Format of the ACT English Test

By ACT Practice Tests - Last updated: Sunday, January 11, 2009 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The ACT English test consists of five passages with 15 questions for each passage, for a total of 75 questions.

There are 40 questions based on usage and mechanics, and 35 questions based on rhetorical skills. There aren’t any questions on spelling or vocabulary, although having a good vocabulary will help you be able to answer certain types of questions.

The usage and mechanics questions focus on punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure.

Punctuation questions ask you to identify and correct misplaced, missing, or unnecessary punctuation marks. In questions dealing with punctuation, the words in each answer may be identical. The only difference will be in punctuation. Make sure you read the chance are carefully to understand the difference.

Grammar questions require you to choose the best words based on grammar and usage. Subject and a verb agreement, verb forms, use of adjectives and adverbs, pronoun forms, and verb forms are all part of the grammar portion of the test.

Sentence structure questions test your ability to form sentences effectively. These questions will use comma splices, sentence fragments, shifts in verb tense or voice, and other similar constructs to test your knowledge of sentence structure.

The other main area that is tested by the English test is your rhetorical skills. These questions look at writing strategy, organization, and style. Writing strategy questions look at the choices and strategies used by a writer. You may have to determine the appropriateness of a sentence, considering the purpose and audience of the passage.

Organization questions are about the order and coherence of the ideas in the passage and whether opening or closing statements are effective.

If you understand the type of question you are answering, it may improve your chance of being able to correctly answer the questions on the ACT English test.

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