What is the PreACT?

The PreACT is mostly a practice version of the ACT, but it could help connect you with colleges and scholarships. The PreACT can be administered on any date between September 1 and June 1. Contact your school to find out if you’ll be taking the PreACT and when.

About the PreACT

The PreACT was designed to help you predict your score on the ACT after an additional year of learning. Your performance on the PreACT will help you make a plan for reaching your goal ACT score. You will most likely take the PreACT as a 10th grader. Unlike the ACT, the highest possible PreACT score is a 35.

How long is the PreACT?

The PreACT is often administered during the school day, in place of other classes. The test itself takes about 2.5 hours, including break time, and there is an additional 60 minutes of pretest activities.

What are the PreACT sections?

The test itself includes four timed sections:

  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science

TestNumber of QuestionsTime to CompleteScore RangeTopics
English4530 mins. 1-35Conventions of Standard English, Production of Writing, Knowledge of Language
Math3640 mins.1-35Integrating Essential Skills, Preparing for Higher Math (Number & Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Geometry, and Statistics & Probability), and Modeling
Reading2530 mins.1-35Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas; Passage genres: literary narrative, social science, humanities, natural science
Science3030 mins.1-35 Interpretation of Data, Scientific Investigation, and Evaluation of Models, Inferences, and Experimental Results

How is the PreACT scored?

The PreACT provides rapid reporting, providing score reports to schools within 5–10 days.
Each correct answer on the PreACT counts as one point toward your raw score. Remember, there’s no penalty for guessing on the PreACT, so only questions that were answered count. Next, your raw score will be converted to your scaled score. This scaled score will range from 1 to 35 for each Test: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Your composite score is the average of these scaled scores, so your composite score will range from 1 to 35. In addition to your scaled scores, you will receive 17 subscores.
You will also be shown a percentile rank indicating how well you did compared to other U.S. PreACT students. Ask your counselor for more information about percentiles or anything else on your PreACT score report.
Score TypeCategoryScore Range
Non-Scaled Test Score English1-35
Non-Scaled Test Score Math1-35
Non-Scaled Test Score Reading1-35
Non-Scaled Test Score Science1-35
Cross-Test ScoreSTEM1-35
SubscoreEnglish: Production of Writing, Knowledge of Language, Conventions of Standard English Percent correct
SubscoreMath: Preparing for Higher Math (Number & Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Geometry, Statistics & Probability), Integrating Essential Skills, Modeling Percent correct
SubscoreReading: Key Ideas & Details, Craft & Structure, Integration of Knowledge & Ideas, Understanding Complex Texts Percent correct
SubscoreScience: Interpretation of Data, Scientific Investigation, Evaluation of Models, Inferences, & Experimental Results Percent correct

ACT, the organization that administers the test, uses a process called “equating” to make sure the scores are scaled fairly and there’s no advantage for taking the PreACT on a particular day. This means that you can feel confident comparing your scores to someone who took the test on a different day than you. In addition, the correct answer choices are distributed in such a way that answer choices A–D or F–J are all equally likely. It’s only a myth that answer choice C (or H) is correct more often than the other choices.

The PreACT Score Report

You get to keep your PreACT test booklet, so you can review your performance in depth once you receive your PreACT score report.
Your PreACT score report includes information about your:

  • PreACT composite, Test, and reporting category scores
  • predicted ACT composite and Test score ranges
  • U.S. percentile rank
  • detailed PreACT results
  • high school course plans compared to core
  • education and career journey
  • interest-career fit

Student and school reports are typically available 1 to 3 weeks from the test date. Some schools may hand out and explain these score reports to students during the school day, while other schools may mail these score reports directly to parents. Either way, you should contact your counselor if you have any questions about your PreACT score report.
To get the most out of your results, enter your PreACT online by visiting www.act.org/academy. This online learning tool and test practice program will give you a personalized study plan based on your PreACT scores.
Before putting away your PreACT score report, make a plan for college admissions test prep. Do some research to find out more about average scores at the colleges you’re applying to by visiting their Undergraduate Admissions website. Compare your PreACT score to these average scores and think about how much time you might need to reach your goal score and get accepted to those schools. It’s common to spend 2 to 3 months preparing for the ACT or SAT, but most students take the test more than once and prep each time.  
Once you decide how long you will prep, think about how you want to prep. Some students are successful studying using only a book or a self-paced course, while other students need the intensive support provided by an ACT private tutor, especially if they don’t have a lot of time. Many students enjoy the motivation that comes from working with a live teacher. The right prep for you will depend greatly on your current PreACT score, your goal ACT or SAT score, the amount of time you have to prep, and your best learning environment. No matter how you prepare, the most important thing is being confident about reaching your goal score when it’s time to take your college admissions test.

What is a good PreACT score?

While the test maker provides College Readiness Indicators, your predicted ACT composite score range will help you figure out how much preparation you will need to reach your goal score in a year’s time. Similar to the question, “what’s a good ACT score?”, the final answer to this question will depend on your own college and scholarship goals.