ACT Exam Syllabus


ACT Exam Syllabus

The American College Testing (ACT) is a test that all high school students must undertake if they wish to study an Undergraduate course abroad. The test is more prevalent in US universities, and all non-native speakers of the English language can take the test. You can register for the exam both online and offline. The test fee can come to around USD 63 (INR 4835), and the score is valid for five years. To pass the test, the average score should be 21. Though it was a paper-based test earlier, it is now an internet-based test outside the USA. The score is measured on a scale from 0-36. The syllabus includes subjects like Reading, Mathematics, English, Science, and an optional writing exam. The test duration is 2 hours and 55 minutes without the writing section and 40 minutes if the writing section is added. You can get the result of the same within 2-8 weeks.

ACT Exam Syllabus: Highlights

The ACT exam consists of four compulsory sections and one optional section, as mentioned above. A highlight of the entire test is summarised in the table below.


Type of Questions

Topics Covered

Question Format


Numerous essays or passages

Punctuation, English usage, sentence formation & structure 

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)


Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), tables, graphs, diagrams, scientific phenomena questions

Earth/Space Sciences, Biology, Chemistry

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)


Charts, graphs, formula based etc.

Number & quantity, function, algebra, geometry, statistics, probability etc.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)


Short prose or long passage

Logical reasoning, interpretation, inferences & conclusion etc.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)


Essay writing




ACT English Syllabus

The English test will have four or five essays or passages, and multiple-choice questions will be asked based on them. You will be asked to choose the right answer. There can be options of “No Error” as well. It analyses your ability to omit, edit, revise and rephrase. There are three sections to this test, and they are as follows.




Production of Writing

29% - 32%

Tests the ability to analyse the language

Proficiency of Language

13% - 19%

Analyses fluency in English

Conventions of Standard English

51% - 56%

Tests grammar, sentence formation, spelling etc.

ACT Mathematics Syllabus

The questions here will be similar to the ones for your grade 12. They will be straightforward yet a bit complex. It tests your problem-solving skills, fluency and ability to understand connections.

The following table will help you get an idea of the same:




Essential Skills

40% - 43%

Problem-solving like average, median, area, volume, rates & percentage etc.

Higher Mathematics

57% - 60%

Basic topics like algebra, statistics, probability, geometry etc.

The topics you might have to cover for the Higher Mathematics section are described below.

Main Topic

Sub Topics

Number and Quantity (7% - 10%)

Rational exponents, integers, vectors, matrices

Statistics & Probability (8% - 12%)

Data collection methods, probabilities, sample space & distributions

Algebra (12% - 15%)

Linear, radical, polynomial, simple matrix equations, graphs

Geometry (12% - 15%)

Surface area, circle, volume, trigonometric ratios, shapes

Functions (12% - 15%)

Radical, polynomial, logarithmic functions, notations, definitions

ACT Reading Syllabus

In the reading section, you will come across long and short prose passages. The passages will have several pieces of information, and you will have to identify them. The section analyses your logical reasoning and interpretation skills. Each passage will have multiple-choice questions as well. The table below gives you the sections and the weightage that they have.




Integration of Knowledge & Ideas

13% - 18%

Understand the passage & differentiate between opinions and facts

Structure & Craft

25% - 30%

Identify the meaning of words, analyse the text structure etc.

Significant Details & Ideas

55% - 60%

Identify the central theme & idea of the passage and draw a conclusion

ACT Science Syllabus

The questions asked here will test your reasoning, interpretation and problem-solving skills. The questions will be based on actual scientific scenarios from Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, Geology etc.

The sectional division of the test is detailed in the table below.




Scientific Investigation

20% - 30%

It includes comparisons, extensions, modifications, controls etc.

Experimental Models, Inferences & Results

25% - 35%

It includes predictions based on scientific phenomena, judgement of scientific information etc.

Interpretation of Data

45% - 55%

Analysis & manipulation of tables, diagrams, graphs, scientific data etc.

ACT Writing Syllabus

This optional section tests your writing skills in English. You will be given any topic related to a complex societal, economic or political problem. You should write an essay on the same and explain the issue with the possible causes, effects and solutions. Your writing will be judged on the following grounds.

  • Organisation: Your ability to organise all your ideas into a form that is easy and engaging at the same time.
  • Analysis and Ideas: Your views on the topic will be tested, and how well you analyse the issue will also be taken into account.
  • Support and Development: How well you present your ideas with the help of diagrams, graphics, and other related information will be tested here.
  • Language Usage: Your language-using capabilities will be analysed here; you have to avoid grammatical and spelling errors and write in a tone that is easy to understand and clear at the same time. 
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