Overview of the ACT The ACT is administered by the ACT, “an independent, not-for- profit organization that provides a broad array of assessment, research, information, and program management solutions in the areas of education and workforce development” Total test time is 3 hours and 25 minutes (including the 30 minute optional writing test) There are 215 questions on the ACT The ACT is scored by machine. Consequently, circles on the answer sheet must be filled out completely, and in a neat manner
Overview of the ACT continued… The ACT contains 5 separate, timed sectionsI. EnglishII. MathematicsIII. ReadingIV. ScienceV. Writing Note: the writing section is optional. However, it is highly recommended that all students complete the writing section
Sections of the ACT: EnglishEnglish45 minutes 75 questions in total 5 passagesQuestion Types: 40 usage/mechanics questions punctuation, grammar, usage, and sentence structure 35 rhetorical strategy questions style, organization, and writing strategy
Sample English ProblemExample of a usage/mechanical problem:Passage: I grew up with buckets, shovels, and nets waiting by the back door; hip-waders hanging in the closet; tide table charts covering the refrigerator door; and a microscope was sitting on the kitchen table. A. NO CHANGE B. would sit C. sitting D. sat
And the Answer is… The best answer is C. The verb form sitting is best here because it creates a parallel structure for all three items in the series: "nets waiting," "hip-waders hanging," "a microscope sitting." The best answer is NOT A because the phrase was sitting makes the third item in the series not parallel with the first two items. The best answer is NOT B because the phrase would sit makes the third item in the series not parallel with the first two items. The best answer is NOT D because the verb sat makes the third item in the series not parallel with the first two items.
Sections of the ACT: MathematicsMathematics60 minutes, 60 questionsQuestion types: 14 Pre-Algebra problems real numbers, linear equations, simple probability, data interpretation, and simple statistics 10 Elementary Algebra problems polynomials, exponents, and quadratic equations 9 Intermediate Algebra problems rational and algebraic expressions, inequalities, logarithms, complex numbers, sequences, and matrices 9 Coordinate Algebra problems graphing, linear equations, conics, and other curves 14 Plane Geometry problems understanding of angles, line segments, triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, and circles 4 Trigonometry problems trigonometric functions, as well as sines, cosines, and tangents
Sample Mathematics ProblemA car averages 27 miles per gallon. If gas costs $4.04 per gallon, which of the following is closest to how much the gas would cost for this car to travel 2,727 typical miles? A. $ 44.44 B. $109.08 C. $118.80 D. $408.04 E. $444.40
And the Answer Is…The Correct Answer is D If you divide 2,727 miles by 27 miles per gallon you will get the number of gallons needed to travel 2,727 miles 2,727/27 = 101 Then, multiply the number of gallons by the cost per gallon: 101(4.04) = 408.04 This gives the cost of gas for this car to travel 2,727 typical miles.
Sections of the ACT: Mathematics Note: Calculators are allowed and HIGHLY ENCOURAGED on the ACT Mathematics sectionPermitted Calculators You may use any four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator, unless it has features described in the Prohibited Calculators list
Sections of the ACT: ReadingReading35 minutes 40 questions total 4 passages - each containing 10 questionsPassage Types: Prose Fiction – an excerpt from a short story or novel Humanities – an excerpt describing and analyzing a work of art or an artist Social Science – an excerpt presenting researched material Natural Science – an excerpt presenting a science related topic
Sections of the ACT: ScienceScience35 minutes 40 questions 7 passages Earth Science BiologyPassage Types: Chemistry Physics Most of the information necessary to understand the passages on the science section of the ACT is presented directly or implicitly within each passage Calculators are not permitted because they should not be necessary to solve any of the questions
Sections of the ACT: WritingWriting30 minutes Requires the test taker to provide an essay response to a given prompt While this section is optional, it is highly recommended that all test takers complete the writing section of the ACT! Your score on the writing section of the ACT will range from 1 (low) to 6 (high). This score will not affect your composite ACT score
Sections of the ACT: Writing Develop your own position according to the prompt!! Support your position using reasons and examples. Clearly state your position in the introductory paragraphs. Organize your essay in a coherent manner that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. DO NOT WRITE OFF-TOPIC
Sample ACT Writing Prompt At some high schools, teachers have considered allowing each student to choose the books he or she will read for English class rather than requiring all students in class to read the same books. Some teachers support such a policy because they think students will greatly improve their reading skills if they read books they find interesting. Other teachers do not support such a policy because they think that students will learn more by participating in class discussing with others who have read the same books. In your opinion, should each individual student be allowed to choose the books he or she reads for English class? In your essay, take a position on this question.You may write about either one of the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
How the ACT is scored The ACT is scored on a scale between 1 (low) and 36 (high) Each section is also scored on a scale between 1 and 36 A composite score for each test is found by averaging the scores from each of the 4 sections of the ACT For example, a student with a 24 on English, 22 on Mathematics, 22 on Reading, and 20 on Science will receive an ACT score of 22: 24+22+22+20 = 22 4 The national average ACT score is 21 The average ACT score of a Texas student is 20
Important strategies for the ACT Become familiar with the format of the test. Know what to expect and you will be less nervous on test day Answer EVERY question on the test. You do not lose points for guessing on the ACT Limit your time on any one question. All questions are worth the same number of points. If you need a lot of time to answer a question, go on to the next one. Later, you may have time to return to the question you skipped.
Important strategies for the ACT (continued…) Keep track of time. Work at a steady pace and remember that you do not have the time to get bogged down on any one question. Use your test booklet as scratch paper. Mark the questions in your booklet that you skipped and want to return to later. Read each question carefully. Be sure you know exactly what each question asks.
Important strategies for the ACT (continued…) Use the answer choices to help you when you’re unsure. Remember the correct answer is right there on the page. Use POE (process of elimination) to eliminate wrong answer choices. Check your answer sheet to make sure you are answering the right question. Fill in the circles on your answer sheet completely and in a neat manner.
What to expect on test daySchedule 7:30-7:45 Arrive 8:00 Testing room doors close 8:30-9:00 Testing starts Throughout the test there will be one short break after the first two sections, and one additional break before the fourth section and the writing section 12:30-1:00 Test Ends
Differences between the SAT and the ACT The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school; it is described by admissions officers and educators as a “content-based test.” The SAT is an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities; it tests critical thinking and problem solvingThe Key Differences: The ACT includes a science reasoning test; the SAT does not. The ACT math section includes trigonometry; the SAT does not The writing test is optional on the ACT and is done last; the writing section is required on the SAT and is done first The SAT has an experimental section that is unscored (but you won’t know which section it is); the ACT does not have an experimental section The SAT tests vocabulary much more than the ACT. The SAT is not entirely multiple choice (there is a grid-in portion in the math section); the ACT is entirely multiple choice. The SAT has a guessing penalty (1/4 point off the total raw score, which is converted into your scaled final score); the ACT does not