ACT Exam Pattern 2021

Updated by: Neha Kumari on Aug. 23, 2021, 2:17 p.m.

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ACT Exam Pattern 2021

ACT is a Computer Based Test (CBT) comprising four main parts: English, Reading, Maths and Science. The fifth part ACT Writing (Essay) is optional. ACT can only be taken in an online mode outside the United States, however, the test is still conducted in offline mode at some centres in the US.

Unlike other CBT tests, the online ACT test is non-adaptive i.e the level of difficulty of the next question is not defined on the basis of the correct or incorrect answer to the previous question. ACT is a standardized international level test and the Score is used for undergraduate admissions at various universities abroad. Some of the universities that have confirmed the ACT requirement for 2022 admissions are the  University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida, Florida State University and University of Georgia

The ACT Exam Pattern is well structured. Each test section is timed and has a definite set of questions. The total duration of the ACT Exam is 2 hours 55 minutes excluding Writing (ACT) that lasts for 40 minutes. The total number of questions asked in the ACT is 215 and an additional question in the ACT writing (Essay) section. 

Detailed syllabus of ACT can be found here: 

COVID-19 Update

The exam pattern of the ACT test remains unchanged and registrations have been reopened for 2021. Candidates can apply and appear in the test at their convenience. Various precautionary measures have been taken as a response to the COVID- 19 pandemic for the safety and wellbeing of everyone. At the test centres, the examinees will be asked various health and wellness questions during check-in to ensure the highest level of safety standards. 

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ACT Exam Pattern 2021: Quick Overview

An aspirant must take note of all the salient features of the exam pattern mentioned below before applying for the test.

Mode of Exam

Computer-based (Non-U.S) and Paper-based 

Number of Questions

215 questions + 1 writing question (optional)

Type of Questions

MCQ + 1 Subjective (Optional)


2 hours 55 minutes+  40 minutes(Writing)

Medium of Instruction 


Number of Sections

4 Sections + 1 (Optional)

Negative Marking 


Section-wise ACT Exam Pattern 2021

The ACT consists of four sections namely English, Reading, Maths and Science. Writing section is the fifth section that is absolutely optional. Candidates need to pay extra fees for attempting the writing section. They are also provided with extra time of 40 minutes for completing the fifth section of the exam. Illustrated below is the section-wise exam pattern of ACT.


Total Questions

Time Duration


75 Questions

45 Minutes


40 Questions

35 Minutes


60 Questions

60 Minutes


40 Questions

35 Minutes


1 Question

40 Minutes

Note: English, Reading, Maths and Science sections are multiple-choice questions whereas the writing section has an essay writing question.

Marking Scheme of ACT 2021

ACT does not have negative marking which provides the candidates with the scope to attempt all the questions. Even if the candidates are unsure of an answer, they can make a smart guess as no marks will be deducted for incorrect answers.

FAQs about ACT Exam Pattern

1. What is the mode of the ACT test?

ACT is a Computer-Based and Paper-Based (for subjective question) test.

2. How many questions are asked in the ACT test? 

There are a total of 215 questions and 1 writing question (optional) in the ACT test.

3. What type of questions are asked in the ACT test? 

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s) are asked in the ACT test including one subjective question. 

4. What is the language of instruction of the ACT test?

The language of instruction of the ACT test is English.  

5 Is there negative marking in the ACT test? 

There is no negative marking in the ACT test. 

6. Into how many sections ACT test divided? 

The ACT test is divided into 4 sections including one optional section. 

7. What are the topics asked in the ACT test? 

English, Reading, Maths and Science are the multiple-choice questions asked in the ACT test. The subjective and option section is the writing section.

8. What is the duration of the ACT test?

The duration of the ACT test is 2 hours 55 minutes for MCQ questions. The writing section lasts for a duration of 40 minutes. 

9. How many questions are asked in the Maths section of ACT?

The Maths section of ACT comprises 60 questions.

10. How many questions are asked in the English section of ACT?

The English section of ACT comprises 75 questions. 

Admission 2021

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