Southern Utah University Blog

What is the ACT and When Should Students Take It?

Posted: February 17, 2016 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 2 minutes

Student studying

What is the ACT?

The ACT- American College Testing Program is an entrance exam used by Southern Utah University, and other colleges, to make admissions decisions. The purpose of the test is to provide colleges with one common criterion that can be used to compare all applicants.

The test covers English, mathematics, social studies, and natural sciences. Southern Utah University, requires students to take this test or the SAT and submit their test scores when they apply for admission.

How is the ACT scored?

The ACT score provides a score from 1-36 on each test (English, Math, Reading and Science) and a composite ACT score, which is an average of these four tests. Usually, when people ask about your score, they're referring to your composite ACT score. The composite score falls between 1 and 36. The national average is about 21, the average at Southern Utah University is 24.

If, for example, you scored 31 on the English, 30 on the Math, 29 on the Reading and 30 on the Science, your composite ACT score would be 30.

You'll receive subscores in English, Math and Reading that range between 1 and 18. These scores provide you with more detail about your performance, but they are not actually used by colleges or universities.

The ACT includes an optional essay, known as the writing test. If you take the writing test, you will receive a writing test subscore and a combined English/writing score. Visit for detailed information about how your ACT writing test will be scored.

When should I take the ACT?

Students take the ACT in the spring of their junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of their senior year. This is encouraged so scores can be ready for all Southern Utah University scholarship deadlines your senior year. Some students are choosing to take their first ACT earlier, such as during the fall of their junior year. This gives them more flexibility to retake the ACT test one or more times.

Make sure to pick up a registration packet from your high school’s counseling office.

Tags: High School

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