A Quick Glance though the ACT Exam

ACT Exam

ACT EXAM Overview

The American College Testing (ACT) is an exam that allows students to pursue Undergraduate courses in the USA. Though Canada also asks for ACT scores, the exam is more prevalent in the USA. All students of grade 12 can take the test. The minimum score required to get admission is determined by the university you are applying to. The 2-hour 55 minutes long test analyses your Reading, Mathematics, Science and English skills. There is also an optional Writing section. The test fee can come up to USD 63 (INR 6754). If you wish to know more about the test, the recent updates, eligibility requirements etc., you can read further.

What is the ACT Exam?

The ACT is one of the USA's most popular college admission tests. ACT Inc., a non-profit organization, conducts it. It is estimated that two million students take the test every year. All 4-year universities and colleges in the USA accept the ACT score. Moreover, all the 225 colleges in the country accept it as well. Some famous universities like the University of Illinois, Oregon State University, Auburn University, Washington State University, University of Massachusetts, New Jersey Institute of Technology etc., have made the ACT score optional. Similarly, the Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology etc., have made it mandatory for students to have the ACT score for 2023 admissions. 

Need help taking the ACT Exam? Contact AECC today for further assistance!

Latest Updates On ACT Exam 2023 - 24

There are a few things you need to know about ACT before you move forward with your 2023/2024 application. The latest news is listed below:

  • ACT requirement waived off by universities: ACT will not be required for admissions at Harvard University till the Winter 2026 semester. Those who have taken the test can submit their scores, but it will no longer be a requirement. Simultaneously, the University of California announced on 14 May 2021 that ACT/SAT scores will no longer be a requirement for admission and scholarship. The same will apply from Fall 2021 to Spring 2025 admissions.
  • ACT made optional by 1500 US colleges: A lawsuit was filed against ACT/SAT tests in 2023 that are discriminatory and biased on race, wealth etc. Following this, almost two-thirds of the institutions in the USA have made ACT/SAT optionally. These include the University of California, Virginia, CalTech, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Carnegie Mellon etc.
  • MIT reestablishes ACT/SAT scores: ACT/SAT scores will be mandatory for students to take admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from Fall 2023.

ACT Exam 2023 Highlights

A few highlights of the ACT exam 2023 are given below. You can have a quick look at the table to know more.

Name of the exam

American College Testing (ACT)

Conducted by

ACT Inc.


2 hours 55 minutes (+ 40 minutes optional Writing section)

Exam Level


Negative marking



Reading, English, Science, Mathematics (+ optional Writing)

Total number of questions

225 + 1 optional essay

Structure of exam

4 sections + 1 optional essay

Exam fee

USD 68 - With Writing section

USD 52 - Without Writing section


No validity

Mode of exam

Paper-based & Computer-based

Why Is The ACT Exam Taken?

Thousands of students in the country take the ACT exam to study in the USA. A few reasons for this are listed below.
  • It gives the universities a basis on which they can analyse the merit of a student apart from the Letter of Recommendation (LOR), Statement of Purpose (SOP), GPA etc. 
  • The test score is accepted by several colleges and universities in the USA and across the globe.
  • It helps those students who want to pursue STEM to stand out from the crowd.
  • ACT tests how ready the student is for the course abroad, as it is a curriculum-based test.
  • As there is no negative marking and the score is based on the number of correct answers, students can mark answers even for those they are unsure.
  • Apart from the composite scores, there are individual subject scores as well. This helps to understand how proficient the student is in all the subjects.
  • The exam may be easy to pass as the syllabus includes the topics that are a part of the school syllabus.
  • Submission of ACT scores increases the chances of getting scholarships.
  • ACT has a profile and education or career planning which can help students after their studies.

ACT Exam Eligibility For 2023-24

There is no specific eligibility requirement to appear for the ACT exam. All high school students who are above 13 years of age can take the test. However, you must have a valid passport and an international credit/debit card to register for the exam. The eligibility criteria for the 2023-24 academic year are listed below.

  1. Though there is no age or academic criteria, you should meet the course-wise criteria set by the respective universities.
  2. You should attend the test at least two months before the university application date. It takes two to eight weeks for the results to be published.
  3. You should be at least 13 years old or should have completed your high school.
  4. You should have a valid international passport.
  5. You should have an international debit/credit card.
  6. Students below 13 years of age should go with the paper-based test by abiding by the internet privacy laws.
  7. Those below 13 years of age should contact the ACT customer service to complete the registration process as they cannot create the MyACT Account.
Other English Proficiency Exams Eligibility Criteria:

Who Can Take The ACT Exam?

