What is the ACT®?

The ACT requires fast thinking and steady pacing. Kaplan is here to make sure you know exactly what to expect from the test—and exactly how to beat it.

About the ACT

Get ready by learning to recognize the test’s 16 question types. Doing so will help you choose the best strategies quickly and easily as you tackle sections on English, Math, Reading and Science – and an optional section focusing on Writing.


Minutes to complete

Number of questions



45 Minutes

75 Questions

Testing Usage, Mechanics, and Rhetorical Skills


60 Minutes

60 Questions

Testing Pre-Algebra, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry, and Trigonometry


35 Minutes

40 Questions

Passages include Social Studies, Natural Sciences, ​Literary Narrative or Prose Fiction, and Humanities


35 Minutes

40 Questions

Testing Data Analysis, Experimental Results, Conflicting Viewpoint


40 Minutes


You will be asked to write about your position on an issue in response to a question

How to pace yourself on the ACT

The ACT covers 215 questions in 2 hours and 55 minutes, plus an optional 40-minute Writing Test. That’s less than one minute per question! Plenty of practice is one of the best ways to develop the steady pacing you’ll need.

Scoring your success

The ACT is scored on a 36-point scale. Each of the four multiple-choice sections receives a score of 1 to 36, and your composite score is an average of your four section scores. The optional Writing Test is scored separately. Learn More

How to prepare for the ACT

No matter what stage of ACT prep you’re in, Kaplan can help raise your score. Just getting started? Join one of our free online info sessions.

Not sure if the ACT is right for you?

If you’re deciding between the ACT and the SAT, you’ll want to know the benefits and format of both tests. Learn the differences between the ACT and SAT, and then take our ACT vs. SAT quiz to learn which test is best for you.


Let our expert teachers be your guide with a prep course that fits your schedule. No matter what stage of ACT prep you’re in, Kaplan can help raise your score.