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ACT overview for first time test-takers

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Across the Kansas City metro area, college-bound juniors are preparing for one of the most popular ACT testing dates: the June examination. This brief overview of the ACT will help students (and their parents!), especially first time testers, to understand the basic components of the exam and the time allotted for each subject area.

The ACT is made up of four multiple-choice testing sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The composite score and each subject score range from 1 to 36. The composite is simply the average of the four subject test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number.

The first section of the ACT is English. Test takers have 45 minutes to answer 75 questions, 40 of which cover mechanics and usage (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure), as well as 35 questions based on rhetoric skills (strategy, organization, style).

Next, students test their Mathematics prowess, answering 60 questions in 60 minutes. Basic algebraic functions are tested in 24 of the questions, intermediate algebra and coordinate geometry are represented in 18 questions, and 18 additional questions assess understanding of plane geometry and trigonometry. Although all problems on the ACT are solvable without one, the use of an approved calculator is permitted.

Following a short break, the Reading section begins and students' comprehension is tested with 40 questions to be answered within 35 minutes. Half of the questions revolve around social studies and the natural sciences, while the other half focus on topics in the arts and humanities.

Finally, the last section of the ACT is Science; 35 minutes to answer 40 questions measuring skills such as interpretation of data, analysis, evaluation, and problem solving.

There is an optional Writing section of the ACT, giving students 30 minutes to answer a single essay prompt. Students are advised to take the ACT Plus Writing at least once during their standardized testing schedule.

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The registration deadline for the June 9 ACT is Friday, May 4.

(College Nannies + Tutors of Kansas City is offering a FREE practice ACT testing session on Saturday, April 28 at their Zona Rosa center. Click here for details.)

**To read additional Examiner articles written by Steph Hart, click here or visit Essential Elements: Comprehensive College Planning. You may also find Steph on Facebook and Twitter.

**Steph is also the Kansas City Volunteerism Examiner. Find those articles about community service opportunities in Kansas City via Facebook and Twitter.


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