Act to Ace the ACT Practice Test

November 10, 2020
By AdmissionSight
a zoomed-in picture of an exam sheet

Act To Ace the ACT

What is the ACT?

On November 7, 1959, more than 75,000 students took the first ACT test. Now, ACT is taken by a million students per year. ACT paper test is a paper-based and computer-based standardized test that ensures the readiness of a student for admission to US colleges.

The ACT test is taken by a mission-driven nonprofit organization by the same name, ACT inc.

Test paper and a pencil

ACT is a broad-gauge examination and as a high schooler dreaming to land in an ivy college university you must prepare, prepare so well that you ace in all the sections, and henceforth score a high rank in the ACT practice test. In short, to get your act together you must practice as we at … believe in the high schoolers to achieve and we would tweak the saying by saying practice makes a high school student perfect. It is accepted by all the US colleges and universities having a four-year curriculum. Around 225 universities outside of the U.S. also accept this test for graduate admission. It is available worldwide. And taken seven times a year in the US and Canada February, April, June, July, September, October, and December. And five times a year in other countries.

The ACT consists of five subjects namely Math, Science English, Reading, and optional Writing a persuasive essay.


Questions(multiple choice) Time allocated College Readiness Benchmark


75 45




60 60 22


40 35


4 Reading 40 35


215 questions 175 min
5 Writing (optional) Essay


215 min

For every 215 questions, you have 175 minutes. So you must use the time wisely. Each question has multiple-choice answers of either four or five from which one needs to mark the correct one. If you think you may do the guesswork. Yes, you may but what about your score. How much do you want to score? Remember you can work hard or sometimes you can work smart but for an ACT score of 36, you need to work hard and work smart as well.

If you push yourself and proceed with writing a persuasive essay you will take another 40 minutes.

The scoring in the ACT is done in the range of 1 to 36. The average score of the ACT practice test is 21. A score greater than 21 is considered a good score.  If the composite score is 33 or above or top 3%, one gets into Yale. If one has a composite score of 34 or above one gets into Harvard.

In 2018, of the 1,914,817 students who had taken the ACT, 3741 students scored 36 out of 36.

Cost And Time To Take The ACT

Throughout the US the ACT practice test is offered seven times a year. And five times in other countries. One can register for the examination either online or through snail mail. Please allocate around forty minutes to fill the registration form online. You would need a recent headshot of yours and a mode of payment. For registration with the writing section, it will cost $70 USD (2020-2021), and for registration, without the writing section, it would cost you $55 USD (2020-2021) only. There are fee waivers available for the qualifying students. Please get in touch with your school counselors. If you are eligible for the fee waivers you will have access to the free learning resources. Click Here is the detailed information about the eligibility for the fee waiver – There is an additional fee for late registration, and if you want to change test options, postpone the test or there is a test center change or test date change.

Composite Score

STEM score

ELA score

ACT Math

True True

ACT Science



ACT English



ACT Reading



ACT Writing


ACT online preparation can be done anytime, anywhere. Even in the current times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

ACT English

75 questions, 45 minutes.

If you want to be at Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, you must have a score of 36 in ACT English. It can be compensated for the other low score. Say you scored 32 in Maths and 36 in English, so your total score is 34. The other scenario where you can score 36 in Maths and 32 in English is obviously rare. Hence it’s important to practice reading and writing to have a perfect 36 in English.  You must learn time management strategies to achieve a high pace. You must familiarise yourself with the glossary to study grammatical terms covered on the ACT practice test.

You got to awaken the sleeping writer in you once who makes decisions on rewriting. Yes, the best form of writing is rewriting. Edit, edit, and edit, and that’s how the writer in you will evolve. Of course, you got to wake up the writer first. Following up on the best of writers’ blogs and twitter accounts will give you an insight into a variety of rhetorical situations. Remember to write is to read first and keep on doing it.

In ACT English there are three reporting categories scores:

  1. Production of Writing (29–32%)
  2. Knowledge of Language (13–19%)
  3. Conventions of Standard English (51–56%)

Click here to order your official ACT guide for English

ACT Math

60 questions in 60-minutes.

Self-contained questions. Some may belong to a set of several – like graphs or charts. Basically to test the mathematical skill typically acquired by the students when they started grade 12. To ace in the ACT math, you got to learn and sharpen the problem-solving techniques. Do meditation and do practice, practice, and practice. Everyday practice for 60 minutes for solving 60 questions will help you conquer the most important aspect of the Math test: PRESSURE. Along with winning at the pressure if you will solve the same set of math questions that have come in the previous years or as provided by the ACT Math prep guide, you will also familiarize yourself with a plethora of math questions. Take the practice test often. Depending upon the difference between what’s your score and what do you want to score, you must design your daily math practice.  Suppose you took the math practice test and you scored a 32 but you want a score of 34. That extra 2 is not easy. You need to practice and learn from your mistakes to improve.

