Overview of the ACT Scoring System

 The ACT score report provides test-takers with a wealth of information about their performance. There are separate scores for each multiple-choice section of the ACT, a composite ACT score, writing scores, reporting category scores, percentile rankings at the state and national levels, and College Readiness Benchmark indicators. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 ACT Scoring System

 EnglishMathReadingScienceWriting/ Essay*ELASTEMComposite
Total no. of Questions756040401115100215
Scaled Score1-361-361-361-362-121-361-361-36
Time/Question36 Sec.60 Sec.52.5 Sec.52.5 Sec.NANANANA
Question TypeMultiple-ChoiceMultiple-ChoiceMultiple-ChoiceMultiple-ChoiceEssay promptNANANA
  • Subject Score: There are 4 subjects scaled scores.
  • Grouped Score: STEM (Math + Science) and ELA (English + Reading + Essay*).
  • Composite Score: Average of all subjects (English + Math + Reading + Science) scaled score.
  • *If you take the ACT with Writing, your essay will not be factored into the composite score.
  • NA – Not Applicable.

Understanding ACT Score Conversion

Figure 1: Sample ACT Student Report of the ACT Organization

Percentile Rankings and College Readiness Benchmarks for the ACT

     Percentile rankings allow students to easily see how they rank against their peers across the country and in their home states. State and national percentile rankings are given for ACT composite scores and the following skill areas: Math, Science, STEM, English, Reading, Writing, and ELA. STEM rankings are determined by ACT Math and Science scores, while ELA rankings are determined by English, Reading, and Writing scores. As defined by ACT, College Readiness Benchmarks are ACT scores associated with a 50% chance or higher of receiving at least a C or a 75% chance or higher of receiving at least a B in related college courses. According to the ACT, the current benchmarks are 18 (English), 22 (Math), 22 (Reading), 23 (Science), 20 (ELA), and 26 (STEM). It is important to note that these benchmarks are broadly calculated averages and may not necessarily reflect a course’s actual difficulty.

To prepare for the ACT test in a month download the ACT free e-Book. Grade your ACT practice test bubble sheet online to get a detailed Socrato diagnostic report. For a test prep strategy, check out the Socrato Youtube channel.

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