What Subjects Are on the ACT?

Are you in the process of applying to colleges? Are you bombarded by information on entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT? Are you trying to figure out what subjects are on the ACT or SAT as well?

College applications are often confusing and stressful, but you don’t have to worry. Let this be your guide to help you understand what subjects are on the ACT, how it is scored, and a few other crucial tips to success. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming once you understand the basics of each of the tests.

The ACT is divided into four, sometimes five sections – the writing test is optional, so it is important to check as some colleges or universities require its completion. So check all of your schools before you make any decisions regarding the the reading section.

Check out the table below for a simple summary of what subjects are on the ACT.

Subjects on the ACT Test:

English

  • Number of questions: 75
  • Type of questions: Multiple Choice
  • Section Time: 45 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Grammar,
    • punctuation,
    • sentence structure,
    • strategy,
    • organization and rhetorical skills.

Math

  • Number of questions: 60
  • Type of questions: Multiple Choice
  • Section Time: 60 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Algebra I and II,
    • geometry,
    • trigonometry

Reading

  • Number of questions: 40
  • Type of questions: Multiple choice related to four different passages
  • Section Time: 35 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Reading comprehension of what is stated or implied around topics such as prose fiction, social studies,
    • humanities,
    • natural sciences

Science

  • Number of questions: 40
  • Type of questions: Multiple choice linked to scientific passages
  • Section Time: 35 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Interpretation,
    • analysis,
    • evaluation,
    • problem-solving,
    • reasoning

Writing

  • Number of questions: 1
  • Type of questions: Essay
  • Section Time: 40 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Various writing skills

How Long is the ACT?

In total the ACT takes 2 hours and 55 minutes, or 3 hours and 25 minutes if you sit the writing section of the test as well this time around.

Now, let’s look at each section in a little more detail. By getting an understanding of each of the subjects, you can better understand what’s covered as well as if this test is a better option for you compared to the SAT test.

In addition, this will help if you feel you need a bit of extra help in a certain area.

English

The 75 questions in English section are divided between five passages that you have to review and understand. This means that each passage has 15 questions related to it. Some questions will be linked to the passage as a whole, while others will be more specific and draw your attention  to a particular part of the passage. It’s up to you to read the passages and then answer each of the questions to the best of your ability.

Math

Quite simply, there are 60 different multiple choice questions relating to algebra, geometry and trigonometry – with the focus in that order. In other words, if trigonometry isn’t your forte, don’t stress too much as there is significantly more focus on the other two areas. When studying, your focus should be on algebra and geometry. A calculator is permitted for the math section of the test.

Reviewing and test prep can make a tremendous difference in your results here. So make the time for that before the exam.

You Might Also Be Interested In: How to Study Math: 35 Easy Math Tips You Need to Know

Reading

There are four passages in the reading section, each with ten questions. The questions will relate directly to the passage, sometimes drawing your attention to a particular part of the passage, and will test your ability to make comparisons, understand ideas, draw generalizations, and determine the meaning of words, statements or phrases within a particular context.

This is an area that makes many student nervous as there can be a wide range of topics in the passages. Some of the passages you might have more knowledge of than others. Just do the best you can with what you’re offered, knowing that all the other students taking the test are facing the same topics.

Science

The science section of the ACT also revolves around passages. These passages will include graphs, diagrams, charts, and tables, followed by around four to seven questions. The questions will require you to gather the information presented in the passage and choose the most correct answer from the selection of four multiple choice responses.

If you have trouble recalling scientific information, don’t worry, you are tested more on your skills and ability to analyze, evaluate and interpret, than you are on actual science-based information.

Writing

This optional section of the ACT requires you to read a small passage on a given topic and evaluate perspectives on the topic. You will need to show that you can analyze different arguments by forming different viewpoints and opinions into a coherent essay.

It’s important here to not only present a thoughtful response but to also present it well. Taking a bit of time to outline what your thoughts will be before you start writing can make this section a lot easier as well as get you better results.

How is the ACT Scored?

At first this may seem a little complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. It’s not quite as straightforward as recording how many questions you answered correctly – that would be really simple! But that is the first step.

Basically, you get a mark for every correct answer, blank or incorrect answers receive no marks. This is called your raw score. Your raw score is then converted to your scaled score, which is a number between one and 36.  The reason the scores are scaled is to ensure results are consistent across tests taken on different dates and in different locations.

Act vs SAT, Which to Choose?

Deciding between ACT vs the SAT is a question that many students ask. And many of those end up taking both tests one or more times. However, perhaps it can be made a bit simpler for you? Look at the additional topics within the ACT test. Are you someone that does well in science? Then taking the ACT test where you get the boost from the science section might help your overall score.

Whichever way you decide to go, just make sure that you create a plan to prepare for the exam and follow the plan. We wish you the best of luck this year as you navigate the college process!

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What is a Tutor and What Does a Tutor Do?

