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ACT Timing

ACT Timing

The ACT features 4 multiple choice sections plus an optional essay, and sections always appear in the same order. The multiple-choice part of the test lasts 2 hours and 55 minutes, not including breaks:

  • ACT English – 45 minutes, 75 questions
  • ACT Math – 60 minutes, 60 questions
  • ACT Reading – 35 minutes, 40 questions
  • ACT Science – 35 minutes, 40 questions

    • Following the four multiple choice sections, students who have registered to take the test with the optional Writing Test will complete a 40 minute essay. Students must decide if they are taking the test with or without the essay when they register and cannot switch on test day. The ACT with Writing lasts 3 hours and 35 minutes plus time for breaks.


      Most students find that the pacing of the test is the most difficult part about the ACT. Student must work at a very fast clip to even get to each question. In the Reading and Science sections, it’s nearly impossible to thoroughly read each passage and thoughtfully answer each question so test taking strategies are a must for these sections in particular. Students should develop a plan (with the help of their tutor) for how to move through the test and answer the most number of questions to achieve success on the ACT.


      GLC’s Tips on Handling ACT Timing

      DO take practice tests in a timed environment.
      Students can perform much differently on ACT questions on a real test than they would in isolation since it’s hard to maintain energy during a long test. Timed diagnostics should be just as much a part of test preparation as content review and strategy practice.

      DO wear a watch.
      It’s an essential tool to help keep a consistent pace and know how much time you have per question or passage.

      DON’T spend too much time on any one question.
      Move on if you’ve spent about a minute on a question and still aren’t close to the answer.

      DON’T lose steam.
      Take advantage of the short breaks between sections to mentally reset and prepare for the section ahead.


      At the end of the day, students prepare for the ACT because they want to boost their scores. Since 1998, we’ve helped over 5,000 students in Northern Virginia and Charlottesville improve their test scores! Click the button below to learn more about our programs, view class schedules, or register for ACT Prep.


      ACT Success at GLC!

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