Preparation for ACT English requires effective strategies and timely execution. There are some grammar rules that you need to follow in order to improve your test scores. If you are looking for ways to improve your English scores, we have got the answers for you!

The ACT’s first part is the English section. It is a lengthy exam that must be finished in 45 minutes right before the ACT Math section. It has 75 questions. Timing in this section can be difficult for students. Students taking the ACT English exam must also be well-versed in the 13 basic grammar rules and writing techniques.

Your proficiency with English language and grammar rules, as well as your ability to write clearly and concisely, are tested in the English section. About half of the questions on the ACT English test are about simple grammar rules. The second half focuses on your writing style. To see this in action, let’s examine the test’s structure. You can also set your English learning goals by examining the test structure.

Format of the ACT English test

The ACT English consists of 75 questions that must be answered in 45 minutes. Five passages with 15 questions each, all roughly the same length, are attached to these questions. The passages contain questions woven throughout them (unlike Reading, where the questions appear at the end of each passage).

Regardless of whether a question is evaluating writing production or grammar usage, the premise behind each one is the same. A sentence, paragraph, or passage that has been underlined will be subject to analysis and/or change.

Remember that you can only change the text that is underlined when answering questions that ask test takers to pay attention to an underlined portion of a sentence.

Type of questions

English passages come in a wide variety of genres. Each passage will have a title, but no other context will be provided. This section covers everything from ancient history to personal narrative.

ACT categorizes English questions into three types:

  • Production of Writing
  • Knowledge of Language
  • Conventions of Standard English

Have a look at the table below to follow the concepts and their related category:

ACT content and concept

Conventions of Standard English (i.e., grammar) questions will test your knowledge of standard written English grammar, punctuation, and other rules — basically these 13 grammar rules. You will be asked to increase the effectiveness of communication in a piece of writing in the Production of Writing and Language Knowledge questions.

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Questions requiring the production of writing and language knowledge take longer to complete than questions requiring knowledge of English conventions. Instead of memorizing rote grammar rules, main ideas, and how topics are developed in a passage, they frequently call for a thorough understanding of context.

How does ACT English scoring occur?

On the ACT, each section is given a score between 1 and 36. The lowest score you can receive for this section is 1, and the highest score is 36. Based on section-specific algorithms, the test graders determine this by converting your raw score—the number of questions you correctly answer—to a number between 1 and 36.

A composite score on a scale of 1-36 is calculated by averaging the results from each ACT section. Our ACT scoring guide has more information on this process.

The ACT does not penalize incorrect answers. If you answer a question in English incorrectly, you do not receive any points. Never leave a question on this section blank to help students take advantage of this. How many questions must you correctly answer for a high score? The reply is, “It depends.”

Despite the ACT being a standardized test, no two English sections are alike in terms of their level of difficulty and subject matter. It’s unlikely that a 20 on one English section will be equivalent to a 20 on another.

You can consult different English learning books to develop your understanding of English passages, pronouns, sentence formation, and structure.

How to improve ACT English scores?

No matter what your areas of strength are, here are our top five tips for passing this challenging section.

Read the text

Students can succeed on the English test without having a thorough understanding of the passages, unlike the ACT Reading test. Students will frequently be required to take into account the context and main ideas of sentences, paragraphs, or the passage as a whole in Production of Writing and Language Knowledge questions.

Identify the concept

In order to strategically eliminate answers, it can be helpful to identify the question types and the concepts being tested.

The presence or absence of a question in front of the answer choices is one of the primary differences between questions on the production of writing and questions on conventions of English.

Prove answer choices wrong

Remember that there is only one grammatically correct response to each English Conventions question. In addition to selecting the correct response, it’s crucial to examine each alternate response and determine why it is grammatically incorrect.

Students should look more closely because they may be missing something if they ever feel that there are two or more grammatically sound answers. It’s crucial to carefully check each response because the ACT likes to include “nearly correct” options that seem reliable initially. All but one option should be able to be definitively ruled out by students.

The Production of Writing and Language Knowledge questions can be a little more challenging because while multiple responses may be grammatically correct, only one will effectively convey the author’s intention.

Know the grammar rule

You will need to be familiar with standard grammar rules and how to use a semicolon on ACT English. Get familiar with the 13 grammar rules that will be tested in this section to start your ACT English preparation on the right foot.

Remember that the ACT will test these guidelines in predictable ways. As you study, you’ll start to notice, for instance, that each test will largely test apostrophe usage the same way. The same holds true for every other grammatical principle.

A word about “No Change”

Almost every ACT English question includes an answer choice that reads “No Change.” Although many students are hesitant to select this option, it should be treated just like any other answer option.

The “No Change” option is necessary due to the layout of the Writing and Language section in order for the passages to be read in their entirety without any gaps. The information that is highlighted, however, has the same chance of being true as any other answer option. Read the entire textual passage that has been underlined before choosing your response, and treat it just like any other option.

Preparing for ACT English requires you to be smart enough to analyze the test requirements instead of reading random material. There are platforms available online to explore, for example, there is a Rosetta stone English review available to analyze the learning platform for yourself.

Frequently asked questions about ACT English

Q. How many English questions are on the ACT?

A. There are 70 questions in the English section of the ACT.

Q. How long is the English section of the ACT?

A. The English section is timed at 45 minutes.

Q. What is a passing score on the ACT English section?

A. There is no set passing score for the English section of the ACT. However, a score of at least 21 is generally recommended.


The English portion of the ACT assesses a student’s capacity to spot and fix grammatical and stylistic mistakes in written English. As a result, the student demonstrates that they are proficient in written Standard English. The ACT English section also assesses a student’s capacity to determine how changes to a passage affect a reader’s comprehension of the content.

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