Are you unsure about what is a tutor and how tutoring can help you or your child?  Don’t worry, you aren’t alone!  We get asked that question a LOT!

What is a Tutor?

When it comes to achieving academic success you often hear the phrase ‘get a tutor’. This is all well and good, but it is probably useful to know what is a tutor and how tutoring can help before you hire one. The most common, and obvious, reason that parents enlist the support of a tutor is to help their child. It doesn’t matter whether the child is struggling or needs a boost to excel further, the one-on-one personalized sessions are invaluable. Keep reading to find out just how valuable this can be for students and parents alike.

Teacher or Tutor?

The terms teacher and tutor are often thrown around interchangeably, but ‘teacher’ isn’t just a tutor synonym. There are a few key differences when it comes to what they actually do. Both have a student’s best interests at heart and work incredibly hard to help each student reach their individual academic potential. However, due to the nature of their work, strategies and outcomes will often vary. First, let’s look at the role and responsibility of teachers;

  • Teachers must follow a set curriculum and provide learning opportunities to many children at a time.
  • Teachers need to develop a ‘best-fit’ teaching strategy. This means that their lessons aim to try and cater for a variety of needs and abilities. Whilst every care is taken to ensure this is done, it is inevitable that some students won’t receive the exact information they need.
  • Teachers will guide students to reach particular targets. These should be achieved within a certain time frame, but it is hard to monitor and record.

On the other hand,

What Does a Tutor Do?

  • They work with small groups or, most commonly, with individuals. This allows for the lesson to cater exactly for the student’s needs.
  • It can also be adapted as the lessons progress depending on the understanding of the students.
  • Tutors follow the lead of their students. Lessons are designed around what the student needs to work on or what they what to achieve.
  • They often reinforce what has been taught in the classroom, allowing for content to really be absorbed by the student.

You Might Also Be Interested In: How to Study Math: 35 Math Tips You Should Know

Role of a Tutor

There really aren’t too many down sides to tutoring or having the help of someone. It is equally beneficial for struggling students right through to high achievers. Here are some of the top reasons why tutoring is helpful and what role a tutor can play:

  • Improves academic performance – this one is obvious, but it is important to remember that these improvements may bring a student up from the bottom of the class, or push a middle student to the top.
  • Boosts self-esteem – when a student learns and understands the content being taught to them they gain confidence. This confidence is valuable not just in the classroom and around test time, but will also filter into other aspects of their lives.
  • Caters for individual needs – the one-on-one sessions are designed to meet the specific needs for that individual student. Unlike a classroom scenario, a tutor can continue to work with the student until they fully understand the content.
  • Offers a different perspective – in subjects such as math, there are often various ways to reach the same answer. A teacher doesn’t always have the time to explain concepts differently to each student therefore many children miss out. A tutor has the time to explain and re-explain a question and technique until it makes sense to the student.
  • Encourages communication – when working with a tutor, students must learn to communicate their needs and ask questions. This helps them build a different type of relationship than those with their parents, friends, and teachers.
  • Teaches problem-solving skills – when students are guided they can learn to think for themselves in a way that provides them with skills they will use later in life.
  • Helps understand standardized tests – even the smartest students can struggle with these unique tests. A tutor can provide clarity on the format of standardized tests and the type of questions asked, as well as providing feedback on practice questions.
  • Detailed and specific feedback – due to the one-on-one nature of tutoring sessions, students will receive feedback that is specific to them and their goals. Quite often this feedback is immediate, helping students to continue to improve at a faster rate than they would in the classroom.
  • Consolidates learning – if a tutoring session complements what is taught in the classroom, students will be able to store the information for longer and will have a greater chance of regurgitating the information when it is needed, such as during a test.
  • A tutor is neither a teacher or a parent-children will respond differently when working with a tutor. Teachers are highly qualified but are catering to the needs of the group. Parents, while having a child’s best interests at heart, do not have the training to teach the content effectively. Children can also be stubborn creatures and enlisting the help of mom or dad is often not the done thing. A tutor sits somewhere in the middle of teacher and parent and will provide surprisingly positive results.
  • Less embarrassment – quite often students are hesitant to ask questions in class out of fear of sounding stupid. This severely hinders their learning as they may never fully understand the content and concepts being taught. Working alone with a tutor eliminates this fear and students can ask any type of question at any point during the session.
  • It can take place in a different learning environment – you can find a tutor online to cater to your needs and the sessions can also take place online. Learning from the comfort of home can often support students as it is an environment they are familiar with. Using screens and technology often engages younger learners more than traditional teaching methods.
  • Eliminates learning loss over holiday periods – by continually using a tutor throughout the year, you eliminate any ‘periods of no learning’. Students can continue to learn, or use the time to consolidate learning of practice test-style questions.

Now that you know what is a tutor and what does a tutor do, you can decide what you or your child needs to excel this year! Finding the right help to get the results that you want is critical to your success.  Good luck and please let us know how we can help.

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Only pay for the time you need.

No subscriptions or upfront payments.

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