Mastering ACT Time
- April 20, 2015
- Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Category: Test Prep
Of the four major areas our tutors cover in ACT tutoring programs (Content, Consistency, Timing, Test-Taking Skills), ACT time/pacing is often the most difficult for students to grasp. ACT Reading timing is one of the biggest issues we handle. The ACT test is fast-paced, and the creators craft test sections that will challenge the timing of even the most prepared students. One of the key benefits of ACT private tutoring is that our expert tutors can create timing and pacing plans that specifically address each student’s strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, if a student consistently finishes the English section early but misses primarily big-picture questions, the tutor can adjust the student’s timing plan to focus more on an answers-in-context review at the end of each passage. The difficult content in the ACT Math section requires some careful thought with regards to pacing: Should a student move quickly through the first half of questions (easier) so they can free up time for the second half (more difficult), or should they spend more time on the easier questions to guarantee success, then guess on the extremely difficult questions at the end?
General ACT Timing Recommendations
Each student has unique needs, but here’s a general timing guide for each section.
ACT English Timing
75 Questions / 45 Minutes
5 passages with 14-16 questions each
ACT English Pace
9 minutes per passage
Don’t get ahead! If you have time left at the end of a passage, spend that time reviewing your answers and making sure that your answers fit in the big picture of the sentence/question.
ACT Math Timing
60 Questions / 60 Minutes
Questions get progressively more difficult throughout the section
ACT Math Pace
25 minutes for questions 1-30
35 minutes for questions 31-60
Do skip around! Get easy points first – answer the no-brainer questions right from the start, then spend time on more unfamiliar or multistep problems.
ACT Reading Timing
40 Questions / 35 Minutes
4 passages with 10 questions each
ACT Reading Pace
8-9 minutes per passage
Shoot for fewer than 4 minutes to read and 5 minutes to answer questions
Do the passages in an order most comfortable for you! If Fiction/Literary Narrative is the easiest for you to read/comprehend, then tackle that passage first to save some time for passages more difficult for you.
Don’t get stuck! ACT time is especially hard here. If one question is taking you an exceptional amount of time, skip to another question and you just may find the answer to the first one in the process.
ACT Science Timing
40 Questions / 35 Minutes
6 passages with varying numbers of questions
ACT Science Pace
Aim to finish the first three passages in 15-18 minutes
Don’t get bogged down! The ACT creators are masters of creating “sticky” Science questions; you’ll want to camp on a question for several minutes because you feel like you just need to understand the passage or question better, but you’re sacrificing points on easier questions later. Beat them at their own game; just like in Reading, skip “sticky” questions and you may find the answer later.
If you need help developing your own plan for pacing your ACT time, schedule a free consultation to see how the premier tutors at MJ Prep can help!