ACT tests are similar to, and in competition with, the SAT reasoning test. The ACT is more widely taken in the Mid West and Southern US, and the SAT on the East and West Coasts, but recently the ACT has become more common on the East Coast. ACT test results are accepted by colleges and universities in the US, but the weighting of ACT scores will vary in comparison to other factors including extracurricular activities and GPA. ACT test dates occur between four and six times per year (depends on the state). Tests are usually held on Saturdays.

There are many differences and inconsistencies between the standard of education obtained by students in secondary schools in different parts of the US. Other countries (e. G. In Europe) have a more centralized structure of national minimum curriculum standards, and national college level entrance tests.

This national system has not developed in the US because of the American Federal and local control systems, which lead to many local differences in schools' funding and curricula. There are also a large number of home schooled, and private and distance schooled pupils, seeking college entry in the US.

US colleges therefore have identified a need for nationally administered tests to compare students applying from different states, and from different school districts. The ACT (and the SAT) tests have performed that function for many years: the first ACT tests were in 1959. Historically the ACT tests have included Math, English, Science and Reading, but Writing has been added as an option in recent years.

Colleges can use ACT test scores to compare the ability of students from different parts of the US. ACT and SAT scores help the admissions staff to put data from individual schools (class rank, grades, course work) into a national perspective. Students should check with their chosen college or colleges about the precise ACT admissions requirements, and to understand the weighting of ACT score with other factors such as class rank, grades, course work and extra curricular work.


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