One of the tools that colleges use when it comes to calculating a student’s value is the ACT
standardized test. The ACT can be an excellent tool to getting into college if your GPA bears on
the lower end of the spectrum. The ACT is based out of 36 points, however most colleges
require a score within the mid 20’s. If one is aspiring to attend a more prestigious university, then
they are going to need to achieve a score in the lower 30’s. The national average is typically
So what exactly is it that you should do in order to prepare for the ACT?
There are five different sections of the ACT test. All of them vary in length and the amount of time
available to complete the section. Each section on the ACT is based out of 36 points, and the
final score is reached by averaging the five sections together.
English (75 questions/45 minutes): The english section is based off of two subcategories,
“Usage and Mechanics” and “Rhetorical Skills”. “Usage and Mechanics” is 40 questions that is
primarily judged off of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. The “Rhetorical Skills”
section is 35 questions that are based off of organization and style. However, you must be aware
that these questions will not be separated from one another and that they will be mixed together.
Mathematics (60 questions/60 minutes): The mathematics section includes different math
problems that you will have encountered from grades 911. Some of the different categories
include, but are not limited to, prealgebra, algebra, trigonometry, and geometry. Like the english
section, these categories will be jumbled up as well.
Reading (40 questions/30 minutes): During the reading section you will be required to read 4
different passages and answer questions based on the passage. You will be questioned on
categories such as the main idea, sequence of events, and basic vocabulary. The readings can
cover a variety of topics, such as social studies and the natural sciences, however you will not
be required to memorize and facts about these topics. The primary purpose of this section is to
analyze your ability to quickly read material and still be able to successfully retain the information.
Science (40 questions/35 minutes):In this section you will be tested on your knowledge of
Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences. However, don’t worry because these question
remain strictly within the high school level and only test your basic knowledge of the courses.
Most commonly, you will be asked to analyze different graphs and experiments.
Writing (1 question/30 minutes): The final portion of the ACT exam is the writing portion. There is
a lot more to this section than just having proper grammar and sentence structure. The most
important aspect that will help you when attempting to tackle this section is organization and
focus. Make sure to answer the question that is being asked of you and form a clear and concise
thesis with supporting paragraphs. Finally, remember that the graders read hundreds and maybe
thousands of essays all answering the same question, do what you can to make your essay
stand out from the others.
Preparation is the key to succeeding at the ACT, so make sure to begin several months before
taking the exam. Ultimately, remember to relax and just stay focused.
Free ACT Practice Test
A standardized test used for college admissions of high school students, the ACT test is a popular test taken during the junior and senior years.
This is the official site provided by ACT, Inc. who is the provider of ACT testing services. Along with testing dates and information a prep section is provided which includes a question of the day and free practice test questions.
A list of free ACT practice tests is provided here along with study tips and resources that can help you prepare for your
upcoming test. Ask your question about preparing for the ACT test to have our editors answer it.
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