The ACT Reading Test 40-items, 35-minutes
The test comprises four passages that are representative of the level and kinds of text commonly encountered in first-year college curricula; passages on topics in the social sciences, the natural sciences, prose fiction, and the humanities are included.
The test items require students to derive meaning from several texts by:
· referring to what is explicitly stated
· reasoning to determine implicit meanings.
Specifically, items ask students to use referring and reasoning skills to:
- determine main ideas
- locate and interpret significant details
- understand sequences of events
- make comparisons
- comprehend cause-effect relationships
- determine the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases, and statements
- draw generalizations
- analyze the author’s or narrator’s voice or method
Each passage is preceded by a heading that identifies what type of passage it is (e.g., “Prose Fiction”), names the author, and may include a brief note that helps in understanding the passage. Each passage is accompanied by a set of multiple-choice test items.
They do not test the rote recall of facts from outside the passage (everything you need to answer the questions is in the passage!) nor do they contain isolated vocabulary questions. (Like the SAT) (Vocabulary meanings on the ACT can be determined by using context clues.)
Three scores are reported for the Reading Test:
1. total test score-based on all 40 items,
2. subscore-based on the 20 items in the social sciences and natural sciences sections
3. subscore-based on the 20 items in the prose fiction and humanities sections