How Long Is the ACT With Writing?

Including breaks, the ACT with Writing takes a total of 3 hours and 50 minutes.

The ACT includes four mandatory multiple-choice tests (English, Math, Reading, Science) plus an optional Writing Test. If you choose to skip the essay, your timing will look like this:

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime AllowedStart TimeEnd Time
English7545 minutes8:309:15
Math6060 minutes9:1510:15
(break)(10 minutes)10:1510:25
Reading4035 minutes10:2511:00
Science4035 minutes11:0011:35
Total Time3 hrs 5 min (counting the break)

If you opt to take the Writing Test, you’ll get an additional 40 minutes for that section at the end of the exam. So, your timing will look more like this:

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime AllowedStart TimeEnd Time
English7545 minutes8:309:15
Math6060 minutes9:1510:15
(break)(10 minutes)10:1510:25
Reading4035 minutes10:2511:00
Science4035 minutes11:0011:35
(break)(5 minutes)11:3511:40
WritingN/A4011:4012:20
Total Time3 hrs 50 min (counting breaks)

Your actual time in the test room will be about 15 minutes longer than that because you’ll need to settle in and go over pre-testing information with your proctor.

These two schedules are standard for ACT testing all over the world. Now and then, a test gets off to a late start, or a proctor skips over a break. If that happens to you, speak up–you’re entitled to that downtime. Apart from that, the only exceptions are for students who have extended time accommodations.

Prior to ACT testing day, make sure to utilize proper prep materials provided by The Princeton ReviewKaplanACT Online, and others to help you better plan for your ACT Essay.

Test Prep Advisor Staff

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The Test Prep Advisor staff is made up some of the world's foremost experts on standardized tests. Some of them have developed their own copyrighted techniques for preparation and others have published books that revolutionized the way people study. They all have years of experience as tutors and share a passion for helping people achieve (or exceed) their target scores.