ACT® Scores & Score Ranges
A Complete Guide to ACT Scoring

If you are planning to take the ACT®, you are probably curious how the ACT is scored. This one-stop ACT scoring guide has everything you need to know how scores from different sections contribute to your overall score, ACT score range, conversion of raw scores to scaled scores, and score release dates.

How Is the ACT scored?

The ACT test consists of four mandatory sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Your final ACT score, ranging from 1-36, is the average of your scores from these sections on the test. If you are taking the ACT with an optional writing test, the scores of your writing section will provide details about your writing abilities; however, they will not affect your overall ACT score. To generate your total ACT score, the raw score from each section is converted to a scaled score.

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Student studying for the ACT with UWorld
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What is a raw score?

Your ACT raw score is determined by the number of questions you answer correctly on the test. There is no penalty for wrong answers or the questions you leave blank. For example, on your Math test, if you answer 45 questions correctly, leave 5 blank, and answer 10 wrong, your raw score for that section would be 45.

The raw score for each section depends on the number of questions in each section. Below is a breakdown of each section, its corresponding raw score range, and number of questions.


Questions: 75
Raw Score: 0-75


Questions: 60
Raw Score: 0-60


Questions: 40
Raw Score: 0-40


Questions: 40
Raw Score: 0-40

What are scaled scores?

After your raw scores are calculated, they are converted to a standardized scale of 1-36 for each section. These converted scores are known as scaled scores. You must note that the conversion scale, set by the ACT, is almost the same for every test; however, there may be slight differences depending on the difficulty level of the test. For example, a raw score of 38 on the Science test may earn you a scaled score of 36 on some versions of the test, while for other versions, you may be required to get a raw score of 39 or 40 to earn a scaled score of 36.

Now that you know what raw and scaled scores are, let’s learn in detail about the ACT scoring range for each section.

ACT English Scoring

To find the score for the English Section, first, your raw score is calculated. As there are 75 questions in this section, the highest raw score you can receive is 75. Once your raw score is calculated, it is converted to the scaled score, ranging from 1-36.

The following are the three reporting categories for ACT English scoring:

In the ACT English section, the questions are either detail, broad-idea, or big-picture-based, and they generally test your rhetorical, usage, and mechanics skills. To learn how you can improve your ACT English score, check out our ACT English Study Guide.

ACT Math Scoring

To get the Math section score, your raw score is calculated. The maximum raw score you can get for this section is 60, as the total number of questions in this section is also 60. After your raw score is calculated, it is then converted to a scaled score of 1-36.

The reporting categories for this section are:

This section assesses mathematical skills that students have acquired up until grade 12. The ability to calculate and understand basic concepts can be a huge advantage on this test. Read our ACT Math Study Guide to learn the strategies to improve the score on the Math test and make an effective study plan.

ACT Reading Scoring

For the reading section, first, your raw score is calculated in order to determine your section score. Given that there are 40 questions in this section, the maximum raw score you can get is 40. Once your raw score is obtained, it is converted to a scaled score of 1-36.

The following are the reporting categories for this section:

The Reading Test has various questions to check your understanding of the flow of ideas and spot details in the given passages. You will be assessed on your ability to read intently and evaluate text critically. Plan ahead of time and prepare well for your Reading section with our ACT Reading study guide.

ACT Science Scoring

In order to calculate your score for the science section, your raw score must first be calculated. With a total of 40 questions in this section, the maximum raw score you can receive is 40. After your raw score is determined, it is converted to a scaled score of 1-36.

Below are the three reporting categories for this section:

This section evaluates the skills required to grasp, examine, weigh, reason, and address issues in the natural sciences. You'll be required to interpret graphs, figures, tables, and charts. For the most efficient way to prepare for your science section, follow our ACT Science study guide.

ACT Optional Writing Scoring

For the ACT Writing section, your essay is scored by two graders and assessed on four domains. Each domain is scored on a scale of 1-6 by each grader. The scores from the two graders are then added together to get four separate domain scores for this section ranging from 2 to 12. Additionally, the four domain scores are averaged to report a single subject-level score for this section also ranging from 2-12.

The four scoring domains for the ACT Writing section are:

  1. Ideas and Analysis
  2. Development and Support
  3. Organization
  4. Language use

You must note that your Writing section score will assess your writing and expression ability only and will not contribute to the ACT composite score.

ACT Score Conversion Table - Scaled Scores

You can learn about raw-to-scaled score conversion with the following ACT score calculator chart. The conversion table in this ACT scoring guide was created using the 2022-23 ‘Preparing for the ACT’ document published by the ACT.

English test Math test Reading test Science test
72-75  58-60 39-40 38-40 36
70-71  56-57  38  37 35
68-69  54-55 37  36 34
67 53  35-36 35 33
66 51-52  34 34  32
65 49-50 33  - 31
64 48 - 33  30
62-63  46-47  32  32 29
61 44-45  31  31  28
60 41-43 30 - 27
58-59  39-40 29  30  26
56-57 37-38 28 28-29  25
53-55  35-36 27  26-27 24
51-52 33-34  26 25  23
48-50 31-32  24-25 23-24 22
45-47  30 23 22 21
42-44 28-29  21-22 20-21  20
40-41  26-27  20  19 19
38-39 24-25  19 17-18  18
36-37  21-23  17-18 15-16 17
33-35 17-20 16 13-14 16
30-32  13-16 14-15 12 15
27-29 10-12 12-13 11  14
25-26 8-9 11  10  13
23-24  6-7 9-10 9 12
19-22 7-8 8 11
16-18  4 7 10
13-15 - 5 6 9
11-12 - 5 8
9-10  - 4 4 7
7-8  3 3 6
- - - 5
4-5  2 4
3 - - 1 3
2 - 1 - 2
0-1  0 0 0 1

How to calculate ACT score?

