How many questions are on the ACT?

Updated on: May 17, 2023
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ACT Questions 2023

The American College Testing (ACT) is a standard exam for international students to pursue their undergraduate degrees in the USA and Canada. The ACT exam evaluates your skills in four sections and determines your eligibility for higher education. Here we cover everything you should know about the exam, including how many questions are on the ACT, its pattern and its syllabus.

ACT exam: An overview

ACT full formAmerican College Testing
No. of sections4 + one optional writing section
How many questions are on the ACT?215 + one optional essay
Total duration

2 hours 55 minutes

(additional 40 minutes for optional essay)

ACT score range1-36

Also read: SAT vs ACT: Which should you take?

How many questions are on the ACT?

There are 215 questions in total and one optional essay in the ACT exam. These questions are split into four sections. They are:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Writing (optional section)

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How many questions are on the ACT: A section-wise analysis

SectionsNo. of questionsTotal duration (in minutes)
English7545
Mathematics6060
Reading4035
Science4035
Writing (optional)1 (essay)40

Also read: What is the ACT exam pattern and syllabus for 2023?

How many questions are on the ACT English test?

There are a total of 75 multiple-choice questions in the ACT English test. This section comprises five passages to read and respond to questions with the most appropriate answers.

The given texts analyse your ability to assess and organise the content. So make sure to assess the text's content and writing style before working on the questions.

Here’s how your skills are tested in the ACT English section.

Production of Writing - 30-32%

Knowledge of Language - 12-18%

Conventions of standard English - 50-55%

Question types for the ACT English section

Question typeNo. of questionsSkills assessed
Usage and mechanics40Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure
Rhetorical35Choosing appropriate words, organising ideas, managing sentence elements

How many questions are on the ACT math test?

There are 60 multiple-choice questions in the ACT math test. The section lasts for 60 minutes. The questions are based on high school mathematics concepts that analyse your understanding and solve complex problems.

Concepts to expect in the ACT maths test

ConceptImportant topicsNo. of questionsWeightage
Pre-algebra

Percentages

Divisibility

Fractions

Square roots

Mean, median, mode

Exponents

Factors

1420-25%
Elementary Algebra

Linear and quadratic equations

Simplification

Binomials

1015-20%
Intermediate Algebra

Sequence and patterns

Matrics

Equations

Logarithms

0915-20%
Coordinate geometry

Surface area and volume

Lines and angles

Properties of shapes

0915-20%
Plane geometry

Line equations

Distance and mid-points

Slope calculations

1420-25%
TrigonometryTrigonometric graphs, identities, functions and equations0405-10%

How many questions are on the ACT reading test?

There are 40 multiple-choice questions in the ACT Reading test, lasting for 35 minutes. These questions evaluate your logical reasoning and interpretation of information. Here’s how your skills are analysed in the ACT Reading test.

  • Key ideas and details - 55-60%
  • Craft and structure - 25-30%
  • Integration of knowledge and ideas - 12-18%

How many passages are in ACT Reading?

The reading section consists of four passages followed by ten questions each. You can expect texts from these subjects.

ACT Reading test passages

ACT reading passageSubjects covered
Passage 1 - Social studies

Biography

Geography

History

Psychology

Sociology

Anthropology

Passage 2 - Prose fiction

Literature pieces like:

Novels

Personal essays

Short stories

Memoirs

Passage 3 - Natural science

Botany

Zoology

Anatomy

Microbiology

Meteorology

Geology

Astronomy

Passage 4 - Humanities

Theatre

Arts

Film

Dance

Music

Architecture

Radio

Television

Ethics

How many questions are on the ACT Science test?

There are 45 multiple-choice questions in the ACT Science test, lasting 35 minutes. The questions test certain skills like interpretation, evaluation, reasoning, analysis, and problem-solving. You can expect passages from various subjects, including physics, chemistry, biology, and earth sciences.

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ACT Science test: Question types

Question typeWeightage
Data representation30-40%
Research summary45-55%
Conflicting viewpoints15-20%

ACT Science test: Skills assessed

Skill assessedWeightage
Data interpretation45-50%
Scientific investigation20-30%
Evaluation of models, inferences and experimental results25-30%

Also read: 10 proven methods to pass your ACT exam

How many questions are on the ACT Writing test?

The optional writing section consists of one essay lasting for 40 minutes. You will be given a writing prompt on a complex issue. You are required to develop your own or an existing perspective on the problem and support your idea. Here are the skills ACT considers while evaluating your essay.

  • Ideas and analysis
  • Development and support
  • Organisation
  • Language use and conventions

Also read: 10 best ACT books recommended for ACT prep

Frequently asked questions

How many questions is the ACT exam?

The ACT exam consists of 215 multiple-choice questions and an optional essay. The questions are split among the four sections of the assessment: English (75 questions), Mathematics (60 questions), Reading (40 questions), and Science (40 questions).

How many ACT practice tests are there?

ACT has officially introduced six practice tests for international students to get familiar with the pattern and prepare for the exam. These practice tests follow the same format and duration as the actual test. Students can also make use of several practice tests available online to study and prepare for the assessment.

How many math questions are on the ACT exam?

There are 60 multiple-choice questions in the ACT math section, lasting for 60 minutes.

ACT: how many questions are there in each section?

Section 1 - English: 75 questions

Section 2 - Mathematics: 60 questions

Section 3 - Reading: 40 questions

Section 4 - Science: 40 questions

Optional writing section: 1 essay

What is the ACT exam used for?

The ACT exam is a standard assessment for international students to pursue their undergraduate degrees in the USA and Canada. The test evaluates the candidate’s skills and determines their eligibility for higher education. Several educational institutions use the ACT exam results for admission into different courses.

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