ACT Exam Syllabus: Section-Wise Topics and Tips To Prepare

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All About the ACT Exam Syllabus (1)

Have you just cleared your class 12th and planning to study abroad? Every university has different criteria to be attained by applicants. Just like the GRE, SAT, IELTS and TOEFL, the ACT is a standardised test for students looking for admission to undergraduate schools in the USA and Canada.  ACT exams can be categorised into 4 sections: English, Maths, Reading, and Science. Before you start preparing it is important to know the ACT exam syllabus, here’s your detailed guide on the ACT exam syllabus with tips and more!

ACT Exam Syllabus

There are 4 sections in the ACT Exam: English, Maths, Reading, Science and a total duration of 3 hours. The review section is optional and adds another 40 minutes to the total duration. It is an MCQ (multiple-choice questions) based test with 215 questions in full. The scores in every category vary from a low of 1 to a high of 36. Your decision of the point school establishes a great ACT record since the average score is 20.8.

ACT Exam Syllabus - Section-wise Guide
Section Type of QuestionsTopics Covered
English  Multiple Essays or PassagesSentence Structure and Formation, Punctuation, English usage. 
MathematicsGraph, Charts, Formula Based etc. Algebra, Number and Quantity, Functions, Geometry, Statistics and Probability etc. 
Reading Long Passage or Short Prose Inferences and Conclusions, Logical Reasoning, Interpretation etc. 
Science Tables and graphs, diagrams, Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), Scientific phenomena questions Biology, Chemistry, Earth/ Space Sciences(e.g Geology, Astronomy, and Meteorology and Physics
Writing Essay Writing


The English section of the ACT exam has a total of 5 passages from which you have to answer 75 multiple-choice questions. These questions are based on details related to a particular paragraph or the whole passage. This section particularly tests 2 vital skills which are usage mechanics and rhetorical skills. Moreover, usage and mechanics test understanding of grammatical rules that include usage, punctuation, and sentence structure.

  1. Rhetorical skills deal with the abstract understanding or comprehension of a particular passage. It can deal with the challenges that take place in the exam’s large headings
  2. Punctuation assesses your knowledge and practice of semicolons, detours, duration, commas etc
  3. Grammar Usage shows your grasp of syntax rules such as subject/verb agreement, pronoun/antecedent covenant, verb construction, pronoun problem, and adverbs
  4. Sentence structure questions you on education applied to specifications, modifiers, and changes in development 
  5. Strategy questions show your understanding of building up and changing a section through the management of expressions
  6. Organisation questions show your organisational skills: your judgement of starting/termination and conditional sentences
  7. Style questions show your understanding to handle the terms that emphasise the progress and quality of the manuscript

Also Read: All About ACT Exam in India


A calculator is allowed for the mathematics section of the ACT exam. The syllabus for the maths section is given below:

Topics Description
Pre-AlgebraThis basically comprises 15-20% of the total questions. It deals with solving systems of equations, functions, matrices, logarithms, inequalities, sequences and patterns, and complex numbers.
Elementary AlgebraThis section comprises 15-20% of the total questions. It has substitution, simplifying expressions, solving linear equations, inequalities, multiplying binomials, solving quadratic equations
Intermediate AlgebraThis section comprises 15-20% of the total questions. It involves number lines, graphing inequalities, distance and midpoints, slope calculation, parallel/perpendicular lines, line equations, conic sections.
Coordinate GeometryThis section comprises 15-20% of the total questions. It involves number lines, graphing inequalities, distance and midpoints, slope calculation, parallel/perpendicular lines, line equations, and conic sections.
Plane GeometryThis section comprises 20-25% of the total questions. It elucidates lines and angles, triangles, polygons, circles, 3-D geometry, volume, properties of circles, triangles, and parallelograms.
TrigonometryThis section comprises 5-10% of the total questions. It involves solving triangles, trigonometric identities and graphs, graphing trigonometric functions, and solving trigonometric equations.


This passage comprises 4 sections for 40 multiple-choice questions. The sections will describe four extensive sections: civil science, societies, education, and literary fiction.

  1. Learning skills are diverse and comprise the intelligence to read fundamental concepts, establish relations within a reported text, interpret the flow of ideas, according to cause/effect and observations, dependent interpretation of words, and analyse the writer.
  2. They connect aim queries to the major scheme or theme of the movement. 
  3. Detailed questions assess you on the understanding of an individual utterance/line within a paragraph. 
  4. Vocabulary questions show your dependent interpretation of messages and their management. 
  5. Function questions assess your perception of the position of a specific concept or expression within the situation of the full text. 
  6. Implied forms suggest to you the purpose of a term/phrase that is not addressed in unequivocal calls.


This zone comprises 7 passages for 40 multiple-choice questions. Diagrams such as lists, sketches, and charts followed the paragraphs. The topics that are tested revolve around Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth Sciences. The skills required to ace this area have more to do with the interpretation developed while studying the scientific method well than just the raw recollection of facts and figures. 

  1. The power of the theory behind hypothesis evaluation and the capacity to collect and analyse data are important for the Science department
  2. Data representation questions test your ability to break down graphs/scatter plots/tables, along with your ability to use the suggested material
  3. Research summaries test your knowledge of the methods of examination and related proceeds as defined in the text
  4. Conflicting viewpoints determine your capacity to analyse divergent perspectives. The challenges rotate around a basic idea, and you need to critique the two points of view presented.

Writing (Optional)

The cogency of an article is paramount for the ACT. The capacity to understand various areas of interpreting and fasten them into meaningful and interesting printed work will secure you an impressive record. Extending the second restraint, a far-skilled original design is required and not a simple recorded variety. 

  1. Turn a brief paragraph on a particular subject, which is characterised by 3 various perspectives your task is to analyse the attitudes, point out their values/demerits, pinpoint defects in thought (if any), consider caveats, variation one case against the opportunities and consider developments
  2. Knowing the curriculum extends a significant step in explaining what is required and wards off unpleasant miracles on the assessment time
  3. It will support you in developing an excellent learning program based on your assets and shortcomings in various subject areas

Top 5 Preparation Tips & Tricks for ACT Exam Syllabus

  1. It is recommended for you to register for the examination 3 months before you choose the date of appearing for the exam.
  2. If you stick to your early registration, you will have the time to prepare for the examination accordingly. 
  3. Check your syllabus thoroughly. 
  4. Do a lot of self-study. 
  5. Solve previous years’ question papers to develop a holistic understanding.
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What are the subjects in the ACT exam?

The 4 subjects in the ACT exam are English, Science, Maths, and Reading. The writing part of the ACT exam is optional for students who wish to appear for this section as well.

What is the duration of the ACT?

The duration of the ACT is 3 hours and 55 minutes

What is the total number of questions in the ACT exam?

The total number of questions in the ACT exam is 219.

Utilize Leverage Edu’s Leverage Live classes to enhance your English scores and improve your college application. This way you will increase your chances of securing a spot in your dream college. You can also call us at Ph: 1800-572-000.

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