The ACT exam is usually taken by those students who wish to pursue their Undergraduate studies in the USA. It is accepted by several universities and colleges in the country. There are scholarship opportunities available for those who cleared the test. ACT acts as a base on which the colleges/universities assess a student's academic merit. As several countries follow several syllabi and curricula, it will be difficult for US universities to determine how fit the student is for the seat. This test helps them determine the same. There is no particular eligibility to be met for taking the test. Students in grades 6 to 9 can also attend the test. Students under 13 years of age should take the test with customer service help. There is no maximum age limit either.

Need help taking the ACT Exam? Contact AECC today for further assistance!

ACT Photo Requirements

You must upload your photo at the time of registration for the ACT. There are some requirements for the same, and they are as follows.
  • The photo should have only you in it.
  • The image should not be blurry, grainy or hazy.
  • Only JPG, PNG, JPEG, and BMP formats are allowed.
  • The maximum size is 5MB.
  • You should not wear dark glasses in the photo.
  • The photo needs to be 640*480 pixels.
  • The photo should be in portrait mode.
  • The photo should have your head and shoulders squarely facing the camera.
  • There should be no emojis, filters or lenses in the photo.
  • The face should be looking at the camera.

ACT 2023-24 Exam Dates For Indian Students

The ACT exam will be conducted throughout the year, and you can apply it whenever you can, considering your admission. The following table gives you the 2023-24 test dates.

Test Date

Registration Deadline

Late Registration Deadline

11 Feb 2023

6 Jan 2023

20 Jan 2023

15 Apr 2023

10 Mar 2023

24 Mar 2023

10 Jun 2023

5 May 2023

19 May 2023

15 Jul 2023

16 Jun 2023

23 Jun 2023

ACT Registration

You can register for the ACT exam both online and offline, though online is more preferred. The registration deadline will usually be five weeks before the test date. The registration details are given below.

Need help taking the ACT Exam? Contact AECC today for further assistance!

ACT Online Registration

  • Get all the academic documents, contact details etc.
  • Go to the ACT official website from a laptop/desktop. It is better not to do it from your mobile phone.
  • Create an account on the ACT official website.
  • Click on the Register symbol.
  • Provide all details and complete the section.
  • Select your test date from the test dates and the option (with or without writing).
  • Select up to four colleges/universities.
  • Select the ACT test centre.
  • Pay the test fee.
  • Upload your photo.

ACT Offline Registration

  • Request a mail packet from the website.
  • Fill in the details, and choose the test date and centre.
  • Mail the registration form, which will be delivered within 7-10 days.

ACT Test Cancellation

It is better not to cancel the test if you registered because you will not receive a refund for the same. As such, rescheduling the test is a better option. However, if the official body cancels the test, you will receive an update on the same later. You must contact ACT Student Services to book the slot again if you want to cancel the test

ACT Late Registration

If you somehow missed the registration deadline for the ACT exam, you need not worry. You still have the option for late registration though you will have to pay extra fees for the same. The late registration period will typically last 14 days after the regular registration closing date. You can also know the specific dates from the table above. The late registration fee can come to around USD 36 in addition to the standard registration fee. The process for it is the same as that of regular registration.

ACT Fee Payment Method

The ACT exam fee comes around INR 4835 without the Writing section and INR 6754 with the Writing section. There will be an additional fee of INR 2716 for late registration. You can make payments via credit and debit cards. You can also opt for an online fund transfer.

ACT Exam Fees

There are several types of fees for your ACT exam. They include late registration fees, waitlist fees, change fees etc. The following table contains a list of the fees, their purpose and the amount.




Registration fee

The basic fee for the ACT exam

USD 150 

Registration fee (with writing)

The writing fee of USD 16.50 is included separately

USD 166.50

International fees

Indian students should pay it as they write the test outside the US

USD 51

Late fee

Applicable if you apply after the deadline but before the final registration date

USD 35

Waitlist fee

Applicable if you register after the late registration deadline

USD 51

Change fee

Applicable if you change the test type, centre or date

USD 35

Question and AnswersTest Information Release (TIR) fee

If you want the questions & answers sent to you after the test

USD 20

ACT Admit Card

The ACT admit card will have all the information like your name, date of birth, roll number, category etc. It will be available on the official website, and you can download and take a printout of the same. You should thoroughly review the admit card and ensure that there are no errors in the same. 

ACT Test Centres

The ACT exam will be conducted in several cities in India. The list of the cities is given below. You should remember that there are multiple centres in these cities.

ACT Exam Pattern

The ACT exam contains four sections and one optional section. They have several sub-sections within them. The table below helps you get a better understanding of the ACT exam pattern.






