ACT Guide for Parents
ACT Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ACT?
The ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions in accepting students into their universities.
How is the ACT scored?
The ACT contains four sections: English, Reading, Math and Science. These 4 sections are scored from 1 (lowest) to 36 (highest) on each section. The total score is an average of each of these sections. Additionally, there is an optional 40-minute writing portion. Some schools require the writing test while others do not. Please review the school’s admissions information for further information about the writing test.
When should I take the ACT?

The ACT is typically taken in the spring of the student’s junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of their senior year. The test dates and registration dates for the 2023-2024 ACT are as follows:

Test Dates Registration Dates
April 13, 2024 March 8, 2024
June 8, 2024 May 3, 2024
July 13, 2024 June 7, 2024
How many times can I take the ACT?
A student is allowed to take the ACT up to 12 times. Retaking the exam will allow the student to potentially achieve a higher score if they tested low on a previous exam. Most universities will accept the highest score a student achieves for their application process.
Can I use a calculator?
Students are allowed to use a calculator, but must follow The ACT Calculator Policy (effective September 1, 2014).

The following Calculators are prohibited:

Texas Instruments:

  • All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92
  • TI-Nspire CAS
  • Note: The TI-Nspire (non-CAS) is permitted


  • HP Prime
  • HP 48 GII
  • All model numbers that begin with HP40G, HP49G, or HP50G


  • Fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400)
  • ClassPad 300
  • ClassPad 330
  • Algebra fx 2.0
  • All model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G
  • Handheld, tablet, or laptop computers, including PDAs
  • Electronic writing pads or pen-input devices
How many questions are on each section?
English 75 questions 45 minutes
Mathmatics 60 questions 60 minutes
Reading 40 questions 35 minutes
Optional Writing 1 prompt 40 minutes