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The ACT test covers a wide range of topics. Make sure that you are prepared for a mental marathon on the ACT exam. A lot of test takers preparing for the ACT exam end up spending thousands of dollars on ACT test prep courses when they would probably be better off with a couple of ACT test study guides and practice tests. Make sure that you monitor your pace while taking the ACT test. These modules will help you prepare for the ACT exam.
The ACT test is a test that is used by high school students that are seeking admission to colleges and universities upon high school graduation. The test is used to determine an applicant's general educational development, as well as their ability to be successful in college courses. The test consists of four multiple choice test areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. There is also an optional writing test, which consists of one essay question.
There are two ways in which to register for the ACT test. Registration can be completed online at the ACT website. Online registration takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete, and details about the necessary items for registration can be found online on the ACT website. Registration can also be completed through the mail using a registration packet. The registration packet can be picked up at many high schools, or it can be requested by filling out an online form on the ACT website. When registering for the ACT test, all necessary fees must be paid, and these fees are outlined on the ACT website as well. There are five national test dates, and these are October, December, February, April, and June. Some states also have a late September test date. Information about specific test dates and test locations can also be found online. It is recommended that the ACT test is taken about two months before any college, university, or scholarship application deadlines.
The ACT test is primarily a multiple choice test, with the added optional essay (if the writing test is taken). There are 215 multiple choice questions on the test, and the test takes approximately three and a half hours to complete, including any breaks. If the writing test is also taken, the total length of the ACT test is four hours, including breaks. The English section of the exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions, and students have 45 minutes to complete this section. The English section consists of five prose passages, each with accompanying multiple choice questions. The test covers conventions of standard written English, 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 students have 60 minutes to complete this portion of the test. 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 reading section of the test consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and test takers have 35 minutes to complete this section. This section tests reading comprehension on a variety of different reading selections, such as: social studies (25%), natural sciences (25%), prose fiction (25%), and humanities (25%). The science section of the test consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and students have 35 minutes to complete this section. 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%). It is assumed that students have taken a high school course in Earth or physical science, as well as biology. The optional writing test is a 30 minute essay that tests writing skills from entry level college English courses and high school English.
The multiple choice sections, English, mathematics, science, and reading, are all first given a raw score. The raw score is the number of questions answered correctly in each section, with no penalty for incorrect answers. The four raw scores are then converted to scaled scores, which take into account differences in different test versions. Each scaled score ranges from one (low) to 36 (high). A composite score, which is the average of all four scaled test scores rounded to the nearest whole number, is then given. The highest possible composite score is 36. Sub-scores, ranging from 1-18 are also given for the English, mathematics, and reading sections. The writing section is scored holistically on a scale of one (low) to six (high) by two trained readers. The scores given by each reader are then added together to come up with a writing sub-score ranging from 2 (low) to 12 (high). 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.
The free ACT test email course below is different from the ACT Test Question of the Day email service listed above. We recommend that you sign up for both.
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by Enoch Morrison
Last Updated: 06/07/2013
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