ACT English Section: What You Need to Know

Posted by Sanjana Viswanathan

July 09, 2019 at 5:00 PM

ACT ACT English Test Prep

What is in the English section?

The English section of the ACT tests your knowledge of standard English language conventions, elements of writing, and language. You will have 45 minutes to complete 75 multiple-choice questions. The test contains five passages, each with a set of varied questions that will test your understanding of the mentioned topics.

How to Prepare?

One way to know where to start would be to take a practice test to see what categories within the English section are your strengths and weaknesses. You can solidfy your strengths because they tend to be small mistakes that can be easily fixed. Then you can find lessons, like the videos in Prepmedians to learn the weaker topics more thoroughly. Because what tops test prep through comedy and music in Prepmedians? Another way would be to learn all the topics addressed in the test from the easier fundamental grammar rules to the more difficult structure rules. The breakdown of the topics are listed below for reference.


Excelling in the grammar rules tested by the ACT is essential in doing well in the ACT English section. ACT tends to test grammar rules repeatedly. These topics are applied by everyone on a day to day life from talking to texting. It would be useful to formally learn these topics through the entertaining videos in Prepmedians. Understanding and learning these topics would allow you to ace the mechanics questions in the English section.

Grammar/Mechanics topics:

  • Parts of Speech
  • Independent/Dependent Clauses
  • Punctuation
  • Pronouns
  • Verb Tenses and Forms
  • Subject and Verb Agreement
  • Prepositions
  • Comma Rules
  • Wordiness/Redundancy
  • Possessives
  • Parallelism
  • Dangling Modifiers

Substance and Structure:

These questions are different from the grammar questions as they test your reading comprehension and your ability to analyze texts. The main strategy to tackle these questions is to be able to identify what the question is asking you to do. This is a step above knowing the English conventions. To be able to excel in these questions, it is necessary to know the strategies you need to know for each type of question. These top scoring strategies to tackle all types of structure and substance question can be found in Prepmedians.

Substance and Structure Topics:

  • Main Idea
  • Theme
  • Add/Delete
  • Transitions
  • Placement/Relevance
  • Author’s goal/technique

Takeaways and Tips:

  • The ideal time to spend on each passage would be…9 minutes.
  • Mechanics questions should take approximately 30 seconds.
  • Substance and Structure questions should take approximately 1 minute.
  • Choosing any answer would give you a 25% better chance than not choosing an answer (guess!!).

Checkout Prepmedians to learn these topics more in depth and get more of these tips and takeaways!

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Posted by Sanjana Viswanathan

Sanjana scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT/SAT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Fun Fact: I once slept for 24 hours straight (I know, that's a lot).