The ACT test is a standardized college admissions test that allows students to demonstrate their academic skills in English, reading, math, and science. The ACT is composed of four multiple-choice sections and an optional essay section.
Most students take the ACT test during their junior or senior year of high school. However, some students may choose to take the ACT test earlier, depending on their college admissions goals. But how should they prepare for this test and how long does it take?
How Long Will It Take to Complete the ACT?
Let`s start with the fact that there are several sections in ACT test and each of them has its own time limit. So, the total duration of the ACT test is 215 minutes with an essay. But in fact, you should know how much time each of these sections takes.
ACT English consists of 75 questions to be answered in 45 minutes. This section is designed to test your ability to understand and analyze complex passages.
The reading section of the ACT consists of 40 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. This section is designed to test your ability to read and comprehend long passages.
The math section of the ACT consists of 60 questions to be answered in 60 minutes. This section is designed to test your ability to solve mathematical problems.
The science section of the ACT consists of 40 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. This section is designed to test your ability to interpret scientific data.
Writing (it is optional)
Finally, the writing section is designed to test your ability to write an essay. This section is not required, but we recommend that you take it if you are applying to a college that requires the ACT with Writing. The writing section consists of 1 essay to be written in 40 minutes.
As you can see, the ACT test is composed of several sections, each with its own time limit. So, the total duration of the ACT test is 215 minutes with an essay and 175 without it. But in fact, you should know how much time each of these sections takes.
How Hard Is Each Section?
ACT is not only about time management but also about the difficulty of each section. In other words, it is not only about how fast you can answer the questions but also about how many of them you can answer correctly.
The English section of the ACT is actually the longest section. Each of 75 questions is worth 1 point. The difficulty level of the questions varies from easy to difficult. In fact, many students admit that the English section is pretty easy if you are a native speaker. However, if English is not your first language, this section can be pretty challenging.
Reading determines whether students can understand and analyze long passages. The section consists of 4 passages with 10 questions each. The main fine point in this section is that students may hurry up and make careless mistakes. So, the key to success is to read the passages carefully and answer the questions accurately.
The Math section assesses students` ability to solve mathematical problems. The math section consists of 60 questions, each worth 1 point. The themes of the questions are Pre-Algebra, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry, and Trigonometry. The math section is usually considered to be the most difficult one. So, students should be really careful while answering the questions. Many of them hire tutors in order to be able to answer 1 question per minute.
When it comes to the Science section, students should know that it is not about their knowledge of science but about their ability to interpret scientific information. The section consists of 40 questions, each worth 1 point. The themes of the questions are Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics. Sometimes there is more Chemistry or Physics, but in general, the questions are divided equally among the themes.
The Writing section is designed to test students` ability to write an essay. The essay should be well-organized and well-developed. It is advisable to spend about 10 minutes on planning and 25 minutes on writing. The essay is not graded, but the ACT scorers will evaluate it according to the following criteria: organization, development, and effective use of language.
As you can see, each section of the ACT test has its own time limit and difficulty level. So, it is important to be aware of both when preparing for the test. Good luck!
How to complete the ACT quicker?
There are a lot of tips and hints on how can students spend less time on each section and don`t worry about how long it takes for them to complete the ACT. Here we will share with you some of the most efficient and popular methods.
First of all, it is important to know that the ACT test is not a sprint but a marathon. So, students should pace themselves and focus on accuracy rather than speed. the best way to be quicker is not to think about your speed! If you will focus only on timing, you will make more mistakes and it will cost you a lot of time to fix them.
Secondly, it is advisable to start with the easier questions and come back to the more difficult ones later. This way you will save some time and be able to focus on the questions that require more attention. That`s no wonder that in the test you will find the order of the questions is not random but goes from the easiest to the most difficult.
Next, if you see that the question takes a lot of time, go to the following one and come back to the difficult one later. It is important not to spend too much time on one question as it can impact your performance on the whole test. You will be able to come back with some more questions already answered. And that is a good way not to hold on to one point.
Finally, check the time left no more than every 30 minutes. If you will keep looking at the clock, you will only get distracted and won`t be able to focus on the questions. Just try to answer as many questions as possible in the time given.
Use these methods and you are sure to complete the ACT quicker and without any stress! And remember – practice makes perfect! So, the more you practice, the better your results will be.
How to improve your time management skill?
That is not only about the ACT completing, this skill will be useful in your future life.
First of all, you need to find out how much time you actually spend on completing the tasks. This can be easily done with the help of a planner or a calendar. Just write down everything you do during the day and how long it takes you to do it. This way you will be able to see which activities take up most of your time.
After that, you need to find out which activities are really important for you and which ones can be either eliminated or delegated to someone else. For example, if you spend a lot of time watching TV, you can try to reduce this activity by setting a limit for yourself. Or, if you spend a lot of time talking on the phone, you can try to use the speakerphone or send text messages instead.
The next step is to make a schedule for yourself. This schedule should include all the important activities that you need to do during the day. Try to be realistic and don`t overload yourself with too many tasks. It is also important to leave some free time for yourself so that you can relax and enjoy your life.
Also, you can use different time management apps and tools to help you stay on track. There are a lot of different options out there, so you can find the ones that suit your needs the best. For instance, you can use a to-do list app to keep track of your tasks, or you can use a Pomodoro timer to help you focus on one task at a time.
Moreover, students can try different studying techniques that can help them save time. For example, you can try the SQ3R technique which stands for survey, question, read, recite, and review. This technique can help you save a lot of time when reading texts as it helps you to focus on the most important information. All you have to do is to survey the text first, ask yourself some questions about it, read it, recite it to yourself, and review it later.
You can also try different memorization techniques such as mnemonic devices. These techniques can help you remember information more effectively and thus save a lot of time that you would otherwise spend on studying.
Finally, it is important to remember that time management is a skill that you need to work on every day. So, don`t be discouraged if you don`t see results right away. Just keep working on it and eventually, you will start seeing the improvements.
What else should you know to complete the ACT?
So, now you know we answered your question on how long does it take to pass the test. What else should you know to be prepared?
To start with, it is important to understand the structure of the ACT. We already mentioned that there are four sections on the ACT – English, Math, Reading, and Science. However, there is also an optional Writing section. This section is not compulsory, but we still recommend that you take it as it can improve your chances of getting into a good college.
The difficulty of ACT questions is usually medium. However, there are always a few difficult questions in each section. So, don`t worry if you can`t answer all the questions correctly. Just try to do your best and move on.
Also note, that the maximum score for the ACT is 36. However, the average score is usually around 21. So, don`t freak out if your score is not perfect. Just try to improve it little by little and eventually, you will get the results you want. Most universities don`t have a minimum score requirement, but they always prefer students with higher ACT scores.
As for the preparation time, we can tell that it depends on whether you study alone or with a tutor. Courses and one-on-one tutoring can be expensive, but they will help you save a lot of time as they will provide you with all the necessary materials and will help you focus on your weak points.
However, if you decide to study on your own, you can still find a lot of free ACT prep resources online. Just make sure to use only reliable sources such as the official ACT website or Khan Academy.
And finally, it is important to remember that the ACT is just a test. It is not the only thing that colleges look at when making decisions about admissions.