ACT: 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.
To print a PDF version of the ACT overview and practice test questions,