ACT Test Structure
The ACT measures your achievements in four areas – English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. There is an optional Writing test. You are not required to memorize facts or vocabulary to do well. We do not recommend that you cram by memorizing science facts and new vocabulary – doing so will not directly improve performance.
The following table outlines the format of the ACT:
Sections | Types of Questions | Number of Questions | Times |
---|---|---|---|
English | Usage/Mechanics Punctuation Grammar Sentence Structure Rhetorical Skills Strategy Organization Style Total English Questions |
40 (53%) 10 (13%) 12 (16%) 18 (24%) 35 (47%) 12 (16%) 11 (15%) 12 (16%) 75 (100%) |
45 min. |
Math | Pre-Algebra Elementary Algebra Intermediate Algebra Coordinate Geometry Plane Geometry Trigonometry Total Math Questions |
14 (23%) 10 (17%) 9 (15%) 9 (15%) 14 (23%) 4 (7%) 60 (100%) |
60 min. |
Reading | Prose Fiction Humanities Social Studies Natural Sciences Total Reading Questions |
10 (25%) 10 (25%) 10 (25%) 10 (25%) 40 (100%) |
35 min. |
Science | Data Representation Research Summaries Conflicting Viewpoints Total Science Questions |
15 (38%) 18 (45%) 7 (17%) 40 (100%) |
35 min. |
Writing (optional) | Essay Response
Total Writing Questions |
1 (100%)
1 (100%) |
30 min. |
Total | 2 hrs. 55 min. (without Writing) 3 hrs. 30 min. (with Writing) |
ACT Question Types
The Math section of the ACT measures your mathematical achievement, including your ability to:
- Use techniques taught in high school Math courses and needed for college Math courses, and
- Reason mathematically and not focus on computation ability or ability to recall definitions, theorems, or formulas.
Math concepts tested on the ACT include:
Pre-Algebra
Operations on Whole Numbers, Fractions, Decimals, Integers, Powers, Square Roots, Ratios, Proportions, Percentages, Multiples, Factors, Absolute Value, Number Ordering, Simple Linear Equations, Simple Probability, Mean, Median, Mode, Data Analysis
Elementary Algebra
Variables, Substitution, Polynomials, Factoring, Quadratic Equations, Solving Linear Equations, Exponents, Square Roots
Intermediate Algebra
Quadratic Formula, Radical Expressions, Inequalities, Absolute Value Equations, Sequences, Systems of Equations, Functions, Matrices, Roots, Complex Numbers
Coordinate Geometry
Number Lines, Coordinate (x,y) Plane, Line Graphs, Graphs of Points, Graphs of Circles, Slope, Parallel Lines, Perpendicular Lines, Distance, Midpoints, Transformations, Conics
Plane Geometry
Triangles, Rectangles, Parallelograms, Trapezoids, Circles, Angles, Parallel Lines, Perpendicular Lines, Translations, Rotations, Symmetry, Proof Techniques, Perimeter, Area, Volume, Logical Proofs
Trigonometry
Ratios for Right Triangles, Graphs of Trigonometric Functions, Trigonometric Identities, Trigonometric Equations, Modeling
On the ACT, the Math questions are multiple-choice questions with five answer choices. The directions and format for the questions are as follows:
Directions:
Solve each problem, chose the correct answer, and then fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. Do not linger over problems that take too much time. Solve as many as you can; then return to the others in the time you have left for this test. You are permitted to use a calculator on this test. You may use your calculator for any problems you choose, but some of the problems may best be done without using a calculator. Note: Unless otherwise stated, all of the following should be assumed.
- Illustrative figures are NOT necessarily drawn to scale.
- Geometric figures line in a plane.
- The word line indicates a straight line.
- The word average indicates an arithmetic mean.