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About the SAT/ACT and LSAT

About ACT Exam

Section Overviews

English Test Description

The English test is a 75-question, 45-minute test, covering:

  • punctuation
  • grammar and usage
  • sentence structure

Rhetorical Skills
  • strategy
  • organization
  • style

Spelling, vocabulary, and rote recall of rules of grammar aren't tested. See sample questions or read tips & strategies.

The test consists of five prose passages, each one followed by multiple-choice test questions. Different passage types are included to provide variety.

Some questions refer to underlined portions of the passage and offer several alternatives to the portion underlined. You must decide which choice is most appropriate in the context of the passage.

Some questions ask about an underlined portion, a section of the passage, or the passage as a whole. You must decide which choice best answers the question posed.

Many questions include "NO CHANGE" to the passage as one of the choices.

The questions are numbered consecutively. Each question number corresponds to an underlined portion in the passage or to a box located in the passage.

Mathematics Test Description
The ACT Mathematics Test is a 60-question, 60-minute test designed to measure the mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken by the end of 11th grade.

The test presents multiple-choice questions that require you to use reasoning skills to solve practical problems in mathematics.

You need knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills to answer the problems, but you aren't required to know complex formulas and perform extensive computation.

You may use a calculator on the Mathematics Test. See ACT's calculator policy for details about permitted and prohibited calculators. If you use a prohibited calculator, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. You are not required to use a calculator. All of the problems can be solved without a calculator.

Reading Test Description
The Reading Test is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures your reading comprehension. You're asked to read four passages and answer questions that show your understanding of:
  • what is directly stated
  • statements with implied meanings

Specifically, questions will ask you to use referring and reasoning skills to:
  • determine main ideas
  • locate and interpret significant details
  • understand sequences of events
  • make comparisons
  • comprehend cause-effect relationships
  • determine the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases, and statements
  • draw generalizations
  • analyze the author's or narrator's voice and method

The test comprises four prose passages that are representative of the level and kinds of reading required in first-year college courses; passages on topics in social studies, natural sciences, fiction, and the humanities are included.
Each passage is accompanied by a set of multiple-choice test questions. These questions do not test the rote recall of facts from outside the passage, isolated vocabulary items, or rules of formal logic. Instead, the test focuses on the complementary and supportive skills that readers must use in studying written materials across a range of subject areas.

Science Test Description
The Science Test is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures the skills required in the natural sciences: interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem solving.

Calculators may not be used on the Science Test.

The test assumes that students are in the process of taking the core science course of study (three years or more) that will prepare them for college-level work and have completed a course in Earth science and/or physical science and a course in biology.

The test presents seven sets of scientific information, each followed by a number of multiple-choice test questions. The scientific information is presented in one of three different formats:
  • data representation (graphs, tables, and other schematic forms)
  • research summaries (descriptions of one or more related experiments)
  • conflicting viewpoints (expressions of several related hypotheses or views that are inconsistent with one another)

The questions require you to:
  • recognize and understand the basic features of, and concepts related to, the provided information
  • examine critically the relationship between the information provided and the conclusions drawn or hypotheses developed
  • generalize from given information and draw conclusions, gain new information, or make predictions

The Writing Test is a 30-minute essay test that measures your writing skills-specifically those writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses.

The test consists of one writing prompt that will define an issue and describe two points of view on that issue. You are asked to respond to a question about your position on the issue described in the writing prompt. In doing so, you may adopt one or the other of the perspectives described in the prompt, or you may present a different point of view on the issue. Your score will not be affected by the point of view you take on the issue.