Get free college prep tips and financial aid info texted to your phone!

ACT proudly supports the Better Make Room movement, led by Civic Nation and the US Department of Education. Learn more about a free resource provided by Better Make Room that allows you to get information on everything you need to get to—and pay for—college, including:

  • ACT® test dates
  • Deadline reminders
  • College prep checklists
  • College search and application tips
  • Advice on getting scholarships and student aid

ACT Online Prep

Prepare for the ACT anytime, anywhere

Your coursework already prepares you to take the ACT—but additional practice can help you be ready to do your best. ACT Online Prep provides additional practice wherever and whenever you want it.


ACT Kaplan Online Prep Live

Live online prep from the experts

ACT and Kaplan bring you the new ACT® Kaplan® Online Prep Live—a virtual classroom experience that delivers all the benefits of live instruction at home or on the go.


The Official ACT Prep Guide

The only test prep book from the makers of the ACT test

By the pool. At your sister’s soccer game. On a long family road trip. If you have the time, we have the study guide.

The Official ACT Prep Guide includes:

  • Three practice tests
  • Explanations for all correct and incorrect answer choices
  • All-new test forms, including the writing test*
  • Test-taking strategies for each test section
  • Hundreds of additional practice questions in the online bonus content area

*The section of this edition of The Official ACT Prep Guide that addresses the optional ACT writing test does not represent enhancements to the design of the ACT writing test that will start with the September 12, 2015 ACT National test date. Read more about the most current information on the ACT writing test.

The Official ACT Prep Guide

Follow the link below to order The Official ACT Prep Guide.

Download a Free Study Guide

Download this free preparation booklet for access to test information, complete practice tests with scoring keys, and a writing prompt.

General Test Tips

•    Carefully read the instructions on the cover of the test booklet.
•    Read the directions for each test carefully.
•    Read each question carefully.
•    Pace yourself—don't spend too much time on a single passage or question.
•    Pay attention to the announcement of five minutes remaining on each test.
•    Use a soft-lead No. 2 pencil with a good eraser. Do not use a mechanical pencil or ink pen; if you do, your answer document cannot be scored accurately.
•    Answer the easy questions first, and then go back and answer the more difficult ones if you have time remaining on that test.
•    On difficult questions, eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can, then make an educated guess among those remaining.
•    Answer every question. Your scores on the multiple-choice tests are based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no penalty for guessing.
•    If you complete a test before time is called, recheck your work on that test.
•    Mark your answers properly. Erase any mark completely and cleanly without smudging.
•    Do not mark or alter any ovals on a test or continue writing the essay after time has been called. If you do, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored.

Multiple-Choice Tips

•    Be aware of the writing style used in each passage.
•    Consider the elements of writing that are included in each underlined portion of the passage. Some questions will ask you to base your decision on some specific element of writing, such as the tone or emphasis the text should convey.
•    Be aware of questions with no underlined portions—that means you will be asked about a section of the passage or about the passage as a whole.
•    Examine each answer choice and determine how it differs from the others. Many of the questions in the test will involve more than one aspect of writing.
•    Determine the best answer. Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
•    Reread the sentence, using your selected answer.

•    Read each question carefully to make sure you understand the type of answer required.
•    If you choose to use a calculator, be sure it is permitted, is working on test day, and has reliable batteries. Use your calculator wisely.
•    Solve the problem.
•    Locate your solution among the answer choices.
•    Make sure you answer the question asked.
•    Make sure your answer is reasonable.
•    Check your work.

•    Read the passage(s) carefully.
•    Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
•    Refer to the passage(s) when answering the questions.

•    Read the passage carefully.
•    Refer to the scientific information in the passage when answering the question.
•    Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
•    Note conflicting viewpoints in some passages.

Calculator Tips

•    Review the latest information on permitted and prohibited calculators.
•    You are not required to use a calculator. All the problems can be solved without a calculator.
•    If you regularly use a calculator in your mathematics work, use one you're familiar with when you take the mathematics test. Using a more powerful, but unfamiliar, calculator is not likely to give you an advantage over using the kind you normally use.

