Ten questions that one always wanted to ask about ACT


1. What is ACT anyway?

Back in the days ACT was an acronym for American College Testing. But not anymore. Now it is just ACT, and acts as the gatekeeper between the students seeking college admission and the colleges/universities. ACT(R) is a registered trademark of ACT(R), Inc.

2. What is the structure of ACT exam?

3. How long is the ACT exam?

The ACT exam is 2 h 55 min long, 215 questions, in four subjects. The optional single essay section adds additional 40 minutes to complete. This test is intimidating to most people who are clueless about preparing for it. 



No. of questions

Time Limit

No. of choices

MCQ* choices

Time per Q




45 min.


A,B,C,D or

36 sec.




60 min.


A,B,C,D,E  or

1 min.




35 min.


A,B,C,D or

52 sec.




35 min.


A,B,C,D or

52 sec.


Writing (Optional)


40 min.

Total MCQ


2 h 55 min.

Total test time for MCQ

MCQ plus
optional essay


3 h 55 min.

Total test time with MCQ + essay

*MCQ - Multiple Choice Questions;                         #Q - Questions

4. How long should you study for the ACT exam?

The amount of quality preparation time you put-in directly reflects the final score. Typically, 120 hours of preparation time have demonstrated to improve the scores by 3-8 points. If you want to score above 95th percentile, then you need to have completed honor level courses in English, Science, Math (Precal/Trig and above) and social studies, and practice more than 300 hours of intensive preparation.

5. When should I plan to take the ACT?

Ideally you should take the test during the spring semester of the junior year in the high school. If you aim to apply for early decision, then you must have the scores ready by July before the senior year.

6. When should I start preparing for the ACT exam?

Historically, ACT exam is offered in the months of February, April, June, July, September, October and December. If you are prepared to dedicate two to three hours for test preparation every day of the week and your goal is to get above 34 (out of 36), then you must put in at least ten weeks of intensive preparation. The more quality hours you put in the better your scores will be.

Additionally, Full Potential Learning Academy  provide Expert online ​ACT tutors​ in Miami  to help students improve their scores and identify their ACT strengths and weaknesses.

7. Define quality intensive preparation.

No distraction from cell phone, television, loud distracting music and internet. If you are using any online based test preparation programs, do not get distracted and browse unrelated websites.

Background music – If you are accustomed to background sound for your studies, watch out. The test administration policies do not allow background music in the exam hall. Consequently, you may not be allowed to use earphones. You need to suffer in silence 🙁

8. What if my house does not provide a distraction free environment?

If you cannot take these tests in a distraction free environment, take the help of test preparation centers that provide near official test taking conditions.

There are several test preparations centers that provide a distraction free environment as per the guidelines set forth by the ACT(R), Inc. These centers may charge a fee to use their facilities. Some centers may provide a more detailed test analysis as well.

9. Which book is the best to prepare for the test?

Several companies publish test preparation books. Each of these books train you for the same test, but the presentation style differs. Therefore, it is advisable to browse several of these guidebooks and select the one or several that suits your learning style. Alternately, you may enlist the help of test preparation companies.

10. Can you really study for the ACT exam?

It is really a good question. Many are surprised to learn that all the standardized tests such as ACT, SAT, PERT etc. assess the knowledge gained over the years beginning from the elementary school. Therefore, subject matter proficiency is the basis to earn the high scores in these exams. During the test preparation period.

  • Hone your skill to successfully recall and apply all the accumulated knowledge in less than three hours.
  • Learn test taking skills.
  • Repeatedly, it has been observed that the perfect scorers have subject matter proficiency and have mastered the test taking skills ?.

    ​FPLA ​act tutoring online will help you in improving your ACT score as we have trained and certified tutors.

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    About FPLA:

    FPLA is Miami’s premier tutoring center in reading, math, science, and test preparation programs. You can realize your dreams with the help of FPLA’s time-tested and dependable one-on-one tutoring both onsite and online. We tutor all subjects and grades.


    About The Author:

    Dr. Pochi is the director of Full Potential Learning Academy, Miami’s premier one-on-one tutoring center. He is a passionate educator and committed to serve undeserved communities. Formerly, Dr. Pochi was a research faculty at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, He is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded investigator whose peer-reviewed work has been published in many scientific journals. He discovered ‘Nayurvin’, a molecule with demonstrated anti-cancer properties. He wants to transform FPLA to a degree granting institution.

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