ACT Exam Pattern 2019
Ranjini Basu, 28 Jan 2019, #ACT

ACT Exam Pattern 2019: ACT® Test is conducted by ACT (a non-profit organisation) to assess the readiness of the high school students aspiring to pursue undergraduate studies in the US; therefore the ACT 2019 exam pattern has been designed in a way that the test takers can connect with their high school curriculum. According to the ACT exam pattern 2019, candidates can choose to appear in any of the two formats of ACT test, namely ACT (without/no writing) or ACT (with writing). Candidates can choose the test format depending on the requirement of the candidates’ desired college in the US. The subjects which are included in the ACT test are English, Mathematics, Science, and Reading. In this article by careers360, candidates would be able to gather information on the exam pattern of ACT 2019 including the type of questions, scoring pattern, sub-scoring topics etc.

There is a sharp distinction between SAT and ACT. Unlike the former, ACT 2019 is not an Aptitude or an IQ test, as questions are directly related to what students have learnt during the high school days. The ACT test also measures the endurance level of a candidate as in accordance with the ACT 2019 exam pattern, they need to solve 215 questions in a span of about four hours.

Fast Facts related to ACT exam pattern 2019

Total Duration

2 hours and 55 minutes

Exam Format

Two formats- ACT (no writing)

                      ACT (with writing)

Number of Questions

215 or 216 (One extra essay question for ACT with writing)

Type of Questions

Multiple-choice questions (MCQ)

Testing Subjects

English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science

Other information

Additional 40 minutes is given to candidates who opt for ACT(with optional essay writing)

ACT Exam Pattern 2019: Section-wise details

English: The duration of the English test is 45 minutes and consists of 75 multiple-choice questions, covering six areas: sentence structure, strategy, punctuation, grammar and usage, organization, and style. Questions pertaining to punctuation, grammar and sentence structure come under the Usage/Mechanics. Questions pertaining to strategy, organization and style are part of the Rhetorical Skills subscore.

Mathematics: According to the ACT 2019 exam pattern, the mathematics section of ACT test takes 60 minutes to complete 60 questions; a multiple-choice test which assesses a student’s mathematical capability typically acquired in school courses until Grade 12.

Test takers need to use their analytical and reasoning skills to solve practical problems in the mathematics section. Also, candidates need to know and apply the basic formulas and computational skills, basic knowledge of the subject. Candidates are not expected to know complex formulas and perform extensive computation in the ACT examination. A permitted calculator can be used on the mathematics section alone. It is the responsibility of the test takers to ensure whether their calculator is permitted.

ACT Calculator Policy

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Reading: The reading section of the ACT Test is a 35-minute test comprising of 40 multiple-choice questions that evaluate candidates’ ability to solve reading comprehension questions. During the test, aspirants are required to derive meaning from several academic text passages that they are presented by:

  • referring to what has been explicitly mentioned

  • using their reasoning skills to determine the implicit meaning

Science: The science test, according to the ACT exam pattern 2019 measures the candidate's Reasoning, Interpretation, Analysis, Evaluation, and problem-solving skills, which are considered a pre-requisite for admission in the natural sciences. The entire Science section takes 35-minutes to complete and comprises of 40 questions. Use of a calculator isn’t allowed during the science test.

Writing (Essay): The 40-minute writing test (or essay test) includes one writing prompt for judging a student’s writing skills –especially those skills that were acquired in high school and in entry-level college composition courses.

The test describes an issue and presents three alternatives before the student. Students are then required to evaluate and analyze these alternatives; come up with their own perspective, and finally to compare their perspective with those given. Also, scores aren’t affected by the nature of the perspective you take.

Salient Features related to the ACT 2019 exam pattern 

  • The ACT exam pattern 2019 is designed based on high school curriculum to evaluate the academic capability of an aspirant in English, Mathematics, Reading and Science.

  • ACT Scores 2019 is based on the number of correct answers. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers.

  • It includes an enhanced scoring pattern for reliable college and career planning insights: STEM Score, ELA Score, Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator, and Text Complexity Progress Indicator.

The table below explains the length and timing of ACT exam pattern 2019:


Duration (minutes)

Number of Question/Task

Number of answer options




Five-choices, multiple-choice questions




Four-choice, multiple-choice referring and reasoning questions




Four-choices for one question, multiple-choice data representation, research summaries, and conflicting viewpoints questions




Four-choice, multiple-choice usage/mechanics and rhetorical skills questions

Writing (optional essay)



One writing prompt

The ACT conducting body does not specify any ACT eligibility criteria of ACT 2019, but considering it is a college admission test, it is generally taken by high school graduates across the globe. Typically, students aged above 13 appear for the ACT exam since they are the ones looking forward to admissions in the US schools for undergraduate studies. ACT exam is conducted over multiple dates and across many centres but candidates need to choose the preferred ACT 2019 test date and ACT test centre 2019.

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