Usage/Mechanics, Grammar & usage, Punctuation, Sentence structure, Rhetorical skills, Strategy, Organisation, Style.


45 minutes


Elementary Algebra, Pre-algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Coordinate geometry, Plane geometry, trigonometry


60 minutes


4 passages from sections like Natural Science, Fiction, Social Studies & Humanities


35 minutes


Research summaries, Conflicting viewpoints, Data representation like graphs & tables


35 minutes

Writing (optional)

1 writing prompt


40 minutes


4 sections (1 optional)

225+1 (optional)

2 hour 55 minutes+40 minutes (optional)


ACT Exam Slot Booking

The ACT exam dates will be released on their official website every year from where students can register and choose their test dates and centres. This process of selecting the dates, place etc., is called slot booking. It is very crucial because the slots are offered on a first-come-first-served basis. The test is conducted in several cities in India, and the exam is conducted multiple times a year. You need to apply before the deadline; otherwise, you will have to pay an extra fee.

ACT Cutoff: Top Universities

ACT cutoff is the minimum score you should obtain to get admission to some top colleges/universities in the USA, Europe or Canada. The maximum ACT band score is 36, and this varies for each exam. The final score is calculated by taking the average of all four sections. The composite average score is calculated by taking the sum of all individual scores and subtracting the average from it. The following table shows you the good scores for each section separately. 

ACT Sections

Cutoffs 2022











If you wish to know about the cutoffs accepted by universities, you can get the same from the table below. This will give you an idea of how to prepare for your test if you have a particular university in your mind.


ACT Cutoff

California Institute of Technology


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Carnegie Mellon University


Brown University


Dartmouth College


Columbia University


Harvard University


John Hopkins University


Princeton University


Stanford University


Northwestern University


Cornell University


Emory University


University of Notre Dame


University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor


Georgia Tech


Tufts University


Georgetown University


University of Pennsylvania


Haverford College


University of California - San Diego


Carleton University


University of Southern California


University of Texas (Austin)


University of Virginia


University of Wisconsin (Madison)


University of Bristol


University of British Vancouver

25 and 10 in writing

University of Tulsa


McGill University


New York University


Oklahoma State University


University of Miami


ACT vs SAT: Which is better for Indian Students?

SAT is another exam students have to undertake to get admission in the USA for an Undergraduate course. Students are often confused about which exam to opt for. However, there are similarities and differences; the table below will help you understand more about the two tests.




Test content

Reading, Writing & Language, Maths (with & without a calculator), Essay (Optional)

English, Maths, Reading, Science, Writing (optional)


3 hours + 50 minutes essay (optional)

2 hours 55 minutes + 40 minutes essay (optional)

Score range



Number of questions

154 without essay

215 without essay


Admission & SAT Scholarships

Admission & ACT Scholarships

Negative marking



Exam fees

USD 49.50 without essay

USD 64.50 with essay

USD 63 without essay

USD 88 with essay

ACT Exam 2023 Acceptance

ACT is a standardised test accepted in several countries like the USA and Canada. As such, it is essential to prepare well and score good marks. Indian students must select the list of colleges/universities they want to send their scores to at the time of registration itself. Once the result is released, these scores will be directly sent to the universities/colleges. The ACT score is utilised by colleges, universities, scholarship agencies, and placement offices. A few points to consider before sending your scores to institutions are:

  • Check the college and university eligibility criteria before sending your scores.
  • If you have taken the test multiple times a year, you can choose to send which score.
  • The scores will be sent only after both the results of the MCQ section and the Writing section are out.
  • Keep your preferred coursework, location etc., in mind before applying.
  • You are not shortlisted based on your ACT scores alone. Universities consider your Letter of Recommendation (LOR), academic performance, overall behaviour etc., before making the final decision.

ACT Exam 2023 Scholarships

Your ACT scores can not only help you get admission to some top universities and colleges; they can also give you scholarships. The higher your score, the more your chance of getting a merit scholarship.

From the table below, you can get a list of the scholarships offered based on ACT scores and the award amount.

Name of Scholarships

ACT Score Required


Pacific Gas and Electric Company Asian ERG Scholarship


USD 2000

MSLP Governor’s Best and Brightest Scholarship


Variable amount

Deana’s Wish Memorial Scholarship


USD 2000

Matt Logies Memorial Scholarship


USD 5000

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship


USD 30,000

Lloyd M. Fujie Scholarship for Accounting Major Students


USD 2500

FAQs About the ACT Exam

You can change your test centre, date etc. However, you will have to pay an additional fee of USD 30. You can do the same online by taking your ACT account and editing it.

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