Evolution, Microbiology, Botany and Zoology.
Physical Science
  • Properties of Matters, Acid/Bases, Reaction Kinetics, Thermodynamics, Organic Chemistry, Mechanics and Electromagnetism
Earth Science
  • Astronomy, Geology, Meteorology, Environmental Science, Oceanography

The ACT Science tests your basic analytical skills. You don‘t really need an in-depth knowledge of the science topics.

The questions covering these topics are asked in the form of passages. Following is the passage type of ACT science:

Data Representation: Scientific Articles containing Charts and Tables asking Data Interpretation questions

Research Summary: Description of Experimental procedures testing understanding of scientific method and experimental design

Conflicting Viewpoints: Two or more competing explanations of a scientific phenomenon asking Evaluation of Models, Inferences and Experimental Result questions


*These are approximate figures and have been curated observing the past trends..


The writing section, though optional, is an important element of the ACT. Many Indian students opt out of the essay owing to its optional nature; however, it is extremely advisable to take up the ACT Writing test as many universities and colleges abroad prefer the essay score with the ACT test score.

The ACT writing is an argumentative essay which requires the candidate to analyze a core issue by evaluating three given perspectives. The candidate is scored on the basis of the following four elements: Ideas and Analysis, Development and support, Organization, Language Use.

The essay is scored out of 12. A score of 8 and above is generally considered as a good score. However, the ACT essay score is not counted in your ACT composite score.

Overwhelming? Do not worry. It is not as horrendous as it appears. Once you get acquainted with the pattern of the test, it might be a cake walk!


When should you be taking the ACT?

The ACT is conducted five times in a year- usually in the months of June, September, October, December and February.

Following are the months when you should be targeting the first and second attempts of your ACT(ideal for Indian students).

  • If you are in Grade 10, you should take your ACT attempts between the months of October to December
  • If you are in Grade 11, you should take your ACT attempts between the months of July to October.
  • If you are in Grade 12, you should anyhow take your ACT attempts before the month of October.

Need an idea about the official ACT Test and registration dates? Visit


How can you prepare for the ACT?

The first key to ace the ACT, or any exam for that matter, is early- preparation. Although it is never too late to start, try to be as early a runner in the race as possible.

Ideally, the ACT requires a minimum of 3-4 months or 10 hours per week of extensive preparation.

A student should target taking the first ACT attempt after preparing for at least 3- 4 months.

Within these 4 months, a student should strive to cover all the topics according to the ACT syllabus and then take as many ACT mock tests as possible. (10 mock tests should be the minimum target).

Aspirants can opt for self- study or join a classroom coaching for the ACT. Having said that, preparing for the ACT requires immense practice, self- discipline, clear understanding of the various concepts and appropriate study resources.

ACT Prep Plan: Self Study

When you decide to study for any competitive test without any external help, it requires a little more effort. This is because, self-preparation needs to be backed by a strong sense of responsibility in terms of planning, gathering study materials, discipline, motivation and most importantly- a sense of competitiveness.

No need to get stressed, it is just an exam after all!

Here are a few study tips to help you kickstart your ACT prep:

  • Once you decide to take up the ACT, it is advisable to take a full-length ACT diagnostic test. The importance of taking a diagnostic test is often overlooked. A diagnostic test will help you gauge your level by clearly pointing out your strengths and weaknesses and ultimately help you draft an effective study plan.
  • Get hold of the study materials. The internet is an ocean of information; however, not every piece of information that you find is authentic and reliable. Choosing the best resources is an important step towards your ACT preparation.
  • Once you get a hang of the concepts, it is time for self-assessment. You can find online tests or join our mock test series to test your learning. A student should ideally take a minimum of 10 mock tests before appearing for the actual ACT.
  • On an average, a student should devote 10 hours per week for covering the ACT syllabus and should undergo two weeks of rigorous testing.
ACT Prep Plan- Classroom Coaching

Self-study is absolutely necessary, but a good coaching institute has its own advantages. A classroom coaching can enable a student to be trained under experienced mentors who have an in-depth knowledge of the subjects, can provide the best of resources and even can help you with the doubts. Moreover, a classroom program will help develop a sense of healthy competition which can, in turn, help you improve your performance. A classroom coaching has proved to be beneficial in 8 out of 10 cases.

The ACT classroom program at Tutela offers comprehensive coaching for the Act aspirants. Our students have scored as high as a 36 and as low as a 30 in the ACT.

  • Frequency: 4 classes a week; Class Duration: 2 hours each; Batch Size: Up to 6 students
  • Diagnostic Test to evaluate aptitude and test-taking skills before registration
  • A comprehensive set of study materials
  • Coverage of topics and contemporary methods to increase speed and accuracy
  • Intensive testing and strategy workshops before the actual test
  • Mock Tests followed by One-On-One exhaustive review and evaluation
  • Extended assistance after course-completion

Having said all this, there are certain factors which are common, rather an absolute necessity, for any student aspiring to ace the ACT: determination, hard work, persistence, self-discipline and dedication. Once these factors are taken care of, there is nothing that can probably go wrong.


Common misconceptions revolving around the ACT

SAT is a better option than the ACT in terms of college admissions

This a common perspective which bears no solid ground. For college admissions, SAT and ACT hold the same value. Both the SAT and the ACT are standardised tests and are internationally administered; hence, both are of equal importance.

Taking both the SAT and ACT will widen my admission options

Well! This is not entirely a flawed perspective. Students do take both the tests to increase the scope of getting into a good college. However, it is not recommended to take both these tests. One should check the admission criteria of the target universities/colleges to make sure that no such preference is established.

Furthermore, most colleges accept either ACT or SAT scores and have no preference in terms of the two tests. The ACT and SAT pattern are not entirely the same. Both require a different preparation strategy and skill set. Preparing for both can be intimidating and a difficult step. So why should you take both of these tests?

A smarter option would be to take up one of the two tests- deciding on the basis of the subject strengths, a skill set that better matches your strengths, and the testing pattern you are more comfortable with. Choosing one test out of the two can immensely ease the study burden and boost the chances of a high score.

SAT is more popular than the ACT

Both these tests are standardized and hence are equally significant. The ACT is comparatively new but is definitely a test everybody is taking!!

The Science Section on the ACT is tough and requires an in-depth knowledge of the subject

Wash this thought right away from your vulnerable mind. The ACT Science section is pretty basic and requires more of analytical skills than scientific knowledge. Once you understand the pattern, the ACT science can be one of the easiest sections of the test.

I can take the ACT as many times as I want

The ACT is conducted five times in a year. Colleges do not chastise or enforce any limitations on the number of ACT attempts you take. Having said that, it is recommended that you take a maximum of two to three attempts at getting the desired score.

If I get a good ACT score, my admission is confirmed.

A good ACT or SAT score is important for securing admission; however, a score cannot GUARANTEE your admission. There are various factors, other than the test score, like the profile, essays, academic credentials etc. which are equally important. Hence, the score is just one element of your application. Still confused about SAT vs. ACT? Know about the difference:


What is new on the ACT?

The ACT used to be a pen and paper-based test until September 2018.The ACT is going online. Know more about it visit

To know the ACT -SAT score range of your desired college and university. Visit

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