Printable ACT Practice Tests PDFs: FREE and Official (2024)

Printable ACT Practice Tests PDFs: FREE and Official (1)

No matter how you prep for the ACT—whether you have a tutor, take a class, or study by yourself—you must get access to official, online and printable ACT tests. The official ACT practice test provided below—released by ACT, Inc.—is the exact format you’ll see on test day.

In this post, I'll tell you where you can find the official, online or printable ACT practice test with the answer key. I'll also give you key strategies and resources to help you make big improvements while you prep for the ACT.

The Best Free, Printable ACT Practice Test

On ACT's website, they have one full-length ACT practice test available for free. This ACT practice test was made by the same people who make the ACT you'll see on exam day. The practice test is also fully updated to the format and content of the current ACT.

Note that this practice test is not a cure-all for your ACT problems. To use it effectively, you'll need to learn what it does and doesn't do. You'll also need to make sure you're using ACT practice tests at an optimal frequency (In other words, don't take it too close to your ACT test date!).

But how else can you utilize official practice tests in your ACT prep?

Printable ACT Practice Tests PDFs: FREE and Official (2)

5 Strategies to Get the Most Out of ACT Practice Tests

When you set aside four hours for an ACT practice test, it's important to try to get the most out of your time and energy. Using our five critical tips below as you take your ACT test can help you prepare more effectively for test day.

#1: Take the Practice Test in the Same Format You’ll Take the Real ACT

One of the first questions you’ll need to answer is: how will you take the ACT, on paper or digitally?

The test has traditionally been offered on paper, and this is still true for most of the National Testing Center dates. However, the ACT is starting to pilot a digital ACT test in December 2023.

There's not a lot of information available from the ACT yet, but here's what we know:

  1. Beginning in December 2023, the ACT will offer an online test option (a digital test using a computer) to 5,000 students at select ACT National Test Centers. If you register for one of the dates and locations offering a digital test, you’ll be prompted at registration to select your preferred method of testing (paper or digital).
  2. You may be able to take the test digitally during a school testing day if your school offers the District Testing option. Contact your school or district administrators for more information.

So if you’re one of the few students taking the ACT digitally, you’ll want to take the practice test using this format so you’re familiar with the test software and tools.

If you're going to take the actual ACT on paper (as opposed to taking it on a computer), it's best to emulate this format by taking your practice test on paper, too. Do your scratch work directly in your "test book" (in other words, not on separate pieces of scratch paper—remember, you won't get any extra paper on test day, though you are allowed to take notes directly on your test!).

If you're taking the Writing (essay) section, be sure to use the lined essay paper (included in the PDF above) to write out your essay by hand.

#2: Print Out the Test and Work Through It on Paper

You're going to take the actual ACT on paper (as opposed to a computer), so it's best to emulate this format by taking your practice test on paper, too. Do your scratch work directly in your "test book" (in other words, not on separate pieces of scratch paper—remember, you won't get any extra paper on test day, though you are allowed to take notes directly on your test!).

If you're taking the Writing (essay) section, be sure to use the lined essay paper (included in the PDF above) to write out your essay by hand.

#3: Keep Strict Timing on Every Section

Many students struggle with time pressure on the ACT. Going over a section's time limit by just two minutes can make a noticeable difference in your score since you're essentially giving yourself the chance to answer two or three more questions.

This is why it's so important to adhere to the official time limits on your practice tests. Not only will this help you get used to the test structure, but it'll also let you learn how to identify your weaknesses.

Here are the official time limits on the ACT as well as approximately how long you should aim to spend per question on each section:

ACT SectionTime per SectionTime per Question
English45 minutes36 seconds
Math60 minutes60 seconds
Reading35 minutes52 seconds
Science35 minutes52 seconds
Writing (Optional)40 minutes40 minutes

Last but not least, the ACT isn't without breaks, so make sure to rest during your practice test, too!

One important thing to note: students with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, ADHD, autistic spectrum disorders, medical or psychiatric conditions, and visual or hearing impairments may qualify for 50% extended time.

