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Is The ACT Multiple Choice?
By Riley Stoltenburg Updated on October 31, 2023
Rick Lopez, M.Ed. Rick Lopez, M.Ed.

Is The ACT Multiple Choice?

Everything you need to know about the kinds of questions that are on the ACT

Despite the fact that the ACT is now just as popular as the SAT among college-bound high schoolers, a lot of people don’t have any clue as to the format of the exam until they take their first practice test. In fact, they don’t even know if it’s a multiple-choice test. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about how the ACT is formatted, including a discussion of question types and section breakdowns.

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Is The ACT All Multiple Choice?

The short answer to whether the ACT is all multiple choice is sort of. I know, I hate evasive answers too. Here’s the scoop.

The ACT has four multiple-choice test sections: English, Reading, Math, and Science. However, it also has an optional section for writing an essay.

So in a manner of speaking, yes, the ACT is all multiple choice, as the essay portion is optional.

That being said, it’s generally considered a good idea to complete the writing section since some schools require it. You will only have to to write a single essay and you get 40 minutes to complete it. So assuming you do the optional essay, then the ACT is technically not all multiple choice.

Is The ACT All Multiple Choice

How Many Multiple-Choice Questions Are On The ACT In Total?

There are a total of 215 multiple-choice questions found on the ACT, all spread across the four sections noted above. That is a lot of problems to answer in under three hours.

Knowing the amount of time that you have to answer the questions in each section is critical when it comes to preparing for the ACT. You need to make sure you practice time management skills so you can answer everything in the various sections. Time management is almost as important as content knowledge.

How Many English Questions Are On The ACT?

On the English portion of the test, you will have 45 minutes to answer 75 questions. This breaks down to about 36 seconds per question. 😳

Part of the reason why this speed is possible is because the exam features just four answers per question.

The English section will test for grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills, among some other knowledge and skills. The English section has the most questions and the least time to answer each of them, so again, time management is essential here.

How Many Multiple-Choice Questions Are On The ACT In Total

How Many Math Questions Are On The ACT?

You will have 60 minutes to answer 60 math questions, which have five answer choices each. In other words, you get a minute per question.

Questions in the math section will cover algebra I and II, as well as geometry and some trigonometry. When studying for the test, you should focus on these areas.

Most of the questions will be standalone, but some may ask you to refer to a diagram or table to answer several related questions. Interestingly, the questions in this section get more difficult as you progress through them.

How Many Reading Questions Are On The ACT?

The reading section features just 40 questions, and you will have 35 minutes to complete this portion of the test. This means you get less than a minute per question.

Once again, because of the speed component, each multiple-choice question will have just four choices. You will read four passages covering fiction, social studies, humanities, and natural sciences.

Each of the passages is between 800 and 1,000 words long. Then, you will have to answer 10 questions for each passage. This part of the test is meant to test reading comprehension skills.

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How Many Science Questions Are On The ACT?

The science portion of the ACT features 40 multiple-choice questions with four answer choices per question.

Students get 35 minutes to answer questions on science-based topics which are generally presented through tables, charts, graphs, and research summaries. However, while knowing biology, chemistry, and physics is essential, most of the questions can be answered using reasoning and logic to understand the information provided.

In other words, critical thinking is more important than rote memorization for this section.

Tips For Solving ACT Questions

Below are a few tips that could help you to improve your score on the ACT.

👉 Tip #1: Shore Up Your Weak Areas

Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Let go of your pride and identify where you are weak. If you are great at mathematics but struggle with reading comprehension or grammar, then you know where to place most of your efforts when studying. Focus mainly on your areas of weakness, but don’t forget to brush up on your areas of strength, as well.

👉 Tip #2: Take Practice Exams

One of the best ways to see how you are going to fare on the ACT is to take practice tests online. These will give you a better idea of the types of questions you will face, and how long it typically takes you to get through each section. Not to mention, there is a strong correlation between number of practice exams taken and score improvement. Practice makes perfect (or at least, close to).

👉 Tip #3: Improve Time Management

Always start at the beginning, but don’t be afraid to skip answers that might take up a lot of time or that are too difficult to solve at the start. Be aware of how much time you are spending on each question and how much time you have left on the clock. Prioritize the questions you can answer but leave some time to revisit questions that you initially skipped.

👉 Tip #4: Use Mnemonic Devices

Learn mnemonic devices as a means to help memorize formulas, definitions, facts, and other important info that could show up on the exam. Acronyms, acrostics, keywords, and loci can help to make memorizing easier. Explore memory palaces as means of doing this.

With a little practice and a refresher on areas where you struggle, you can get a great score on the ACT.

FAQ

Is the ACT all multiple choice?

Yes and no. Technically, the scored portion of the ACT is all multiple choice. However, there is also an optional essay component (which of course is not multiple choice). In terms of the main portion of the test though, yes, it is all multiple choice.

How many multiple-choice questions are on the ACT in total?

There are 215 total multiple-choice questions on the ACT. These questions are broken out across the four main sections of the exam in varying numbers.

Are there any other question types on the ACT?

In addition to the four primary sections of the exam (which are all multiple choice), there is also an optional written essay.

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