ACT Reading Test Structure

The ACT Reading Test

Question Types
35 Minutes
10 Social Studies Questions
10 Natural Sciences Questions
10 Prose Fiction Questions
10 Humanities Questions

On the ACT Reading Test, you'll have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions—that's about 50 seconds per question! The section contains four passages, each followed by 10 questions.

ACT Reading Question Format

There are four categories of reading passages: Social Studies, Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Prose Fiction. You'll get one passage in each category. The passages are about 1,000 words long and are written at about the same difficulty level as college textbooks. After each passage, you'll find 10 questions.

The Social Studies, Natural Sciences, and Humanities passages are usually well-organized essays, each with a specific theme. Questions—including Specific Detail, Inference, and Big Picture questions—expect you to recognize the theme, to comprehend specific facts, and to understand the structure of the essay. Prose Fiction passages require you to understand the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of fictional characters, even when these are not explicitly stated in the passage.

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