Format of ACT exam

The ACT test is primarily a multiple choice test consisting of basically four subjects. However a fifth subject of essay writing was included in the year 2005 which is optional for the student to take. In all, there are 215 multiple choice questions on the test which the student has to complete within a time frame of three and a half hours which includes two breaks of 15minutes each. However if the student opts for writing section also, then the examination time frame gets to be of four hours including the break. The English section of the examination consists of 75 multiple choice questions which is expected to be completed latest by 45minutes. The section consists of five prose passages, each with accompanying multiple choice questions. The test covers questions which tests the ability of the student as to how well his English is. This testing includes various parts such as punctuation (13%), grammar and usage (16%), and sentence structure (24%), and rhetorical skills, such as strategy (16%), organization (15%), and style (16%). The mathematics section consists of 60 multiple choice questions, and the time frame to complete this section is 60 minutes. The math section tests skills that are typically acquired by the end of the eleventh grade, including: Pre-algebra (23%)/elementary algebra (17%), intermediate algebra (15%)/coordinate geometry (15%), and plane geometry (23%)/trigonometry (7%).

The third section i.e.. The reading section of the test includes 40 multiple choice questions for which 35 minutes are alloted. This section tests the knowledge of the student on various subjects such as social studies (25%), natural sciences (25%), prose fiction (25%), and humanities (25%). The final section of the test i.e.. The science section consists of 40 multiple choice questions for which, again, the time alloted is 35 minutes. This section tests skills that are required in the natural sciences, such as interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem solving. Specifically, the test consists of questions dealing with data interpretation (38%), research summaries (45%), and conflicting viewpoints (17%). Students are assumed to have taken Earth or physical science, as well as biology at their high school level. The optional writing test is a 30 minute essay that tests writing skills from entry level college English courses and high school English.

The scoring system is percentile based. All the four sections are initially given raw scores ranging from a scale of 1 to 36, 36 being the highest. There is no negative marking. Then these raw scores are averaged out to give, what is known as composite score. This score is rounded to the nearest whole number. Sub-scores, ranging from 1 − 18 are also given for the English, mathematics, and reading sections. The writing section is scored by two judges, who range it on a scale of 1 − 6. Then their scores are combined on the scale of 2 − 12. The writing and the English scores are then combined to give a combined English/writing score. In this combined score, the English score counts for two thirds of the combined score, and the writing score counts for one third of the combined score. Comments on the essay in the writing section are also provided.