The ACT contains four curriculum-based, multiple-choice tests designed to measure academic achievement in English, Math, Reading, and Science, as well as an optional writing test for which students complete an essay.
The ACT includes 213 multiple-choice questions and takes a little over 4 hours to administer. This includes time for instruction and breaks. The actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes. The test allows 45 minutes for English, 60 minutes to complete the Math section, 35 minutes for Science Reasoning, and 35 minutes for Reading. Students planning to complete the optional 30-minute Writing Test will add another 45 minutes to the overall test session.
Sections of the ACT
English includes usage and mechanics, rhetorical skills, and reading. Forty-five minutes is allotted for English and thirty-five minutes are allotted for reading.
Mathematics includes Pre-Algebra, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry and Trigonometry. There is one sixty-minute mathematics section.
Science includes Biology, Earth/Space Sciences, Chemistry and Physics. There is one thirty-five-minute science section.
Optional Writing There is an optional writing test that is intended to measure the writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses. The test is comprised of one writing prompt describing two points of view on an issue. Students are asked to write a response about their position on this issue. The prompts are designed to be appropriate for responses in the 30 minutes permitted and reflect the student’s interests and experiences. Students have the option of registering for the ACT or the ACT Plus Writing. The Writing Test may not be taken alone.
Taking the Writing Test does NOT affect students’ scores on the multiple-choice tests or their COMPOSITE score. Students taking both the English and Writing Tests receive two additional scores: a combined English/Writing score on a scale of 1-36 and a Writing sub score on a scale of 2-12. Students also receive comments on their essays, and copies of the essays are available to the high school and the colleges to which scores are reported.