About the ACT Test

Sources of Information for ACT

The ACT is taken by high school students, to qualify for college-level education especially in the United States and Canada. To prepare for the test, you must have complete insight into the details of the test. There are many sources from which one can learn more regarding the test, but one has to understand the basic structure and format of the test first.

Test Sections and Question Types:

The test has four compulsory sections and one optional or additional section. The four compulsory sections that have to be taken to complete the test are:

  1. English
  2. Reading
  3. Mathematics
  4. Science Reasoning

The optional section that may or may not be added to take the test is the Writing section.

A Few Details about Every Section:

1. The English Section:

  • This section consists of 75 multiple-choice questions that aim to assess how proficient the test-taker is in the skills related to English language structure, usage, punctuation etc.
  • In this section, students are provided with five comprehensions/passages that are followed by questions.
  • There is a process of systematic numbering of the questions as they are not arbitrarily picked up from any portion of the passages. The questions pertaining to a particular portion of the passage have a number which is the same as the one highlighted in that section of the passage. In some cases, the relevant portions of the passages are underlined for easy reference.
  • General questions that refer to the entire passage are given separately.
  • Not every question requires a corrective answer in the English section. Students can opt for the option for 'no changes' which is provided with the questions to denote that a particular part of the passage does not require any changes or answers as it is self-explanatory.

A good source of information regarding the English section is: http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/preparing.pdf.

2. The Reading Section:

  • The Reading section includes 40 questions that are directly or indirectly related to the given excerpts or passages. Students are expected to understand the literal, as well as the subtle meanings behind the given passages.
  • The subjects covered in the passages can range from Botany to Zoology, from Performing Arts to Vocational Arts, from Fiction to Physics, from Music to Technology etc.
  • Through this variety in the topics of the passages, students are assessed on their general as well as subjective knowledge.
  • To know more about the Reading section, visit the link: http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/preparing.pdf.

  • 3. The Mathematics Section:

    • This section of the test contains 60 multiple-choice questions that reflect the various aspects of Mathematics like algebra, trigonometry, geometry etc.
    • While most questions in this section are singular and unrelated to each other, some questions may be grouped as they pertain to the same set of data or illustration provided.

    Students should be well prepared with their mathematical formulae and equations before they answer this section. To know more about the Mathematics section, visit the link: http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/preparing.pdf.

    4. The Science Section:

    • This section of the test requires students to be well versed with scientific knowledge that is expected of any high-school graduate.
    • The areas covered under this section are; general and specific research papers, scientific theories and their inferences, scientific data analysis, reports of experiments etc. There are, in total, 7 categories of data that are provided for assessment and analysis in this section.
    • There are 40 multiple-choice questions which require students to opt for the answer that best explains the inferences, draws comparisons, analyses the arguments etc. The students have to give the correct answers based on the given passages of scientific data.

    This is a very to-the-point section and requires students to be confident about their stance regarding any scientific argument. Students can learn more from this link: http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/preparing.pdf.

    The Writing Section:

    • This is an optional section of the ACT test.
    • This section can also be called the essay-writing section because students are expected to write an essay in this section.
    • The topic of the essay is presented in the form of an argument for which two points of view are expressed. Students have to choose a point of view, and in an illustrative manner, write an essay justifying their stance.
    • Students can also illustrate, with suitable examples, their own view points, which may be different from the given points of view, through their essay.
    • Students should be able to write the essay in eloquent and correct English to score well in the Writing section of the ACT test.

    The best way to procure authentic information is through the official website (www.act.org). There are also a few unofficial sources you can refer to gain more information. These are: