ACT Syllabus 2023: Check Section-wise Syllabus

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Mar 09, 2023 5:49 PM IST

The ACT syllabus is quite expansive with four major sections namely Reading, English, Mathematics and Science. As the ACT writing test is optional, students can decide whether to take it or not. The syllabus of each section includes topics taught in high school therefore they are familiar with most of the topics. The difficulty level of the questions is of a higher secondary level.

The test-takers should thoroughly go through the syllabus to understand the concepts that need to be covered. It provides a glimpse into the type of questions that will be asked in the real exam. Knowing the content and structure of the exam, helps them to get familiarised with the test and score well.

ACT Syllabus Highlights

Check section-wise highlights of ACT Syllabus 


Type of Questions

Topics Covered

Question Format 



Multiple Essays or Passages

Sentence Structure and Formation, Punctuation, English usage. 

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)


Graph, Charts, Formula Based etc. 

Algebra, Number and Quantity, Functions, Geometry, Statistics and Probability etc. 


Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)



Long Passage or Short Prose 

Inferences and Conclusions, Logical Reasoning, Interpretation etc. 

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)



Essay Writing 




Tables and graphs, diagrams, Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), Scientific phenomena questions 

Biology, Chemistry, Earth/ Space Sciences

(e.g Geology, Astronomy, and Meteorology & Physics

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

ACT Syllabus for English

The English test syllabus of ACT has four to five passages or essays. Students are asked several multiple-choice questions directly based on them. They will also be given four options to choose the correct answer. Some questions will have an option of “No Error” which can be quite confusing for students.

The motive behind the ACT English syllabus is to analyse the omitting, editing, revising and rephrasing abilities of all aspirants. The test is further divided into three sub-parts and each one of them has a specific weightage.

Production of Writing (29%-32%)

This section assesses the ability of candidates to understand and analyse a writing topic. The sections that are covered under this section of the English language are:

  • Topic Development: The students need to identify the purpose behind the text and find out if the text can deliver the intended goals. The relevance of the text has to be analysed by the candidate.

  •  Organisation, Unity and Cohesion: The candidates must identify while applying various strategies, whether the text is organised logically or not. They must determine the smooth flow of the text while ensuring that the passages or summary has an effective introduction and conclusion.

Proficiency of Language (13-19%)

The candidate’s fluency in the English language is scrutinised in this sub-section. It closely inspects the precise choice of words, consistency and style in the examinee’s tone. The main motive of the section is to also determine the ability of the candidate to reciprocate their knowledge in the real sense. 

Conventions of Standard English (51-56%)

In this section, the command over sentence formation and structure, punctuation and grammar are evaluated. It also analyses the ability of the candidate to edit the texts given. As grammar is the main basis of any language, the section tries to fathom whether the candidate has understood the gearings of the text. 

ACT Syllabus for Reading

The reading section of the ACT has multiple parts that include long prose passages and short prose passages. The passages will come with a relevant title, source, author, and relevant background information. It provides an idea of the purpose of the passage. Along with the language proficiency, this section is also used to analyse the logical reasoning and interpretation skills of the candidate. Each passage contains a set of multiple-choice questions. The weightage of questions to identify different skills of candidates is categorized as follows:

Significant Details and Ideas (55-60%)

It is a subcategory under which the candidate must read the texts carefully and determine the central theme and idea of the passage. The candidate must summarise the idea of the passage most accurately and try to draw a logical relation between the sentences and also draw a logical conclusion. 

Structure and Craft (25-30%)

The questions that are framed under this sub-category will require candidates to identify the meaning of the words and phrases, analyse the choice of words of the author, his perspective and point of view, and also analyse the structure of the text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (13–18%)

The questions asked under this category require the candidate to understand the claim of the author and differentiate between his opinion and facts.  The candidate must use evidence to make connections between texts. In some questions, the candidate will be required to evaluate the reasonings and shreds of evidence from various sources. 

ACT Syllabus for Maths

In the maths section, students will be asked two types of 12th-grade questions, complex and straightforward. The former will test your skills of demonstrating fluency, applying varied concepts, understanding connections, and solving complex problems. The maths test is subdivided into two sections mentioned below.

