What are the Different Types of ACT Test Questions?

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  • Written By: N. Farley
  • Edited By: Amanda L. Wardle
  • Last Modified Date: 19 January 2020
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The ACT exam is divided into four tests that focus on topics including English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Students also have the opportunity to take an optional Writing exam as part of the ACT Plus Writing test. All questions within the four main subject areas are multiple choice. The questions are designed to measure a student's knowledge and critical thinking skills. The optional Writing section includes a single essay question.

During the English portion of the exam, students are tested on their skills in basic grammar and language. These multiple choice ACT test questions may ask students to prove their knowledge of sentence structure, writing style, and organization. Students might also need to answer questions that relate to grammar and punctuation rules, typically by correcting a sentence with mistakes in it.

When answering ACT test questions in the Math section, students will find questions related to algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. These questions cover material that students normally study through their third year of high school. Many of the problems are multi-step equations that ask students to utilize skills from different areas of mathematics while solving a single problem.


The Reading section of the ACT measures a student's reading comprehension abilities. Students are first given a short passage to read. Then, they must answer ACT test questions about information that can be directly found in or inferred from the passage. In order to receive a positive score in this section, students should be able to recall information they have read and be able to note key points in a passage.

ACT test questions within the Science section focus on a student's ability to interpret and analyze scientific data. Students are presented with case studies or research information, which may include charts, graphs, or figures. They must be able to reflect upon the information they are given in order to evaluate hypotheses and solve problems.

The ACT's optional Writing section consists of a single essay prompt. This portion of the exam is conducted as a timed writing exercise, in which students have only a limited amount of time to formulate an answer and construct an essay. The test measures a student's writing skills and critical reasoning.

As a student fills out college applications, ACT test scores can have a major impact on his or her chances of being accepted into a program. Many students take special classes in order to study for ACT test questions. Colleges use standardized test socres as a tool to predict a student's potential success.



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