So practice + learn from your mistakes + stop repeating the same mistakes. If you are repeating your mistakes then you have not learned from your mistakes. Take time to learn. Nobody on this planet started to learn to walk easily. It took a few months for everyone and lots of learning from the mistakes. A toddler falls repeatedly before learning to walk. He of course cries sometimes but never gives up on trying and learning from the mistake. Everybody is unique. And so is our learning. Yes, there are common mistakes. So you may learn from your mistakes and also learn from others’ mistakes, too.

ACT Science

40 questions, 35 minutes.

The ACT Science test is designed to measure the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. The most important aspect to learn for conquering in ACT science is how to quickly and efficiently read graphs, charts, and introspect the data. This section actually boils down to READING and interpreting. You would also need to thoroughly review the vocabulary section to study terms covered in the science section. The test has general questions related to biology, chemistry, Earth/ space sciences (e.g., geology, astronomy, and meteorology), and physics.

There are three kinds of scientific information in the science test question passages:

  1. Data Representation (30–40%) – Graphs and tables basically to identify the relationships, interpolation and extrapolation, and translation of tabular data into graphs.
  2. Research Summaries (45–55%) – Description of one or more related experiments with a focus on the design and the interpretation.
  3. Conflicting Viewpoints (15–20%)- Two or more explanations for the same scientific phenomena. The questions are focussed on the understanding, analysis, and comparison of alternative viewpoints.

The most important thing to remember for the science test is to read the passage carefully and not the least – calculators are not allowed in the ACT science test. So, practice interpreting DATA.

ACT Reading

40 questions, 35 minutes.

The ACT reading test measures the ability to read closely, reason logically based on evidence, and integrate information provided via multiple sources.

Don’t you want to have a perfect 36 just by reading? If your answer is yes, then just read, read and read. Remember, reading is writing. By reading, you understand a perspective and then you answer it which is your introspective and interpretation. As a human, we evolve by reading more.

Student reading a book in a library

The test determines a score based on the following key factors.

  1. Key Ideas and Details (55–60%) – to read to identify central ideas and themes. To brief information and ideas accurately. To Determine the relationships and draw interpretations.
  2. Craft and Structure (25–30%) – to check vocabulary and choice of words, to understand the perspective; and points of view.
  3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (13–18%) to understand claims and figure out the difference between facts and opinions.

The most important winning factor to ace in the ACT practice test reading is to learn to read faster and faster and retain. Meditation is going to help students multi-folds in reading. As one improves one’s mind’s ability to concentrate on a given subject/object one reads faster and memory sharpens.

ACT Writing

It’s optional. 40 minutes. One essay.

Though this argumentative essay is optional, it will provide you and your school with additional scores. Though, if a student takes the writing test it doesn’t affect the subject area scores or the composite score but without a writing score there won’t be any English Language Arts (ELA) score reported.

Post-2015, the writing test score of the essay is based on the following four criteria-

  1. Ideas and Analysis,
  2. Development and Support,
  3. Organization, and
  4. Language Use and Convention

The persuasive writing score is to test the multiple perspectives of the given issues, the rationale for the arguments with examples, clarity organization,  cohesiveness, grammar, syntax, word usage, mechanics style, and tone.

Two reviewers provide scoring on individually for the four scoring rubrics.


Score by Reviewer 1 Score by Reviewer 2

Combined score


Ideas and Analysis

1-6 1-6



Development and Support

1-6 1-6




1-6 1-6



Language Use and Convention

1-6 1-6


ELA score (average of the ACT English, ACT reading and ACT writing test scores)


A student is given forty minutes to plan and compose. There is a guidance structure for planning and prewriting. You may go through sample essay tests at the ACT site:  Click here

Building mental stamina through health.

You need around 3 of daily practice minimum if you need to score a passing grade but if you want to perfect top score all you need to do is practice for 4 hrs daily for a score of 36.

students taking an exam

You must inculcate strategy to stay focussed. Do meditation, tai chi, martial arts or any other sports to cultivate that stamina. Meditation is the key to develop the focus and curb the stress, anxiety, or panic mode.

Focus on food. Yes. right body right mind.

Be creative.

Practice time management

New Options For The ACT

Starting with the September 2020 national test date, new options for the ACT practice test are coming: section retesting, super scoring, and faster results.

Parents and students, you may stay in the loop and may check for the detail here https://www.act.org/content/act/en/act-september-2020.html or check out this video on the youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=KlTVxqkvLRs&feature=emb_logo


ACT Practice Test is a simple baby step that you need to take to ace for the ACT practice test. At AdmissionSight, we believe that you have to be your own disciple and develop self-discipline and determination to win that scholarship you have been dreaming of, to get admission in the top university,  to have a bright future where salary starts at his six fixtures. It’s all possible if you want it.

At AdmissionSight, we help students navigate the complex college admissions process. AdmissionSight showcases students on how to strengthen their leadership skills and increase community-service involvement. If you are a concerned parent of a high schooler or a graduate wondering about the future of your child’s education or you are unable to decide about selecting the right college or you are pondering on the right subject for the right career path, please feel free to contact us today.

AdmissionSight serves students gladly.


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