– The questions on the ACT test are directly related to what you have learned in your high school courses.
– 1.9 million students took the 2018 ACT exam.
If you’re one of many high school students who want to go to college after graduation, you’ll more than likely be required to take one or two exams before entering college.
The ACT test is just one of those exams.
What is the ACT Test?
The ACT test is designed for 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students. This test is required for entrance into many colleges and universities for the admissions team to help make decisions on who will be admitted into their school or program. College admissions will not only look at your ACT score but also your GPA, the classes you took in high school, personal essays, letters of recommendation, and more to compare you to other applicants.
Although not every school requires you to have an ACT score, so you will need to contact the school of your choice to see if they require it.
What’s on the ACT Exam?
The ACT exam measures the skills that are needed to be successful in postsecondary education.
The ACT is divided into four sections with an optional 5th section. You are given 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete the four sections, plus an additional 40 minutes for the optional section.
The ACT English section measures your ability to fix errors in grammar and punctuation as well as how well you’re able to improve the organization and style of the five passages that are given. The English section also tests your skills in strategy, organization, and style. You’re given 75 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 45 minutes.
The ACT Math section tests your knowledge on topics that are typically covered in your high school classes. You’ll be tested over major areas that will be needed to be successful in entry-level college mathematics classes. You’re given 60 multiple-choice questions that are required to be completed in 60 minutes.
The math section is broken down into 6 different question types:
- 14 pre-algebra questions that are based on math terminologies such as integers and prime numbers
- Basic number theory
- Manipulation of fractions and decimals
- 10 elementary algebra questions that are based on inequalities, linear equations, ratios, percents, and averages
- 9 intermediate algebra questions that are based on exponents, roots, simultaneous equations, and quadratic equations
- 14 plan geometry questions that are based on angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, perimeter, area, and volume
- 9 coordinate geometry questions based on slope, distance, midpoint, parallel and perpendicular lines, points of intersection, and graphing
- 4 questions that are based on basic sine, cosine, and tangent functions, trig identities, and graphing
The Reading section of the ACT measures your ability to read closely, reason logically about texts using evidence, and integrate information from multiple sources. The questions that you’ll be given will ask you to determine main ideas, locate and interpret significant details, and more.
You’re given four passages that are 800 words each covering prose fiction, social science, humanities, and natural science. You’ll then be given 10 questions after each passage that will test you on what was stated as well as what meanings were implied. You’re given a total of 40 multiple-choice questions that will need to be completed in 35 minutes.
The ACT Science tests how well you are able to look up and synthesize information from tables, graphs, illustrations, and passages. You’ll be given a total of 40 multiple-choice questions within seven science passages which will include topics such as biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth/space sciences such as astronomy, geology, and meteorology.
Each passage will fall within a category such as charts and graphs, experiments, and opposing viewpoints.
The Writing section is optional on the ACT. Not all colleges and universities require this section. If you do decide to take the Writing section of the ACT, you’ll be required to compose an essay from a prompt that describes an issue and provides three different perspectives on the issue. You’ll be required to write an essay stating your own perspective on the given issue.
The purpose of the essay is to measure your writing skills that are high in high school English classes and are required for entry-level college composition courses. You’re given one essay to complete in 40 minutes.
How is the ACT Scored?
Each section of the ACT exam is scored separately. The sections are first scored with a raw score which is a total of how many questions you answered correctly in the section. You do not lose points for answering any questions incorrectly.
Each section of the exam contains a different amount of questions, so you will receive a different raw score for each section. You receive one point for each question you answered correctly.
The raw scores for each section are then converted into a scaled score. The scaled score for each section ranges on a scale of 1 to 36.
Your scaled score is then converted into a composite score. The scaled scores you receive from each section are calculated together to receive your composite score. This score will also range from 1 to 36, making 36 the highest score you can receive on the ACT exam.
The ACT is planning to transition to a composite score system. You can retake individual sections, and submit your best science score, your best reading score etc.