ACT Exam

Why Should You Appear for ACT?

ACT stands for American College Testing. It is a standardized test, the scores of which measure the readiness of students for admissions to college level. It also measures educational development of a high school student.The scores of ACT exam are used to supplement the secondary school record and they project the local data like grades, class rank and course work in a national perspective.

Overview of the ACT

ACT test comprises of four sections viz. English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. In addition to this there is an optional Writing test. All the four sections have multiple choice objective type of questions. The scores of the subject tests range from 1 to 36 and the scores are integers. The composite score is the average of scores in all the subjects. It is generally seen that colleges give more weightage to the composite scores than the individual scores for an ACT exam. The score of the optional Writing test is not included in the overall score. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers. So a student can afford to attempt all the questions. After an overview of the test, let us find out what each section of the test paper contains. The allotted time duration for the entire test is 2 hours and 55 minutes. This excludes the time allotted for the Writing test. The total number of questions asked is 215.

ACT Test Sections

Each section of the test is discussed in subsequent paragraphs:

  • English

    This is the first section of the test which consists of 75 questions with a time limit of 45 minutes. It covers English usage and rhetorical skills. Under English usage, questions based on punctuation, grammar with usage and sentence structure can be asked. The ACT exam measures rhetorical skills by asking questions on strategy, organization and style. Spelling, vocabulary and rules of grammar are not asked. Important tips for attempting this section can be read from the official website of the ACT test (

  • Mathematics

    This section consists of 60 questions to be attempted in 60 minutes. The section tests the mathematical and reasoning ability developed through the years of schooling. Questions are from various topics like Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. Use of calculator is permitted in ACT test. One needs to check the official website of ACT to learn about the type of calculator that is permitted. The test taker is expected to know basic mathematical formulas and their applications to attempt this section well.

  • Reading

    The Reading section is a 40 question, 35 minutes test. This section measures the comprehension ability of the students. Questions can be asked to comprehend a stated passage or to find out the implied meaning from the stated passage. For measuring this, the test has four passages followed by multiple choice questions. The passages are from varied subjects. It is therefore advised that the test taker should read voraciously about any and everything while preparing for the ACT exam.

  • Science

    The Science test has 40 questions to be attempted in 35 minutes. The test measures basic skills required in general Science like interpretation, problem solving, analysis, reasoning and evaluation. The questions are in one of the forms like data representation, research summaries or conflicting viewpoints.

  • Optional Writing

    The Writing section includes an essay test. It is a 30 minutes test that measures the test-taker's writing ability. The test includes a writing prompt that will present an issue and discuss two points of view on that issue. The test taker is asked to respond by presenting his stand on the issue in concern. One may support any one of the two views or may even present a third view altogether. The score of the test taker is not dependent on his stand of the case. This test is optional as not all the colleges ask for the score of the Writing test. A student should beforehand find out if a particular college requires the score of the Writing test or not. Go to this link to get details of the colleges that ask for the scores of the optional writing test, ( can also find out this information directly from the college one is considering for their score requirements.

With this information on the ACT exam, go ahead with the preparations, but do not forget to register beforehand at the official website in order to take the exam.

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