The ACT (American College Testing) is a stressful test considering the impact scores can have on college admissions process. But how hard is the test? It is intimidating, but the test is not as difficult as it seems. The material on the ACT becomes much less challenging if students are familiar with the test structure and the way questions are asked.
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For some individuals, learning the alphabet is hard because they struggle with a learning difference or maybe they are non-native English speakers. But multivariable calculus might be very easy. The point here is it is impossible to answer how hard the ACT test is because the answer would vary for everyone.
Nonetheless, there are some things this article can tell you about how hard the ACT test is:
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- Concentration and amount of reading required by the ACT test.
- ACT testing has gotten harder over the years.
- ACT test is tricky.
- The ACT Test needs good comprehension skills.
- How Hard is the ACT Reading test?
- The ACT Math Test Level is Harder Than SAT
- The ACT English Test is a Paradox
- ACT Science Test Needs You to Interpret Scientific Data
ACT test is hard because it is time-pressured.
The ACT test gives test-takers 3 hours and 25 minutes to answer all the 215 questions. Certain ACT test questions take longer than others to answer, but many students end up feeling they could have done much better if they only had more time. Students should answer the questions as fast as they can.
Related Topic: ACT Test Introduction, Registration, Dates & Score
This is why it is best to skip questions that you find difficult and go back to them only when you’re done answering the easy ones.
Concentration and amount of reading required by the ACT test.
In the ACT test, there are plenty to read than on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test). The ACT testing has complex science scenarios to sort through, longer reading passages and longer math word problems. The test can really challenge the student’s attention span. This is why full-length ACT test prep is so essential so test-takers can build the endurance and focus on this test demands. You can also visit our review of the Best ACT Prep Book here.
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ACT testing has gotten harder over the years.
As students begin to do better on the ACT test, the nonprofit organization gradually modifies the test’s difficulty level. In 1970, the average composite ACT test score was 18.6. Then in 2014, the average composite score was 21. This may appear as if the ACT test has gotten easier. The ACT test has more than compensated by generating more difficult questions as well as passages that ensure only a few students are at the highest part of the scale.
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ACT test is tricky.
The ACT testing may appear a pretty easy test to others as it is not trying to play mind games with the students, which is a typical sentiment test-takers have about the SAT. The ACT requires students to be very detail-oriented so they don’t make silly mistakes, but the answer to the test question is always in plain sight.
Related Topic: ACT Scores
The ACT Test needs good comprehension skills.
The ACT doesn’t test vocabulary and the passages vocabulary level is not high. The ACT, however, does reward the test-taker’s reading speed and comprehension skill. The faster students can read and understand a passage, the more time they will have to find the answers to the test questions that follow.
How Hard is the ACT Reading test?
- Timing: In the ACT Reading test, students need to answer 40 questions in a 35-minute time limit. The ACT Reading section moves at a fast pace. However, students can complete this section if they spend only about 30 seconds per question.
- Distractors: ACT designed the wrong answer choices to trick students. One of the favorite tricks of ACT test is to place correct information from the passage into answer choices but use the information in a way that doesn’t really answer the question. Test-takers are recommended to read the passages very carefully to weed out these tricky answer options.
- The ACT Reading contains four passages – the three passages are non-fiction and one is a prose fiction passage. So, 75% of the reading score of a student is from non-fiction passages. Test-takers would be uneasy with the non-fiction passages and they will be more comfortable handling the prose fiction passage. Thus, high school students should draw heavily on non-fiction passages during their English classes.
Despite these difficulties, students can definitely beat the ACT Reading test as it is one big open book test. All the students have to do is to carefully read and understand the passages.
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The ACT Math Test Level is Harder Than SAT
The ACT Math test covers more higher-level math concepts, which include more matrices, conic, trigonometry and logarithms sections. The test also does not provide students with formulas and some test questions will require students to apply typical math formulas. You can also check out our ACT Math Practice Test here.
The ACT English Test is a Paradox
The ACT English section is a bit of a paradox. Though this section is undeniably the easiest test where students can make significant score gains, this test is also causing many test-takers a large amount of frustration the first time they encounter it.
Test-takers need to read 5 passages and they must decide whether the underlined portion is correct or not. Several students take the ACT English test but have no idea what the question is asking, which becomes very time-consuming. Nonetheless, the ACT English test only requires the basic rules of Standard English punctuation, writing, and grammar. Once students learn them from their ACT test prep, they can develop a plan of action for taking the ACT English test that leads to success.
More review materials: ACT English Practice Tests
ACT Science Test Needs You to Interpret Scientific Data
You may be outstanding in your Chemistry class, extremely good at your Physics homework, and scored a 5 on the Advanced Placement Biology, but when you take the ACT Science test, you still find that this section in the ACT testing is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. This unfamiliarity with the distinctive format and content of the ACT Science test is precisely what trips up several students. The quick solution to this is to take ACT test prep and improve your scientific reasoning skills.
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