Every year over a million and half people take the ACT exam. ACT originally was simply an acronym that stood for American College Testing, but the official name is now just ACT. The exam is taken as part of the college admission process, and in 2011 more people took the ACT than the SAT, which for decades had been the most popular college admissions test. The test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and in 2011, of the 1.6 million people who took the exam, only 705 scored a 36.
There are two forms of the ACT. The regular exam has four sections – English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. All of these use the multiple choice format. The ACT Plus has the same four sections, in addition to an essay writing requirement. On the writing section the test taker is given 30 minutes to respond to a prompt, which is usually of a social or political nature. (The score on this section can affect the score on the English section of the exam.) A student can choose to take the regular exam or the one with the essay requirement, but some colleges and universities require applicants to take the ACT Plus.
For the English section, the test taker has 45 minutes to answer 75 questions. They cover both usage and rhetoric. Topics can include commas, colons, semi-colons, dependent and independent clauses, structure, clarity, style, etc. Answering 75 questions in 45 minutes is quite a challenge, and many test takers aren’t able to complete this section in its entirety.
The Mathematics section consists of 60 questions and lasts 60 minutes. It, too, is a race against the clock for most test takers. The questions cover arithmetic, basic and intermediate algebra, plane geometry, coordinate geometry, and basic trigonometry. Certain kinds of calculators are permitted for this section.
The Reading section is 35 minutes long and consists of 40 questions based on four reading passages -one each of fiction, social science, liberal arts, and natural science. It measures the ability to understand and interpret written material in different fields.
Science Reasoning consists of 40 questions with a 35 minute time limit. It is comprise of questions about seven reading passages – three data representation passages, three research summary passages, and one conflicting viewpoint passage. Questions on this section measure a test taker’s skills at logical reasoning, problem solving, and their abilities to interpret, evaluate and analyze scientific material.
ACT Study Guide
Start learning how to be successful on your ACT exam. Our ACT study guide is guaranteed to help you get the results you deserve on your ACT test. Some test takers prefer to study using flashcards and so we have created the best ACT flashcards that cover everything you need to know for the ACT exam. Note that using multiple study aids will help you maximize the benefit from your study time.