From Exampedia
Jump to: navigation, search


The ACT EXPLORE exam was created with the aim of testing the abilities of 8th and 9th grade students in the fields of reading, math, English, and science. The results of the test help develop the individual student’s career path as well as courses the student will take during future education. [1] Although the Explore exam will be replaced completely by the Aspire exam in June of 2014, the exam is still being offered across the United States. [2]

Function of the Test

EXPLORE Study Guide

The purpose of the EXPLORE test is to measure the academic aptitude of 8th and 9th graders in the United States. The test is prepared for and taken at the discretion of local school districts across the United States and aims to provide a predictor upon where a student would best apply themselves during the rest of their pre-college career, as well as through college and into the workplace. [3]

Test Administration

EXPLORE Flashcards

The EXPLORE test is offered in classrooms across the United States for students in the 8th and 9th grades. The classrooms are either in elementary or middle school, however the specific location and date for a student depends upon where was selected and what time slot was selected by the student at registration through EXPLORE. Test dates are usually on Saturdays, however a student may request a non-Saturday date to take the test if he or she observes Saturday as a religious day of observance. [4] For students with disabilities, a special request form should be filled out by the student and/or his or her family before the registration deadline. Such requests should be submitted to the ACT, so that the company can review how to best accommodate the student. [5] In general, the student’s State Department of Education pays for the registration for the EXPLORE exam and the fee is different based upon what state the student is taking the exam, however the student does not pay any fee for initial registration and to take the exam if he or she registers before the deadline. For example, in Wyoming, the Wyoming Department of Education pays the registration fee for all 9th graders. [6] A late registration fee of $22.50 applies to the student if he or she registered after the regular registration deadline. [7] If the student is ill on the day of the test, he or she in order to take the EXPLORE test at a later date will have to pay a fee of $22.50 if there is a seat available at another testing facility at another testing date. [8]

Test Format

Sections of the EXPLORE Test[9]
EXPLORE Test Subject Areas # of Questions Time Limit
English 40 30
Mathematics 30 30
Reading 30 30
Science 28 30
Total 128 120

Test Environment

Like the ACT test that highschool Juniors and Seniors take for college, the ACT EXPLORE testing centers require each test-taker to pre-register as well as bring an admission ticket. Testing begins at 8:30 AM, and all students must arrive before this testing period. Calculators are allowed on the Mathematics section, however calculators with built-in algebra systems are not. With a short break, where students are allowed to eat snacks and drinks that they brought, and instruction periods, the testing period should start soon after 8:30, and end no later than 11:30.[10]

Test Structure

The EXPLORE Exam test is made up of four different sections: English, Math Reading, and Science. There is also an unscored section that helps each student find suitable work environments. Each section allows half an hour to finish, a total of two hours.

