ACT – American College Testing – Passing The Exam Tips & Tricks

If anyone is preparing for undergraduate studies in the USA, then he or she needs to learn a lot about ACT Exam Pattern 2018. However, before understanding the exam pattern of ACT, let’s try to throw some light on ACT itself.

What is ACT?

Acronym of American College Testing, ACT is a non-profit organization that conducts Test to measure the preparation of the high school students in the US to pursue undergraduate studies after completing high school. This is one of the reasons why it is important to understand the ACT 2018 exam pattern.

What is the ACT exam pattern 2018?

ACT exam pattern 2018 is designed in such a way that the participants of the tests connect with their high school curriculum. Furthermore, ACT tests have two formats of the exam and the ACT exam candidates have the choice to appear in within of the two formats. The two formats are:

    1. ACT (without/no writing)
  1. ACT (with writing)

The selection of the format profusely depends on the requirement of the college that the candidates are planning to get enrolled in. An important point that candidates must remember is that the ACT exam will be computer-based from September 2018 onwards in testing. Apart from this, the candidates also need to know that the duration of the exam will be 2 hours and 55 minutes

What are the subjects that are included in the ACT exam?

Broadly, there are four subjects included in the ACT test. These are:

    1. English
    1. Mathematics
    1. Science
  1. Reading

It is not easy to pass this exam. That is why here the pattern of ACT 2018 has been discussed. Here, the students will learn what types of questions are asked in the exam and how to score in ACT. The candidates will also get a fair idea about sub-scoring topics here. Drive through the write-up and learn all the things that will help them in passing ACT 2018. However, before that, it is important to understand the difference between SAT and ACT, as there are many students who get confused with these two.

What is the difference between ACT and SAT?

Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT is largely an Aptitude Test that makes it longer, while in ACT, the questions are directly related to the things students have learnt in their high school curriculum. This means that the ACT test assesses the endurance level of a candidate. Further, there is a section in SAT where the candidates need to solve mathematical problems without the help of a calculator and Free ACT Practice Test Prep is one of the best sites to get the practice test questions. Both the exams will help the students get enrolled in a reputed college in the US. The candidates may choose SAT or ACT, but choosing ACT will be easier for the candidates. Nevertheless, for this, they need to have clarity with the ACT 2018 exam pattern, as here there are 215 questions to solve, which is not a piece of cake. Quick Highlights of ACT exam pattern 2018:

    1. Total Duration of the exam – 2 hours and 55 minutes
    1. Number of Questions – 215 or 216 (in ACT with writing format one extra essay question will be there)
    1. Testing Subjects – English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science
    1. Exam Format – ACT (no writing) and ACT (with writing)
  1. Type of Questions – Multiple-choice questions (MCQ)

Extra Information

    1. For ACT containing optional essay writing, an extra 40 minutes will be given to the candidates.
  1. Sections of the ACT Exam Pattern 2018


This is a mandatory section that consists of 75 multiple-choice questions. The duration of the ACT English section is 45 minutes. This test includes six areas and these are –

    1. Sentence structure
    1. Strategy
    1. Punctuation
    1. Grammar and its usage
    1. Organization
  1. Style

In English, there are two sections – Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills subscore.

Usage/Mechanics- This includes questions related to punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure. Rhetorical Skills sub-score. This includes questions related to strategy, organization, and style.


This is a section multiple-choice test that includes 60 questions. As per the 2018 ACT exam pattern, this section is of 60 minutes. It tries to gauge the candidates’ mathematical capability typically, which he or she has attained during their high school. 

All the questions are analytical and the students need to apply their reasoning skills to solve these practical problems. The candidates must have a fundamental knowledge of formulas and computational skills to solve the Maths ACT questions. The candidates are allowed to carry a calculator and use it in this section. 


This is a 35-minute test section that consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. In Reading ACT section, the candidates’ ability to solve questions after reading a comprehension is assessed. The candidates have to answer the questions of the passage on the basis of two things:

    • Skills to understand the things written in the passage
  • Pick-up the points from the passage that answers the questions


This is also a 35-minute test that comprises of 40 science test multiple-choice questions just like the Reading section. In Science ACT test, the candidates’ problem-solving skills are assessed in addition to Reasoning, Interpretation, Analysis, and Evaluation. However, use of a calculator is prohibited here.

Writing (Essay)

This section is included in ACT (only writing) format exam. This includes an essay test of 40-minutes. This analyses the skills of the students in the composition of an essay that students of high-school attain in their entry-level college composition courses.

In this section, firstly an issue is described. After this three options are offered to the students. The students are required to select the best alternative. For this, the candidates must analyze all the alternatives from their own perspective. However, the score is not affected on the basis of individual’s perspective. 

How is the score calculated?

The best thing about ACT is that it doesn’t have negative marking. The scores of the candidates depend on the number of correct answers. Further, for reliable college and career planning insights, ACT involves enhanced scoring pattern. These are:

Text Complexity Progress Indicator

    • STEM Score
    • ELA Score
  • Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator


If anyone is willing to pass the ACT exam and want to score high, then he or she must pay heed to all the aforementioned things. The ACT exam pattern 2018 is not very difficult if the student understands the pattern of the exam completely.