ACT scoring doesn't have to be a mystery.  Learn how the answers you get right on the ACT translate to your overall score. We'll explain the ACT grading scale and show you a sample ACT score chart. 

Is the ACT scored on a curve?

Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition on TODAY Show

ACT Tips: Pacing and Personal Order of Difficulty

On each  section of the ACT, the number of correct answers converts to a scaled score of 1–36. ACT works hard to adjust the grading scale of each test at each administration as necessary to make all scaled scores comparable, smoothing out any differences in level of difficulty across test dates.

There is no truth to any one ACT test date being “easier” than the others, but you can expect to see slight variations in the scale from test to test.

Calculate Your ACT Score

ACT Raw Score vs Scale Score

Here’s how ACT scoring works. You’re given a point for every question you get right (there’s no penalty or point deduction for wrong answers). The total number of questions you get right on each test (English, Math, Reading, and Science) equals your raw score . Your raw score for each test is then converted into a scale score (1–36).  

Composite Score

Your composite score, or overall ACT score, is the average of your scores on each test. Add up your English, Math, Reading, and Science scores and divide by 4. (Round to the nearest whole number). Learn more about what your ACT scores mean .

Sample ACT Scoring Chart

This is a sample ACT raw score conversion grid from the free test ACT makes available on its website. Keep in mind, the ACT score chart for each test administration is different, so this one should be used only as an example.


Scale ScoreEnglish Raw ScoreMath Raw ScoreReading Raw ScoreScience Raw Score
36 75 59—60 40 40
35 73–74 57–58 39 39
34 71–72 55–56 38 38
33 70 54 37
32 69 53 37
31 68 52 36 36
30 67 50–51 35 35
29 66 49 34 34
28 64–65 47–48 33 33
27 62–63 45–46 32 31–21
26 60–61 43–44 31 30
25 58–59 41–42 30 28–29
24 56–57 38-40 29 26-27
23 53–55 36–37 27–28 24–25
22 51–52 34–35 26 23
21 48–50 33 25 21–22
20 45–47 31–32 23–24 19–20
19 42–44 29–30 22 17–18
18 40–41 27–28 20–21 16
17 38–39 24–26 19 14–15
16 35–37 19–23 18 13
15 33–34 15–18 16–17 12
14 30–32 12–14 14–15 11
13 29 10–11 13 10
12 27–28 8–9 11–12 9
11 25–26 6–7 9–10 8
10 23–24 5 8 7

How is the ACT Writing Test scored?

The writing test score is a little more complicated. If you take the ACT Plus Writing (which will ask you to write an essay), your writing will be evaluated by two readers. Both readers score your essay on a scale of 1–6 in four different areas (learn more about the ACT essay here). The ACT essay score will appear on your score report on a scale from 2-12. ACT also reports an English Language Arts (ELA) score out of 36, which represnts your overall performance on the English, reading, and writing tests, but this value is NOT included in your ACT Composite Score calculation. No ELA score is reported if you do not choose to take the ACT With Essay.


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