The ACT test is composed of four tests. All questions are in a multiple-choice format. The ACT Plus Writing contains the four multiple-choice tests and writing test.
The four subject areas contained in the ACT include English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The ACT Plus Writing contains an additional writing test. The general content of each subject is described below.
The English portion of the ACT is designed to test a student’s written English and rhetorical skills. Test questions will assess strategy, organization, style, punctuation, grammar and usage, and sentence structure. The English test contains five prose passages each followed by a set of questions. The English test has a total of 75 questions. The student will have 45 minutes to complete this part of the test.
The Mathematics portion of the ACT is designed to test a student’s mathematical skills up to the beginning of grade 12. Test questions assess a student’s knowledge of Elementary and Pre-Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Intermediate Algebra, Plane Geometry, and Trigonometry. The test contains 60 questions with a 60 minute time limit.
The Reading portion of the ACT is designed to test a student’s ability to comprehend what is directly stated in a piece of writing as well as understand what is implied. The Reading test will include questions asking students to determine main ideas, interpret details, understand sequence of events, make comparisons, and comprehend cause-effect relationships. Students must also draw generalizations, analyze an author’s voice and method, and determine the meaning of context-dependent words and phrases. The test will contain four written passages each followed by a set of questions. The test contains a total of 40 questions with a 35 minute time limit.
The Science portion of the ACT is designed to test a student’s ability to interpret, analyze, evaluate, reason, and solve problems involving natural sciences. The test requires students to examine information and identify relationships between the information provided and the conclusions or hypotheses developed. The test consists of seven sets of science-related data each followed by a set of questions. Questions may be presented in the form of graphs, tables, schematics, research summaries, and conflicting viewpoints. The Science test has a total of 40 questions with a 35 minute time limit.
The Writing portion of the ACT assesses a student’s mastery of the skills taught in high school English classes as well as those necessary for entry-level college courses. Students are given one prompt, which they must use to structure their essay. The prompt will present two points of view on a particular issue. Students must select one point of view to support or they may present a completely different point if view. Students are given 30 minutes to complete the essay.