The Reading Test is the third test on the ACT. This test consists of four different sections, each of which will contain one long passage or two short passages. You have 35 minutes to answer 40 multiple-choice questions. This will allow you 8 ¾ minutes per section, which you will need to budget between reading the passage and answering the questions.
There are four types of passages on the ACT Reading Test:
1. Literary Narrative or Prose Fiction
2. Social Studies
4. Natural Sciences
The first passage, categorized as Literary Narrative or Prose Fiction, will be an excerpt from a novel, short story, or memoir. The Social Studies passage will discuss a topic related to the social sciences, such as history, anthropology, economics, geography, politics, or sociology. The Humanities passage may be about topics including music, art, and film, and may be excerpts from personal essays. Lastly, the Natural Sciences passage will be about a scientific topic such as biology, geology, physics, or chemistry. The category of the passage will be explicitly stated before the passage begins. However, the type of passage should not affect your strategy or general approach to the questions.
The ACT categorizes their reading questions into one of three subsections:
- Key Ideas and Details
- Craft and Structure
- Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
There are several passages in this test. Each passage is accompanied by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.