Test Content

  • Sample English Questions:
Numbers 1 and 2 pertain to the following passage:
Volta Hall is a (1)womens residence located at the western side of campus. It is composed of a porter's lodge, a small chapel, a dining hall, a library, a small laundry service, a hair salon, a small (2)convenient store, and three residential buildings designated for students.
    B. woman’s
    C. women’s
    D. womens’s
    G. OMIT word
    H. convenience
    J. connivance
  • Sample Mathematics Questions:
  1. A blouse normally sells for $138, but is on sale for 25% off. What is the cost of the blouse?
    A. $67
    B. $103.50
    C. $34.50
    D. $113
    E. $125
  2. Which of the following expressions is equivalent to the equation 3x2 + 4x - 15?
    F. (x-3)(x+5)
    G. (x+5)(3+x2)
    H. x(3x+4-15)
    J. (3x2+5)(x-5)
    K. (x+3)(3x-5)
  • Sample Reading Questions:
Numbers 1 and 2 pertain to the following passage:
This passage is part of a re-telling of a traditional American Indian legend; The Black Crow.
In ancient times, the people hunted the buffalo on the Great Plains. These huge animals were their source of food and clothing. With stone-tipped spears, they stalked the great beasts through the tall grasses. It was difficult and dangerous work, but they were forced to do it in order to survive.
At that time, there were many crows flying above the plains, as there are today. But unlike the crows we see now, these birds were white. And they were friends to the buffalo, which caused the hunters no end of travail. The white crows flew high above the plains, where they could see all that was happening below. And when they saw that hunters were approaching the herd, they would warn the buffalo. Swooping down low, they would land on the heads of the great beasts and call out to them: “Beware! Beware! Hunters are coming from the south! Caw, caw. Beware!” And the buffalo would stampede, leaving the hunters empty-handed.
  1. According to the passage, the people used stone spears to hunt the buffalo because
    A. They had no metal.
    B. They had no horses.
    C. They needed to eat.
    D. They were plentiful.
  2. The word travail means
    F. Travel.
    G. Difficulty.
    H. Anger.
    J. Fear.
  • Sample Science Questions:
In a study performed to determine the migration patterns of fish, 34,000 juvenile sablefish of the species Anoplopoma fimbria were tagged and released into waters of the eastern Gulf of Alaska during a twenty-year period. The tagged fish were all juveniles (less than 2 years of age), so that the age of the recovered fish could be determined from the date on the tag. This allowed age-specific movement patterns to be studied. Tagged fish were recovered from sites in the Bering Sea, throughout the Gulf of Alaska, and off the coast of British Columbia. The fish were recovered by commercial fishermen, with the results reported to the scientists performing the study. A total of 2011 tagged fish were recovered. It was found that fish spawned in coastal waters move to deeper waters when they are older. At the same time, they migrate north and west, across the Gulf of Alaska toward the Aleutian Islands. Eventually, they return to the eastern Gulf as adults.
The figure shows tag recoveries from sablefish tagged as juveniles by age (in years) and by depth (in meters) for all the areas in the study. The size of each circle is proportional to the number of recoveries. The range for each data point is 1 to 57 recoveries. The symbol x represents the median age.

Sablefish Recovery Chart - Science Test.jpg

  1. What percentage of the released, tagged fish were recovered for this study?
    A. 2011
    B. 20
    C. 6
    D. Can’t determine from the data given.
  2. The median age of tagged fish recovered at depths between 301 and 500 meters is approximately
    F. 2 years.
    G. 5 years.
    H. 9 years.
    J. Data not shown.


In total, the EXPLORE test has a set “minimum” score of 1 and a “maximum” score of 25. Scores are listed as a Composite Score, which measures the average of test scores in every category in addition to a score for each category, with subcategory scores for the main sections (English, Math, Reading, Science) that determine how well you did in each skill section. Subcategory scores measure between 1 and 12, but do not add up to the Test score for one of the four major sections of the EXPLORE test. In the Score Report, the student will also be shown a table that gives them the ability to compare themselves to other students that took the test in the United States for each scoring category. [1]

Answers to Sample Questions

English 1:C; 2:H; Mathematics 1:B; 2:K; Reading 1:C; 2:G; Science 1:C; 2:G;

Recent/Future Developments

The EXPLORE test will be discontinued in June of 2014 and replaced with the ACT Aspire exam. The ACT Aspire exam will become available in April of 2014. [11]

Related Tests


  1. ^ a b The EXPLORE Test March 3 2014
  2. ^ EXPLORE: Your Future March 3 2014
  3. ^ EXPLORE, Plan, and the ACT March 3 2014
  4. ^ Test Dates March 17, 2014
  5. ^ Center for Bright Kids 2009
  6. ^ The EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT Test for Wyoming Students March 17, 2014
  7. ^ ACT 2013-2014 Calendar February 5, 2014
  8. ^ EXPLORE Test Policies February 5, 2014
  9. ^ ACT Breakdown 16 June 2014
  10. ^ ACT Testing and Procedures 16 June 2014
  11. ^ ACT to Drop ‘Explore’ and ‘Plan’ Tests January 3 2014