How is the ACT structured? To start breaking the test down and identifying what you need to prepare for, here’s the ACT test structure at a glance.
Besides knowing how it’s structured, it’s good to have battle-tested strategies to pull from on your first ACT attempt, and any retakes you pursue.
ACT Test Structure Elements
ACT Format Breakdown
Here are the main section and times to think about.
The ACT is based around 4 multiple-choice test sections:
Like the SAT, it also includes an optional Essay section. We normally advise students to tackle the ACT Essay for a number of reasons.
The total allotted time to complete the test is based around tackling the Essay or not:
- 2 hours and 55 minutes (without the Essay)
- 3 hours and 35 minutes (with the Essay)
ACT Test Structure – Content & Timing
|Section||Question #||Time Limit||Content/Skills Covered||Question Types|
|English||75 questions||45 min||
|Math||60 questions||60 min||
|Reading||40 questions||35 min||
|Science||40 questions||35 min||
|Writing (optional)||1 essay||40 min||
Why You Need To Know These Details
Remember, this is truly scratching the surface of everything you need to actually know for the test. However, a basic understanding of format and subject matter is very helpful.
It allows you to easily structure your test prep sessions around specific subjects. More importantly, when taking practice tests, you can really time yourself accurately per section.
The benefit here is understanding what sections give you the most trouble, and how much faster you must answer questions for full credit.
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