Understanding ACT Scores
Are you wondering how you got that ACT score? Keep reading to see the breakdown.
ACT Scoring: Individual vs Composite Test Scores
The first thing that you need to realize is, it’s called a standardized test for a reason. What that means is, you’re going to get what’s called a raw score on each test. So, if there are 60 questions on the math test, and you make 45 out of the 60 questions correct, that is your raw score. But that raw score needs to be converted to a scale score, and on the ACT, the scale score ranges from 1 to 36. What this allows the ACT to do, is to put every one of your four test scores on the same scale, even though each test has a different amount of questions.
Now, your scale score will be determined by your raw score ranking, vs all the other test takers. So, if you made a 45 out of 60 on the math test, but everybody else in the country made better than 45 questions correct, you would have a very low scaled score on the ACT.
On the opposite side of that, if you made 45 out of 60 on the math test, and everybody else in the country made below 45 correct questions, you would be around a 35 or a 36 on the scale score.
So, you scale score is based off your ranking vs everybody else taking the test.
Once your four tests have been converted to a scale score, the ACT is going to take an average of those scores, to get a COMPOSITE SCORE, that is ranging from 1 to 36. If it comes out to be a decimal, the ACT will round up, at .5, thus giving you the higher score.
If you look at your Score Report from the ACT, you will see the scaled score for each test and composite score.
ACT Scoring: Use your Score report to improve on the ACT
Once you know what your goal score is, we can reverse engineer the scoring process, and know exactly how many questions you need to get right, on every single test on the ACT. And then, once we know exactly how many questions you need to get right, we can then apply the appropriate strategies, to get that many questions correct.
This is a very, very important part of prepping for the ACT, and makes improving on the ACT and reaching your goal scores much easier.
If you look at the scoring guide, you will notice very clearly, that most of the scores clump up in the middle. Something else that you should notice about this, is that if you get two more correct answers, it brings your score up one more point.
You may also notice that the higher and the lower you go on the scale, it only takes one ACT question correct, to go up one ACT point. Now, the reason for this, is because when the ACT converts your raw score to a scale score, they try to stay within a normal distribution or bell curve. With the bell curve mapped out over the raw scoring, you can see that most of that students are clumped right in the middle, and that less students make higher scores, and less students make lower scores. Understanding how the ACT scores your test is very important and understanding the distribution of the scores is also important to you improving on the test and understanding how many questions you’ll need to get correct, to help your score.
I hope that explanation of the ACT scoring will help your score improve. If you need some additional tips, check out our free PDF giving you our best 20 ACT tips. The link to grab it is below.