How Long Is the ACT Test

Sectional Break-up of ACT Testing Time

If you are planning to take the ACT test any time soon, you might already know a great deal about the test. As you diligently prepare yourself for the test, you may also want to learn more about the test day, such as items allowed inside the exam hall, breaks in between sections, and the ACT testing time. Here is an article that answers the important questions on the ACT testing time, including how long is the ACT test and the section-wise break-up of the test.

ACT Total Testing Time

As we know, the ACT test comprises four multiple-choice question sections, and an optional Writing section. The questions in all the sections are designed to measure your academic accomplishments at high-school level, in the concerned subject areas. For example, while the English section measures your ability to use the language as per accepted standards, the Reading section focuses on evaluating your comprehension abilities. Your cognition of the relevant mathematical concepts as per high-school level curriculum is tested in the Mathematics section; while the Science section purports to measure your skills at problem-solving, analysis, and interpretation. So, the ACT testing time is fixed to provide the required amount of time for answering all the questions appropriately.

Now, to answer the question, how long is the ACT test, you should first identify the version of the test you are taking. While the ACT with No Writing test takes less time to complete, the ACT Plus Writing test takes half an hour more:

  • The time taken to complete the ACT test with No Writing section is 2 hours and 55 minutes.
  • The time taken to complete the ACT Plus Writing test is 3 hours and 25 minutes.

While trying to find out how long is the ACT test, you also need to understand that the total testing time is not just the time taken to complete the sections, but includes the scheduled breaks, as well. If you are taking the No Writing test, you generally enter the exam hall by 8:00 a.m. on the test day and are out of the hall by 12:15 p.m. In the case of ACT Plus Writing, your test completes only by 1:00 p.m.

Sectional Break-Up of the ACT Testing Time

While answering the question, how long is the ACT test, it is good to have an understanding of the time pattern or the sectional break-up of the total testing time:

Test Section

Time to Complete

Breaks, if any


45 minutes

Short break after the first two sections


One hour


35 minutes


35 minutes

Writing (Optional)

30 minutes

Short break before beginning the Writing section

Here are some important pointers related to the ACT testing time:

  • After your admission tickets are checked and all candidates are seated at 8:00 a.m., be prepared to start the test immediately. This helps you ensure maximum utilization of the total ACT testing time.
  • During the breaks, you are not allowed to use cell phones or any other electronic gadgets. However, you may take refreshments or drinks outside the exam room.
  • If you complete any section before the test time, you may utilize the remaining time for rechecking your answers.
  • For more information on the ACT testing time, visit the relevant FAQ sections on the official ACT website (

Accommodated ACT Testing Time

The need for accommodated testing is another factor that can alter the answer to the how long is the ACT test question. ACT Inc. provides different testing times for candidates with special requirements:

  • Center Testing #1: Standard Time National Testing - In this option, you can take the ACT test at any test center within the standard time limits, but with accommodations to support your disability (permission to eat in the test room because of a diabetic condition, wheel-chair accessible room, etc.) (
  • Center Testing #2: Extended Time National Testing (50% time extension) - This option allows you to have more time for taking the test at a regular test center. Accordingly, up to five hours is allowed to complete the ACT with No Writing test (including the intervals); for the ACT Plus Writing test, you will be given a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes (
  • Special Testing - This option provides you extended time along with an option to choose from various test formats. Accordingly, you may be able to test in multiple sessions or on multiple days, or may take extended time for all tests, or appear for only the Writing part of the test. (

For more details on the extended ACT testing time, visit the test accommodations chart online: (

Thus, we can conclude that the question how long is the ACT test does not have a single answer. Factors such as the type of the ACT test and the need for special arrangements or accommodations can determine the length of the ACT test.

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