What is ACT Test

What is ACT Test

Every year, more than two million students take the ACT in order to get admissions to the colleges in the United States. The ACT is a standardized test designed to measure your critical thinking skills and to assess your ability to apply knowledge and logic when solving problems.

Your ACT score is evaluated along with your high school Grade Point Average, involvement in school and extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and college application essay. While the ACT is just one factor that is examined during the admissions process, it is essential that you maximize your ACT score so that you can remain competitive among the many other applicants hoping to gain admission.

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of four multiple choice subject tests:

  1. English
  2. Mathematics
  3. Reading
  4. Science

ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the US. There is an optional writing test. Some colleges and universities require ACT writing scores, so you may consider taking the writing section of the ACT.

Each multiple-choice test contains questions with either four or five answers from which you are to choose the correct or the best answer. The subject test scores range from 1 to 36. Each question answered correctly is worth one point. There is no penalty for marking incorrect answers. 

The ACT is offered seven times a year in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. It is conducted in September, October, December, February, April, June and July.

1. English Test

The English test is a 75-question, 45-minute test that consists of five essays, or passages, each followed by a set of multiple choice test questions. Four scores are reported for the English test: a total test score based on all 75 questions, and three reporting category scores based on specific knowledge and skills.

2. Mathematics Test

The mathematics test is a 60-question, 60-minute test designed to assess the mathematical skills you have acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12. Most questions are self-contained. Some questions may belong to a set of several questions. You may use a calculator on the mathematics test.

Nine scores are reported for the mathematics test: a total test score based on all 60 questions and eight reporting category scores based on specific mathematical knowledge and skills.

3. Reading Test

The reading test is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures your ability to read closely, reason logically about texts using evidence, and integrate information from multiple sources. The test comprises four sections, three of which contain one long prose passage and one that contains two shorter prose passages.

Each passage is preceded by a heading that identifies what type of passage it is, names the author and source, and may include important background information to help you understand the passage. Each section contains a set of multiple-choice test questions.

Five scores are reported for the reading test: a total test score based on all 40 questions; three reporting category scores based on specific knowledge and skills; and an Understanding Complex Texts indicator.

4. Science Test

The science test is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. The test presents several authentic scientific scenarios, each followed by a number of multiple-choice test questions.

The content of the test includes Biology, Chemistry, Earth or Space Sciences (Geology, Astronomy, and Meteorology), and Physics. Four scores are reported for the science test: a total test score based on all 40 questions and three reporting category scores based on scientific knowledge, skills, and practices.

5. Writing Test (Optional)

If you register for the ACT with writing, you will take the writing test after the four multiple-choice tests. Your score on the writing test does not affect your scores on the multiple-choice tests or your Composite score. The writing test is a 40-minute essay test that measures your writing skills.

The test consists of one writing prompt that describes a complex issue and provides three different perspectives on the issue. You are asked to read the prompt and write an essay in which you develop your own perspective on the issue.

Five scores are reported for the writing test: a single subject level writing score reported on a scale of 2-12, and four domain scores that are based on an analytic scoring rubric. The subject score is the rounded average of the four domain scores.