American College Test
The ACT is a standardized test designed to measure basic math, science, english, and reading skills. Submission of either ACT or SAT scores is required by most colleges and universities. The test is an important factor in the admissions process, and you should do your best to show schools that you know your stuff. It is composed of five sections each of which will be graded on a scale of 1-36. Your final score will be an average of these results. Below you will find a typical test layout.
The MathThe math section will be composed of 60 questions which you will have 60 minutes to answer. Problems in this section test your algebra, geometry, and trigonometry skills. The questions are all multiple choice and you may use your calculator to solve them.
The ScienceYou will have 35 minutes to finish the 40 questions that make up this portion of the test. This section is meant to test your ability to read graphs, interpret results, and compare opposing viewpoints. Many students find this portion of the test to be the most difficult. However, you do not have to be a science whiz to do well on it. Practicing graph interpretations and passage reading under time constraints will help you significantly.
The EnglishThis section has the most questions, but they are generally less consuming than those on other sections. You will have 45 minutes to complete the 75 questions you are asked. Many of them will deal with grammatical errors. Common ones ask about the style and mechanics of provided sentences.
The ReadingThe reading section is composed of 40 questions which you must complete in 35 minutes. You will be presented with excerpts from books and magazines and asked to answer questions based on what you have read. Passage topics vary greatly, but history, science, and liberal-arts ones are common.
The Writing SampleThis portion of the test is optional. You will have 30 minutes to write an essay that answers the proposed question. Although the writing sample is not graded, schools will receive a copy of it. Many do take the writing sample into consideration during the admission process. Some schools have said that they use this section as the "tiebreaker”.
If you do not do well on the test your first time around, don’t despair. You may take the test as often as you would like (keep in mind that the test is only offered 6 times per year). Schools will only receive the results you choose to send. Use this to your advantage, and plan ahead. Taking the test during your junior year will give you extra time to prepare for round two. When you practice, keep in mind that you should answer all questions. Incorrect answers will not count against you, and it is in your best interest to answer everything. To get you started, we have prepared some sample ACT problems.
- ACT Math Section: Practice Test Questions
- ACT Science Section: Practice Test Questions
- ACT English Section: Practice Test Questions
- ACT Reading Section: Practice Test Questions
- ACT Writing Section: Practice Test Questions
To print a PDF version of the ACT overview and practice test questions, click here.
- Making the Most of Standardized Test Prep
- Making the Most of Your SAT/ACT Test Day
- Many Colleges Require ACT Standardized Test for Admission
- Mastering the ACT
- Mastering the GMAT
- Mastering the GRE
- Mastering the LSAT
- Mastering the MCAT
- Mastering the SAT
- Plans for GRE Alterations Reversed
- Preparing for Standardized Math Test Questions
- The SAT and ACT
- Tips for Answering Multiple Choice Questions on Standardized Tests
- Tips for Answering True/False Questions on Standardized Tests
- Tips for Taking Standardized Tests
Latest College & Financial Aid News
August 27, 2015
by Susan DutcaIn the midst of Wednesday's tragic shooting and killing of WDBJ7 journalist Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by alleged gunman and former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan, Parker's alma mater, James Madison University is accepting donations for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship. Similarly, Patrick Henry Community College, where Parker received her associate's degree, is accepting [...]
August 25, 2015
by Susan DutcaStudents are notorious for avoiding summer reading lists – whether they'd rather spend time outdoors or simply find the list dull, many walk into the first day of class without having read the book title. However, incoming freshmen at Duke University are boycotting and refusing to read Alison Bechdel's family tragicomic Fun Home - they claim that the "pornographic" graphic novel conflicts with [...]
August 24, 2015
Chances are if you’re on scholarships.com, you probably care about boosting your application to scholarships or colleges. The standardized test can be a huge plus for good test takers or a major stressor for others. Here are some general guidelines to help you make your testing plan and decisions easier. Timing. There are many rumors about what dates have a better curve but [...]