Overseas Education

ACT (America College Test)

The ACT originally abbreviation of American College Testing) is a standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions in the United States produced by ACT, Inc.

The ACT is an all-multiple-choice test given five times a year. Standardized tests like ACT are designed to allow college admissions officers to judge all students by a common measuring stick. In addition, Admissions officers use these scores as a way to predict academic performance in the first year of college.

The ACT Assessment, tests knowledge in four subject areas: English, Reading, Math, and Science Reasoning. Unlike the SAT, the ACT is not an aptitude test. The questions on the ACT are related directly to the material students have learned in high school. The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions. It lasts three and a half hours (including breaks-actual testing time is two hours and 55 minutes. ACT-takers actually receive 12 separate scores on the ACT: 1 composite, 4 subject scores, and 7 sub scores. However the composite or scaled score is the most important. It ranges from 1-36. Nearly half of all test takers fall in the 17-23 range. On the ACT, unlike with the SAT, there is no penalty for guessing
The ACT Test Structure



Focus Area & No of Questions in Each Area

English Test
45 minutes, 75 questions

Consists of five passages of nonfiction prose. Each passage contains 15 questions.

Punctuation (10), Basic Grammar and Usage (12), Sentence Structure (18), Strategy (12), Organization (11), and Style (12)

Math Test
60 minutes, 60 questions

In this section, knowledge is tested of the basic facts and skills taught in most high school math programs.

Pre-Algebra (14), Elementary Algebra (10), Intermediate Algebra (9), Coordinate Geometry (9), Plane Geometry (14), and Trigonometry (4)

Reading Test
35 minutes, 40 questions

Includes four passages; one being a fictional narrative, while others being nonfiction discussion of topics from varied fields as the natural sciences, social science, and the humanities.

Pose Fiction (10), Humanities (10), Natural Science (10) and Social Studies (10)

Science Reasoning Test
35 minutes, 40 questions

Includes seven passages containing data presentation by means of graphs, tables, charts, or diagrams. Descriptions of experimental studies and their results, and presentations of differing theories or hypotheses relating to a specific scientific query.

Data Representation (15), Research Summaries (18), and Conflicting Viewpoints (7)
Note: Contents of Science Reasoning Test include: Biology, Earth/Space Science, Chemistry, and Physics.

General Tips and Strategies
  • There is no penalty for guessing, so ACT takers should fill in an answer for every question
  • Know the directions and answer sheet ahead of time
  • Read carefully and thoroughly. Avoid careless mistakes
  • Answer easier questions first, and harder questions later
  • Check answer sheet regularly
  • Develop a strategy for guessing
Section: English
  • Don't jump on the questions right away. Skim the paragraph for a few seconds, and then start working on the questions
  • Brevity is the soul of wit. The best way to write something is the shortest correct way of writing it
  • Be on the lookout for subject-verb and noun-pronoun agreement
  • Be on the lookout for sentence fragments, incorrect sentence structure, verbosity and inappropriate use of phrases and idioms
  • Develop the habit of occasionally checking your progress through the test
  • Use your calculator only when you need to
  • Understand and analyze the problem before crunching numbers
  • Look for patterns and shortcuts in any given question
  • Think before working on each problem, use common sense to verify your answer choice
Section: Reading
  • Do not get caught in the specific details of the passage
  • Answer general questions before detail questions
  • Always refer to the passage before choosing an answer
  • Mentally outline all major points covered in non-fiction passages, take notes if necessary to find answers quickly
  • Concentrate on paragraph opening and closing
  • For fiction passages pay attention to the story and the characters
  • Answer the easy questions for each passage first. Skip the tough ones and come back to them later
Section: Science
  • Start by scanning the passage. Read the passage or look at the data presentation quickly, just to get a rough idea of what it is all about
  • In order to comprehend graphs and tables quickly concentrate on nature of data being presented, units of measurement, relationship among variables and perceive trends and pattern in the data
  • If the answers are numerical, use estimation to save time
  • Focus on the questions that require analyzing data from just a single table or graph
  • Do not get bogged down by technical terminology, avoid the frills and get to the core of the problem
The optional writing section, which is always administered at the end of the test, is 30 minutes long. All essays must be in response to a given prompt. The prompts are about a social issue applicable to high school students. This test has no effect on the overall composite score. Instead, a separate English/Writing score is created.

Kindly visit the official website for more information about ACT Test: http://www.act.org
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