ACT 2020 PATTERN & SYLLABUS
American College Testing (ACT) is a systemized test to assess the preparedness of high school students for universities across US. It is held in US and around the globe by ACT, the conducting body of same name.
Below is the comprehensive ACT exam pattern, scoring scheme and Syllabus.
ACT has 4 tests – English, Math, Reading and Science as mandatory. It offers Writing test as optional called ACT Plus Writing.
Main points about the test is tabled below:
|Content of the Test||English, Math, Reading and Science. Optional test – Writing.|
|Test Options||Option 1 – ACT without Writing Option 2 – ACT Plus Writing|
|Duration of the test||2 hours 55 minutes (40 minutes extra for writing paper)|
|Number of Questions||215 (plus 1 for Writing)|
|Type of Questions||Multiple Choice Questions|
|Negative Marking||No Negative Marking|
The total test duration of the test is 2 hours and 55 minutes while additional 40 minutes is given to the students who opt for writing test. There are 215 questions of all tests combined and 1 essay question is attempted by the students after finishing the MCQs questions. Subject-wise distribution of questions and duration is tabulated below:
|Name of the Test||No. of Questions||Duration of Test||Type of Test|
|English||75||45 minutes||MCQs – 4 choices|
|Mathematics||60||60 minutes||MCQs – 5 choices|
|Reading||40||35 minutes||MCQs – 4 choices|
|Science||40||35 minutes||MCQs – 4 choices|
|Writing||1 essay||40 minutes||1 writing prompt|
The students who are approved as disabled or with low English proficiency will be given 50% additional time to attempt each section. For English they will have 70 minutes, 90 minutes for Mathematics, and 55 minutes for Reading and Science each. These students if taking Writing test will have 60 minutes to finish it.
ACT, the conducting body of American College Testing converts the marks of the students for each correct answer into a scale of 1 – 36 to make sure that no one is being benefitted or harmed by the difficulty level of the tests on different dates as it is not feasible to set the question papers with exact same difficulty level.
For each subject your raw score are converted to a scale score of range 1 – 36. The scale score of 4 subjects is then aggregated and divided by 4 and rounded to the nearest whole number which gives you the ACT Composite Score.
Writing test is evaluated by two examiners on a scale of 1 – 6 based on 4 domains discussed below in the article. The final score is added and you are awarded on arrange of 2 – 12. This score is given separately so it does not affect the composite score. The scoring scheme is tabulated below:
|Name of the Test||Scoring Scheme|
|English||1 – 36 marks|
|Mathematics||1 – 36 marks|
|Reading||1 – 36 marks|
|Science||1 – 36 marks|
|Writing||1 – 12 marks|
There is no negative marking in the test for any subject.
ACT contains 4 tests – English, Reading, Mathematics and Science along with an optional Writing test. It examines your knowledge you gained during your schooling years since the syllabus is embodied with the topics taught in the high school. The difficulty level of questions asked is similar to that of senior secondary level.
Here is the Subject – wise descriptive syllabus:
In the English test, four or five passages and essays are given followed by questions based on them. The question will refer to a sentence/ stanza or paragraph given and offer 4 options to choose the correct one. Some question will also have the “No error” option. The test examines your editing, omitting, rephrasing and revising abilities. The English test can be divided in three sections with specified weightage:
In the Reading test, three long prose passages and two short prose passages will be given. The passages will have a relevant title, author and source and important background information as well so that student can have the idea about the purpose of the passages. The questions will not test the English proficiency of the students but their logical reasoning, understanding sequence of events, analyzing relationships and interpretation of text using evidences and significant details. The Reading test can be divided in three parts:
In the Mathematics test students will be given two types of grade 12 level questions – straightforward and complex. The former will test your knowledge of formulas, topics, concepts and theorems while the later will test your skills of solving complex problems, applying varied concepts understanding connections and demonstrating fluency. The Mathematics test can be divided in two sections:
In the science test, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, interpretation and problem solving skills of the students is tested which is required in natural science. The questions will be based on actual scientific scenario from biology, chemistry, earth/space science, geology, astronomy, meteorology and physics. Only basics are required, no advance knowledge in required. The Science test is divided in three sections:
The writing test will check the writing skills of the students which is taught in high school. In this the students will be given any topic to write an essay on. Topic will be related to any complex issue of the society, political, social, legal or economical. The essay should require students to explain the issue, its causes, effects and solutions. The writing will be judged on the following domain:
*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College