The English section tests standard written English and rhetorical skills. There are 75 questions in a 45 minute period. The test covers such things as punctuation, grammar, usage, syntax (sentence structure), strategy, organization, and style.
The Reading section measures reading comprehension. There are 40 questions in a 35 minute period. The readings are drawn from various topics such as fiction, the humanities, and the sciences. Students will be asked to do things such as draw generalizations, determine the main idea, analyze the author’s tone, make comparisons, identify cause-effect relationships and the like.
The Mathematics section measures math skills students have typically acquired up to the beginning of grade 12. The content includes algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. There are 60 questions in a 60 minute period.
The Science section measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving required in the natural sciences. Students should’ve had either and Earth or physical science and biology, and currently be taking a core science course. Information is shown in three manners: (1) data charts or graphs, (2) research summaries, or (3) conflicting opinions. Students are asked to draw conclusions from the information, evaluate the conclusions drawn from the information given, and to understand the features and concepts depicted. There are 40 questions in a 35 minute period.
Optional Writing Test
The ACT also has an optional writing test. It measures a student’s writing ability as emphasized in high school and expected at the college entry level. The prompt will present an issue with two points of view. The student is to present one or both views, or offer a third. There is 1 prompt given in a 30 minute period.