How the ACT is Scored

Published on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 by

ACT Chalk Talk #29

Written by: Craig Gehring, Founder and CEO of MasteryPrep


Ask a student what ACT score he wants. He might be able to tell you. “24,” he might say. Or “27.” Then ask him what that means. How many questions does he need to answer correctly? The most common answer to that question is a shrug.

A student who is fully prepared for the ACT has the answer to that question. She knows exactly how many questions she must answer correctly to reach her target score for each subject. She knows how many tough questions she can afford to skip. Her time management strategies are informed by her goals.

This video gives the full details on how the ACT is scored:

Here are three takeaways:

    1. Every question is worth one raw point, whether it’s easy or impossible. Don’t waste time on questions that are unlikely to give any points.
    2. Every test is scaled (curved) a little differently. Use MasteryPrep’s averaged conversion tables to set goals.
    3. Because the composite is the average of the subtests, and because it’s easier to improve scale scores at higher score ranges, students with limited prep time should focus on their strong subjects, not their weak ones.


These tips are adapted from our Decoding the ACT, professional development program.
Click here to learn more.


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