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How Many Questions Are On The ACT?

The ACT is a high stakes test that can be stressful for many students. The biggest obstacle that many students face on test day is answering every single question during the tight time constraints of the test. 

When it comes to taking the ACT, time is not your friend. If you take the ACT without the Essay section, you will only have 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete the entire test.

How many questions do you have to answer during this time? 


That’s right. When you take the ACT, you have to answer 215 questions spanning reading, English, math, and science with just under three hours of time.

If you opt for the ACT with the Essay section, which I personally recommend, you will have 3 hours and 40 minutes to complete all 215 questions and one essay.

As you can see, it’s going to be important for you to know how to manage your time effectively so that you can answer every question without running out of time.

In order to make the most of your time, there are a few steps you’ll want to take:

Understand the breakdown of the test

The first thing you will want to know before you start preparing for your test is how much time you will have to complete each section of the test and how many questions you will be expected to answer.

There are four sections of the ACT and an optional essay (writing) section. Here is the breakdown of each section:

English45 minutes75
Math60 minutes60
Reading35 minutes40
Science35 minutes40
(Optional) Writing40 minutes1 essay

Understanding the format of the test will help you know how many minutes you will be able to spend on each section in order to complete the test in time.

Learn strategies to maximize your time

When you know how much time you will have for each section, you will want to learn a few strategies to help you take advantage of your time. 

Here are some strategies that will help you use your time wisely:

General ACT strategies

  • Start with the easiest questions first. ACT questions are not in order of difficulty.
  • Skip questions if they take too long to answer
    • English: more than 30 seconds per question
    • Math: more than 60 seconds per question
    • Reading: more than 45 seconds per question
    • Science: more than 45 seconds per question
  • Use the process of elimination to speed up your decision-process

English section strategies

  • Choose answers that are the most concise
  • Don’t avoid NO CHANGE
  • Memorize grammar and punctuation rules

Math section strategies

  • Memorize key formulas
  • Don’t over rely on your calculator
  • Plug in answers to check your work

Reading section strategies

  • Skim through each passage
  • Answer questions out of order based on your strengths
  • Practice reading comprehension questions ahead of time

Science section strategies

  • Use the graphics, charts, and visuals to help you answer questions
  • Start with data representation or research summary questions first
  • Practice reading passages until you can read them quickly

Essay (writing) section strategies

  • Practice writing strong intros and conclusions
  • Memorize the essay prompt
  • Prewrite examples

These are a few strategies that will help you take the test more efficiently so that time is no longer an obstacle.

Take an ACT prep course

While the strategies I provided will offer a starting point for your ACT practice, one of the best ways to make sure you are ready to tackle the ACT on test day is to take an ACT prep course.

ACT prep courses are designed to help students master the content of the ACT as well as strategies that will enable them to complete the test efficiently and effectively. With the skills and tips you will learn from an ACT prep course, answering 215 questions in under 3 hours will be a breeze.

When you take an ACT prep course through Prep Expert, you will learn over 100 useful ACT strategies, and you will have an experienced, expert instructor who will make sure you understand all of the concepts covered on the test.

Prep Expert has helped over 50,000 students earn scores high enough to get into their dream schools and receive impressive scholarships. You could be next!

Learn more about how Prep Expert can help you earn your target score on the ACT when you visit our website.

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Written by Prep Expert

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