Essential Skills (40-43%)

It involves complex problems such as proportional relationships, rates and percentages, surface area, area, volume, median, average, and expressing numbers in different ways. The key topic in this section is Modeling. It tests how to use modeling skills to tackle mathematical problems.

Higher Mathematics (57-60%)

It includes basic topics such as Numbers and Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Statistics, & Probability, and Geometry.

Mentioned below are important topics an aspirant must study for this section.

Maths Main Topic

Maths Sub Topics

Number and Quantity (7-10%): 

Numerical quantity reasoning, Real and complex number systems, rational exponents, Integers, Matrices, and Vectors

Algebra (12 – 15%)

Polynomial, Linear, exponential relationships, Radical, Multiple types of expressions, Graphs and Simple matrix equations

Functions (12 – 15%)

Notations, Linear, Definitions, Representations and application, Radical, polynomial, Piecewise, Logarithmic functions along with graphical representations

Geometry (12 – 15%)

Surface area, Shapes, Volume, Circles, Missing values in triangles and other shapes, Equations of the conic sections and Trigonometric ratios

Statistics and Probability (8 – 12%)

Bivariate data, Data collection methods, Sample space and distributions and Probabilities

ACT Syllabus for Science

In the science syllabus, the vivid skills of the candidates are checked in the ACT which includes evaluation, interpretation, analyses, reasoning, and problem-solving. The questions are raised on the actual scientific scenario from biology, chemistry, geology, earth/space science, meteorology, physics, and astronomy. Only basics are required as opposed to the advanced knowledge in the science test. The science test is dived into three sections as displayed below.

Scientific Investigation (20-30%)

It involves procedures, experimental tools, controls, variables, design, extensions, comparisons, and modifications related to the field of science.

Interpretation of Data (45 -50%)

It consists of the analysis and manipulation of scientific data, graphs, tables, and diagrams.

Experimental Models, Inferences, and Results (25 – 35%)

The section involves judgment of scientific information, predictions based on the scientific phenomenon, and formulate conclusions.

ACT Syllabus for Writing

The writing skills of the candidate are judged through this section. Candidates will be provided with a topic related to any complex issue in the society, legal, social, political, or economic domains. The essay written by the applicant must explain the issue with its effects, causes, and solutions. The writing of the candidate will be judged on the following parameters.

Analysis and Ideas

The students will be judged on their generation and engagement with the topic. Critical views and ideas of the candidates will be examined.

Support and Development

The way of presenting discussions, arguments, ideas, and instances are checked. The ability of the writer to stimulate the reader’s mind is measured here.


The candidate’s ability to organize the article in a manner that engages the audience, the sequence of events, the series of facts, their relations and explanations, etc. are analyzed.

Language Usage

The level of language used by the writer is tested. The aspirants need to keep in mind the language clarity, words usage, style, grammar, and tone to communicate efficiently and effectively.

Consult Test Experts and Get Your Queries Answered?

FAQs on ACT Syllabus

What is the format of questions asked in the ACT test?

The types of questions asked in the ACT Test is Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

What is the duration of the ACT test?

The duration of the ACT test is 3 hours. The optional writing section is of the additional duration of 40 minutes.

How is ACT Scored?

The score for each section of ACT varies from a low of 1 to a high of 36. The total ACT score is an average of all section scores.

What is the syllabus of the Science section of ACT?

Biology, Chemistry, Earth/ Space Sciences (Geology, Astronomy, and Meteorology and Physics) in the form of tables, graphs, diagrams are asked in the Science section.

What is the syllabus of the Mathematics section of ACT?

Number and Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Geometry and Statistics and Probability are the main topics asked in the Maths section of the ACT test

What is the syllabus of the Reading section of the ACT?

ACT Reading Section contains Long Passage or Short Prose. Inferences and Conclusions, Logical Reasoning, Interpretation are the main topics covered in the Reading section of the ACT test.

What is the syllabus of the English section of the ACT?

The English section contains Multiple Essays or Passages. Sentence Structure and Formation, Punctuation, English usage are the main topics covered in the English section.

Is the writing section compulsory in the ACT Test?

The writing section of the ACT Test is optional.

What is the level of questions asked in the ACT test?

The level of questions asked in the ACT test is that of Senior Secondary High School.

How many sections are covered in the ACT Test?

The ACT test comprises of four sections namely: English, Reading, Maths and Science

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