ACT Reading Test Tips

The ACT reading test consists of four sections, three of which contain one long passage and one that contains two shorter passages.

Each section has a set of multiple-choice test questions that measure your ability to read closely, reason logically, and use information from multiple sources.   

Scores are based on specific knowledge and skills based on three reporting categories: 

  • Key Ideas and Details: The ability to determine central themes, accurately summarize information, and understand relationships. 
  • Craft and Structure: The ability to determine word and phrase meaning, analyze word choice and text structure, understand the author’s purpose and perspective, and interpret a character’s point of view.
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: The ability to understand the author’s claims, differentiate between facts and opinions, and use evidence to make connections between different texts that are related by topic.   

Reading Test-Taking Tips:

  • Read each passage carefully. Before you begin answering a question, read the entire passage carefully. Be conscious of relationships between or among ideas. You may make notes in the test booklet about important ideas in the passages. 
  • Refer to the passages when answering the questions. Answers to some of the questions will be found by referring to what is plainly stated in the text of the passages. Other questions will require you to determine suggested meanings and draw conclusions, comparisons, and generalizations. Consider the text before you answer a question. 

Get the ACT Practice Test!

Get a taste of the ACT test with practice questions (and answers) found in this free study guide.

Familiarize yourself with the instructions and format, then review, analyze, and answer the questions to see if you’re correct—and why.

Here's what you'll get:
  • An overview of the ACT test and what to expect on test day
  • A full-length practice ACT test (including writing prompt)
  • Answers and a scoring key for each test section
  • A breakdown of the content covered in each test section
  • General test-taking strategies
  • Ways to approach each section of the ACT

Get the FREE ACT Practice Test!

Instructor Takeover: Preparing for the ACT

My Journey On-Demand Session

This session focuses on tips before and during the exam to help with studying and preparing for the exam, as well as how to combat anxiety that comes with standardized testing and tips to calm nerves.