Learn more about the Calculator Policy >

Writing Tips

  • Carefully read the instructions on the cover of the test booklet.
  • Do some planning before writing the essay; you will be instructed to do your prewriting in your writing test booklet. You can refer to these notes as you write the essay on the lined pages in your answer folder.
  • Do not skip lines and do not write in the margins. Write your essay legibly, in English, with a No. 2 pencil. Do not use ink, a mechanical pencil, or correction fluid.
    • Carefully read and consider all prompt material. Be sure you understand the issue, its perspectives, and your essay task.
    • The prewriting questions included with the prompt will help you analyze the perspectives and develop your own.
    • Use these questions to think critically about the prompt and generate effective ideas in response. Ask yourself how your ideas and analysis can best be supported and organized in a written argument.
    • Use the prewriting space in your test booklet to structure or outline your response.
  • Establish the focus of your essay by making clear your argument and its main ideas. Explain and illustrate your ideas with sound reasoning and meaningful examples.
  • Discuss the significance of your ideas: what are the implications of what you have to say, and why is your argument important to consider?
  • As you write, ask yourself if your logic is clear, you have supported your claims, and you have chosen precise words to communicate your ideas.
  • Take a few minutes, before time is called, to read over your essay:
    • Correct any mistakes in grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling.
    • If you find any words that are hard to read, recopy them.
    • Make any corrections and revisions neatly, between the lines. Do not write in the margins.


Question of the Day

Over 100 practice questions

View questions, answers, and explanations for the ACT Question of the Day in ACT Profile. Sign up to receive a weekly email with each week’s questions.


Test Descriptions

Get to know the test

The ACT® test contains four multiple-choice tests: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The ACT with writing includes the four multiple-choice tests and a writing test.

English 75 questions 45 minutes Measures standard written English and rhetorical skills.
Mathematics 60 questions 60 minutes Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12.
Reading 40 questions 35 minutes Measures reading comprehension.
Science 40 questions 35 minutes Measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences.
Optional Writing Test 1 prompt 40 minutes Measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses.

Test Booklet Instructions

The following instructions are printed on the cover of the multiple-choice test booklet. The instructions for the ACT writing test are different.

This booklet contains tests in English, mathematics, reading, and science. These tests measure skills and abilities highly related to high school course work and success in college. Calculators may be used on the mathematics test only. 

The questions in each test are numbered, and the suggested answers for each question are lettered. On the answer document, the rows of ovals are numbered to match the questions, and the ovals in each row are lettered to correspond to the suggested answers.

For each question, first decide which answer is best. Next, locate on the answer document the row of ovals numbered the same as the question. Then, locate the oval in that row lettered the same as your answer. Finally, fill in the oval completely. Use a soft lead pencil and make your marks heavy and black. Do not use ink or a mechanical pencil.

Mark only one answer to each question. If you change your mind about an answer, erase your first mark thoroughly before marking your new answer. For each question, make certain that you mark in the row of ovals with the same number as the question.

Only responses marked on your answer document will be scored. Your score on each test will be based only on the number of questions you answer correctly during the time allowed for that test. You will not be penalized for guessing. It is to your advantage to answer every question even if you must guess.

You may work on each test only when your test supervisor tells you to do so. If you finish a test before time is called for that test, you should use the time remaining to reconsider questions you are uncertain about in that test. You may not look back to a test on which time has already been called, and you may not go ahead to another test. To do so will disqualify you from the examination.

Lay your pencil down immediately when time is called at the end of each test. You may notfor any reason fill in or alter ovals for a test after time is called for that test. To do so will disqualify you from the examination.

Do not fold or tear the pages of your test booklet.


Back To Top

Writing Test Booklet Instructions

The following instructions are printed on the cover of the writing test booklet.

This is a test of your writing skills. You will have forty (40) minutes to read the prompt, plan your response, and write an essay in English. Before you begin working, read all material in this test booklet carefully to understand exactly what you are being asked to do.

You will write your essay on the lined pages of the answer document provided. Your writing on those pages will be scored. You may use the unlined pages in this test booklet to plan your essay. Your work on these pages will not be scored.

Your essay will be evaluated based on the evidence that it provides of your ability to:

  • analyze and evaluate multiple perspectives on a complex issue
  • state and develop your own perspective on the issue
  • explain and support your ideas with logical reasoning and detailed examples
  • clearly and logically organize your ideas in an essay
  • effectively communicate your ideas in standard written English

Lay your pencil down immediately when time is called.


Back To Top

Please note that ACT test preparation materials are copyrights and may not be copied or distributed without ACT's prior written permission.