The ACT English portion will test your reading and writing abilities. The ACT English section is a 75-question, 45-minute test. That comes out to just 36 seconds per question!

Here are the main concepts that will be tested in the ACT English section:

  • Usage and mechanics (refer Table no. 1)
    • Punctuation
    • Grammar and Usage
    • Sentence Structure
  • Rhetorical skills (refer Table no. 2)
    • Strategy
    • Organization
    • Style

Table 1: ACT English Subsection 1 (Usage/Mechanics)- Distribution of questions and skills you can expect to encounter in Usage/Mechanics.

Question TypesSkillsDistribution of Questions (approx.)
Grammar and UsageIdentifying and correcting subject-verb agreement errors Identifying and correcting pronoun errors (such as incorrect antecedents or case errors) Identifying and correcting verb tense errors-identifying and correcting modifier errors (such as misplaced or dangling modifiers) Identifying and correcting parallel structure errors12-15 questions (15 to 20%)
Sentence StructureUnderstanding sentence types (simple, compound, complex) Identifying and correcting sentence fragments and run-on sentences-identifying and correcting comma splices and other punctuation errors-understanding and using correct sentence formation and syntax15-19 questions (20 to 25%)
Organization and StyleUnderstanding and using correct word choice and phrasing-recognizing and correcting errors in sentence clarity and coherence-understanding and applying correct style and tone-identifying and correcting errors in paragraph structure and organization-identifying and correcting errors in the overall structure and organization of a passage7-12 questions (10 to 15%)
Table 2: ACT English Subsection 2 (Rhetorical Skills)- Distribution of questions and skills you can expect to encounter in Rhetorical Skills
Question TypesSkillsDistribution of Questions (approx.)
OrganizationUnderstanding the structure of the passage-identifying the author’s purpose-outlining the passage7-12 questions (10 to 15%)
StyleUnderstanding figurative language-recognizing tone and mood analyzing sentence structure12-15 questions (15 to 20%)
StrategyIdentifying persuasive techniques analyzing evidence-identifying logical fallacies12-15 questions (15 to 20%)

Strategies to improve ACT English score in 2023:

  1. Understand the format and content of the ACT English section: Familiarize yourself with the types of questions asked in the ACT English section, such as grammar and usage, punctuation, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills.
  2. Practice regularly: Take practice tests regularly to identify areas where you need improvement. This will help you become familiar with the format and types of questions asked in the ACT English section.
  3. Build your vocabulary: Enhance your vocabulary by reading widely and actively learning new words. This will help you to better understand the nuances of the English language.
  4. Focus on grammar and punctuation: Brush up on your grammar and punctuation skills by reviewing the rules and practicing exercises. You can find many resources online or in study guides.
  5. Improve your reading comprehension: The ACT English section is closely related to reading comprehension. Practice reading different types of texts and make sure you understand the meaning and purpose of each passage.
  6. Time management: During the test, manage your time wisely. Work through the easier questions first and don’t spend too much time on any one question.
  7. Seek help if needed: If you are struggling with any aspect of the ACT English section, seek help from a tutor, teacher, or study group. They can provide valuable feedback and advice to help you improve your score.

Remember that improving your ACT English score will take time and effort, so be patient and persistent in your efforts. With consistent practice and dedication, you can achieve the score you desire.

Download ACT’s free e-book to learn more about the ACT. For a comprehensive diagnostic report, students can also grade ACT practice test bubble sheets online using Socrato’s test grading software.

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