You can read a complete guide to ACT accommodations here. If you’re eligible for ACT extended time, then you’ll have slightly longer to work on each section:

ACT SectionTime per SectionTime per Question
English70 minutes54 seconds
Math90 minutes90 seconds
Reading55 minutes78 seconds
Science55 minutes78 seconds
Writing (Optional)60 minutes60 minutes

#4: Take the Test in One Sitting, If Possible

The ACT is a marathon: it lasts about four hours, and you’ll likely have to take it on a Saturday morning unless your school offers ACT District Testing (in which case you would take the test on a school day).

Regardless of whether you take the ACT on a weekday or Saturday, though, thousands of students have told me how difficult it is to stay focused during the whole exam and how easy it is to make careless mistakes at the end of the test.

Just like training for a marathon, you need to ensure you've got enough endurance to be able to succeed on the ACT. And the best way to do this is to take a practice test in one sitting—just as you will on test day.

If there's no possible way for you to take an ACT test in one sitting (for example, maybe you're an athlete and have practice every day that completely wears you out), it's OK to split up the test over multiple days—just as long as you're obeying each section's time limit exactly.

In the end, it's better to do some practice than none at all!

Printable ACT Practice Tests PDFs: FREE and Official (3)

#5: Review Your Answers and Mistakes

The main point of taking ACT practice tests isn't just getting to do a lot of questions—it's being able to learn from your mistakes.

For every practice test you take, review all of your mistakes as well as every question you got right. If you don't know why you missed a question, look it up! That way, your wrong answers become teaching opportunities. You can guide yourself through the process from A to B and “show your work”—you’ll probably remember that question even better than if you’d gotten it right the first time.

#6: No Score Improvement? Supplement Your Practice Tests

Some students are great at using practice tests to study by themselves—they'll see a mistake they made, instantly realize why they made it, and then avoid making it in the future.

That said, most students need additional help with pinpointing their weaknesses and getting down key test-taking skills and strategies. Some of the best options for prep help include using an online ACT prep program, hiring a tutor, buying comprehensive ACT prep books, and using other resources available online.

Our ACT Prep program is great because it provides structure and guidance as you study for the ACT, but it also fits into your busy schedule since it's 100% self-paced. More importantly, PrepScholar's ACT Prep program adapts to your skill level, helping you address your unique strengths and weaknesses. This can help save you a ton of time with your prep! The weekly study plans and progress reports outline your progress and areas of improvement, showing you exactly where you need to focus your time to improve.

In addition to prep courses, one-on-one time with a tutor can really help you master those tricky subjects and work toward your best score. Our expert tutors meet with you for face-to-face video sessions, and our flexible scheduling options make it easy for you to find the best times to study!

Printable ACT Practice Tests PDFs: FREE and Official (4)

What's Next?

Ready to get a perfect ACT score? Read our famous guide on what it takes, written by an expert 36 scorer.

If you're aiming for top scores on all four sections of the ACT, read our in-depth strategy guides on how to get a 36 on ACT English, ACT Math, ACT Reading, and ACT Science.

Once you have all your ACT prep resources together, it's time to build a study plan. Our expert advice will help you build the ACT study plan that's best for you!

Want to improve your ACT score by 4 points?

Check out our best-in-class online ACT prep program. We guarantee your money back if you don't improve your ACT score by 4 points or more.

Our program is entirely online, and it customizes your prep program to your strengths and weaknesses. We also have expert instructors who can grade every one of your practice ACT essays, giving feedback on how to improve your score.

Check out our 5-day free trial:

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Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

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Allen Cheng

About the Author

As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT. You can also find Allen on his personal website, Shortform, or the Shortform blog.

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Printable ACT Practice Tests PDFs: FREE and Official (2024)


Where can I get free ACT practice tests? › Users who sign up with receive access to a free ACT study guide, a full-length practice test with all four sections and a writing prompt, and helpful test-taking strategies. The site partners with Kaplan to provide free online ACT prep events.

Is there an ACT answer key? ›

By purchasing Test Information Release (TIR), you will receive a digital copy of the multiple-choice test questions, your answers, a copy of your answer document, the answer key, and the conversion table used in determining your ACT scores.

