ACT Exam Information

What is the ACT Exam?

The ACT, originally an abbreviation of American College Testing, is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a nonprofit organization of the same name. The ACT test covers four academic skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. It also offers an optional direct writing test. It is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States as well as more than 225 universities outside of the U.S.

The main four ACT test sections are individually scored on a scale of 1–36, and a composite score (the rounded whole number average of the four sections) is provided.


Why is it important?

ACT says that the ACT assessment measures high school students' general educational development and their capability to complete college-level work. Specifically, ACT states that its scores provide an indicator of "college readiness", and that scores in each of the subtests correspond to skills in entry-level college courses. 


According to a research study conducted by ACT in 2003, there was a relationship between a student's ACT composite score and the probability of him or her earning a college degree. The majority of colleges do not indicate a preference for the SAT or ACT exams and accept both, being treated equally by most admissions officers.


When is the best time to take this exam?

The ACT is offered seven times a year in the United States in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July. The ACT is offered only on Saturdays.


The ACT is designed, administered, and scored so that there is no advantage to testing on one particular date.

Students with verifiable disabilities, including physical and learning disabilities, are eligible to take the test with accommodations. The standard time increase for students requiring additional time due to disabilities is 50%. 


Scores are sent to the student, his or her high school, and up to four colleges of the student's choice.

Where do I take the exam?

ACT has testing centers located throughout the San Diego area.

Click here to find out where in San Diego you can take the exam.



How much does it cost?

2020 ACT Exam Fees


How do I register?

You will need to create an online account

in order to register for an ACT exam.

Click here to set up your account.


How do I get a fee waiver?

Fee waiver information from ACT


Download the SDHS Fee Waiver Request Form


Important dates & deadlines!


Next Test date: June 13, 2020

Register by the May 8, 2020 deadline.

Upcoming ACT Exam Dates


Helpful resources!

ACT Prep Guide


ACT Website


San Diego High School CEEB Codes


ACT Testing Accommodations for students with disabilities.