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Suniti's Advice Corner

Frequently Asked PreACT Questions (FAQ)

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Jul 17, 2017


Everyone’s heard about the PSAT. What you might be less familiar with is the PreACT, or the preliminary ACT. The PreACT just came out last year. If you’ve got questions, this is the place to be. Below is a guide to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the PreACT.

While reading this FAQ, it is a good idea to open our ACT FAQ in order to track the differences and similarities.

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What is the PreACT?

Similar to the PSAT, the PreACT provides college and career readiness information to students before they take the actual ACT.

Who can take it?

It’s is available to 10th graders through schools that are offering the exam.

Understanding PreACT Scores?

Just like the ACT, it is scored from 1 to 36. For each of the four required sections, you get a raw score, which is the number of questions you get right. Your final score, known as the composite score, is the average of your four raw scores.

Understand compose scoring read our test terminology post

How long is it?

The PreACT is 1 hour and 55 minutes long. That’s nearly half the length of the ACT.

What is on it?

The PreACT covers English, math, reading, and science. There is no writing section. The test consists of questions from old ACT exams, so the PreACT is a good indicator of the difficulty of the ACT.

TABLE: PreACT Sections


Topics Covered


Punctuation, usage, sentence structure and formation, topic development, organization, unity, cohesion, knowledge of language


Pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, coordinate geometry


Main idea of a passage, author’s purpose, tone, meaning of words in context


Scientific reasoning on biology, Earth and space sciences, chemistry, and physics


When do I take it and when are test dates?

You can take the PreACT in 10th grade. Some schools administer it, and different schools offer the test at different times between September and June. If you’re interested in taking it, talk to your guidance counselor about the test date and procedures. If your school is not offering the test, your counselor can help you find a nearby school that is.

How much does it cost.

It’s $12 to take the exam. Some schools will cover the cost. In other cases, it is your responsibility. Check with your counselor about payment procedures for the PreACT at your school.

Why should I take it?

First of all, the PreACT is a good indicator of how you would do on the ACT, and is a great way to prepare for the ACT. Secondly, students who take the PreACT can opt in for free to Educational Opportunity Services (EOS), which makes your data available to over 1500 colleges and financial aid and scholarship groups.

TABLE: What are the differences between the PSAT and the PreACT?







Time of Administration

October or November

Anytime throughout the year as decided by schools

Scholarship Competition

National Merit Scholarship

No associated scholarship

Time to Results

6 weeks

2 weeks


Should I take the PSAT or the PreACT?

If you want to take the SAT, you should definitely take the PSAT, and if you want to take the ACT, you should definitely take the PreACT. It is a good idea to take both so you can see where you are stronger. You could also make your decision based on which test(s) your school offers. Keep in mind that if you do not take the PSAT, then you are not eligible for the National Merit Scholarship.

Take our quick survey to find out which test you should take to be sure you're taking the right test for the greatest success. 

SAT or ACT Survey

Should I prepare for the PreACT?

Definitely. There is no benefit from not studying, and preparing ahead of time helps you put your best foot forward and feel less anxious. Additionally, as stated above the PreACT gives you the ability to opt into the EOS, which could lead into scholarships and boost college recruiting. So be prepared to impress before you’re even applying to colleges. Keep in mind, the PreACT is not something to stress about. Just do your best.

For more information about the PreACT see this post. 

Infromation on college entrance exams are often changing. For the most up to date PreACT info see the ACT website.

To start preparing, check out TestRocker—a fun and interactive test prep program that will help you rock the PreACT, PSAT, SAT or ACT!

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, act, International Students, preact

About Suniti

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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream PSAT, SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching thousands of students how to maximize their PSAT, SAT and ACT scores for over a decade.

TestRocker is an award-winning PSAT/SAT/ACT program that empowers students to take control of their test preparation. After taking a diagnostic test, students receive a customized study plan, individualized to their strengths/weaknesses. Students practice and learn concepts through videos. Each of the 2000+ questions on TestRocker is accompanied by a video explanation from Suniti. TestRocker has the largest video library in the world for PSAT/SAT/ACT preparation. 

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