Are there official ACT practice tests? ›

The Official ACT Prep Guide

Now with 6 official practice tests and 400 new digital flashcards, you can familiarize yourself with the test format and review explanations for all your answers. Learn more about the ACT Prep Guide.

Are ACT practice tests harder than the actual test? ›

Most ACT experts agree that they are easier than what you'll see today. Practice tests 4 and 5 will give you a more accurate sense of the test you'll be taking.

What is the most common answer on the ACT? ›

For those guessing on only a few of the last ten questions, A/F would be the better option. The Safe Bet: Answer choice E/K is the safest choice because it, so far, has always had one correct answer. In fact, E/K has met or exceeded the expected average 82% of the time, making it the most consistent answer choice.

Is ACT harder than SAT? ›

The SAT is not harder than the ACT. Both tests vary slightly in terms of subjects covered and structure. These variations can affect each test taker differently, making one exam more challenging than the other. Taking full-length practice tests of each type can help you determine which may be best suited for you.

What is the trick to the ACT? ›

Forget the right answer—find the wrong ones.

Multiple-choice tests offer one great advantage: They provide the correct answer right there on the page. ACT hides the correct answer behind wrong ones, but when you cross off just one or two wrong answers, the correct answer can become more obvious.

Is it better to guess or not answer on the ACT? ›

There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT. Never, ever, ever, leave any answers blank. You have a 25% chance of getting the question right if you guess. So at the very least, always guess!

Is ACT going digital in 2024? ›

When is the ACT test being offered as an online test? Starting February 2024, ACT will offer an online testing option at select locations nationwide.

What is the most accurate ACT practice test? ›

Official practice ACTs are the absolute best resource to use when studying for the exam since you can rest assured they'll have each of the qualities we discussed above. There is currently one full-length official ACT available for free online, in two different formats.

What is the hardest test on the ACT? ›

Do You Feel Confident in the Content? Obviously, it's not a good idea to take the ACT® unless you have a good grasp on the content that will be tested. The ACT® Reading and ACT® Science sections are both the hardest and easiest to prepare for.

What is the best ACT test prep book? ›

Top General ACT Prep Books
  • "The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2021-2022" ...
  • The Princeton Review's "ACT Premium Prep, 2021" ...
  • "ACT Prep Black Book, 2nd Edition" ...
  • Kaplan's "ACT Prep Plus 2022" ...
  • Barron's "ACT Premium Study Guide, 2022-2023" ...
  • McGraw Hill Education's "10 ACT Practice Tests, 6th Edition" ...
  • Manhattan Prep's "5 lb.

Why is ACT Math so hard? ›

The ACT Math section covers many math concepts, including algebra and trigonometry, which can trip up test-takers. And while the SAT provides common math formulas for its Math section, the ACT does not — meaning it's up to you to memorize all potential formulas.

Which test has the most questions on the ACT? ›

The ACT has a total of 215 questions with 1 optional essay. The English section has 75 questions, the math section has 60 questions and the reading and science sections both have 40 questions.

Why is the ACT reading so hard? ›

Why is ACT Reading so hard? The ACT Reading section is particularly challenging for students because of the time needed to read the passages. Most students' first inclination is to read the full passage before answering the question, but if you do this you will surely run out of time.

How is it possible to take the ACT for free? ›

ACT Fee Waivers are available to high schools, active Upward Bound projects, and qualifying not-for-profit assistance organizations. Officials who identify eligible students may contact ACT to proactively order fee waivers.

How can I improve my ACT score for free? ›

Free ACT Official Online Practice Test
  1. Take official ACT practice tests in all 4 subject areas.
  2. Know exactly what you missed and what you didn't with a score report.
  3. Access related resources to improve your skills based on what you missed.
  4. Retake the test as many times as you want.

Is 20 a good practice ACT score? ›

Colleges consider a range of ACT scores when making admissions decisions, giving students some flexibility. Commonly, students with scores in the range of 20-23 are still considered competitive at many mid-tier colleges. For more selective schools, a score in the 24-28 range will increase your chances of admission.

How do you practice for the ACT test? ›

Take a practice test.

Taking a practice ACT test (PDF) allows you to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions asked. Schedule study time. Set aside small amounts of time for studying over an extended period.

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