After getting your scaled scores, the next step is calculating your final ACT score. The ACT score is the average of scaled scores from the English, Math, Reading, and Science sections. You need to add up the scaled scores from these sections and divide the sum by four. Then, round off the answer to the nearest whole number. That is your total ACT score. The highest ACT score you can get is a perfect 36, while the lowest ACT score is 1.

To learn about the components of your score report, read our blog on How to interpret ACT score report.

ACT Score Reporting Dates & Delivery Timelines

The ACT scores are generally available two to four weeks after the testing date. Following the ACT score release dates is a great way to track when your scores will be ready to view. Refer to the following table to know the time frame in which the scores are processed.

National Test Date Reporting Timeframe
February 11, 2023 February 28 – April 7
April 15, 2023 April 25 – June 9
June 10, 2023 June 20 – August 4
July 15, 2023 July 25 – September 8

If your results are not available during the stated time frame, it may be due one the following issues:

  • Your test date was changed or there was a delay in receiving your answer documents from your test center
  • The name, birthdate, and Match Number on the answer document that you gave as "Matching Information" are different from those on your admission ticket
  • Your test center has received a report of irregularity
  • Any registration costs are due

If you are interested to know how to check your ACT score and at what time scores are released, be sure to read our blog on What To Expect on ACT Score Release Day.

Remember that it is very important to start your ACT test preparation well ahead of time and practice all the important topics and concepts. For tracking your performance you can even go for the PreACT test which is the official practice version of the ACT. The PreACT scores will help you understand which areas you need to improve. Be sure to follow our ACT study guide to know the tips for preparing effectively and getting a perfect score.

Practice with difficult questions so the real exam feels easy.
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Reporting in UWorld that breaks down the overall ACT score
Finding the measure of the angle with a circle and equation graphed in a standard plane

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It generally takes two to eight weeks after your test date to get your ACT scores.
Your scores are released within two to eight weeks after your test date. Your MCQ scores take around two weeks while your writing section scores take up to two weeks after the MCQ scores are released.
Your scores are posted online and can be accessed using your MyACT account when they are available.
Any score above the National average is considered to be a good score. The average score for 2022 was 19.8. So, any score above it will be considered a good ACT score.
The highest ACT score that anyone can get is 36.
The ACT average scores have been downgrading over the last couple of years. For 2020, 2021, and 2022, the average ACT scores were 20.6, 20.3, and 19.8 respectively.
In previous years, it has been noticed that the lowest ACT score that colleges accepted was 12. So, any score below 12 may risk your chance of getting admission in any college.

Superscoring is a score interpretation method where you select your best section scores from multiple test dates to get a new composite score. To understand in detail, how ACT is superscored, read our blog on superscoring.

If your ACT score is less than what you expected, you can go for verification services. ACT provides you the option of getting your MCQs and essay verified to discover any errors in the scoring process. To know more in detail about the verification services, be sure to read our blog on how to verify your ACT score.

Getting a perfect score means answering every question on the ACT correctly. However, it is quite a challenging thing. In 2021, only 0.31% of the test takers received a composite score of 36. In 2020, the percentage of students who got the perfect score was 0.34%.
You can access your MyACT account or contact the customer service at (319) 337-1270 to get your old score reports.

No, the ACT scores do not expire.

The ACT scores have no official expiration date. However, if your scores are more than five years old, it is recommended to take the test again.
The primary score that colleges check is your composite score. However, some colleges may take a look at your subscores to further evaluate your aptitude in your chosen field of study.
A score between 20-25 is the bare minimum to apply for a scholarship. In many cases, the required score depends on the scholarship that you are applying for.
For admission purposes, colleges generally require your ACT score. So, there is a chance that a great ACT score may cover for your poor GPA.
The ACT score is often given more importance than good grades. However, this may vary from college to college. Some colleges may take your grades into consideration to determine your strengths and weaknesses.

The ACT percentile ranges from 1-100 and evaluates your performance on the test as compared to other test takers. To know more about score percentiles, check out our blog on what does ACT percentile mean.

The ACT score reports can be sent directly through your MyACT account. You get four free submissions, and after that, each report costs $18 to be sent to colleges. To understand the complete process of sending scores, read our blog on how to send ACT scores to colleges.

No, you cannot send your ACT score without writing if you took the ACT plus Writing test.

It depends on the school you’re interested in and how many credits you have already earned. Different transfer applicants need to meet different requirements. Generally speaking, there is a possibility that you will be required to submit your ACT score if you have completed fewer credits.

There are three things you can do in case you get a bad ACT score – canceling your scores, stopping your reports to be sent to colleges, and deleting test records. To know about them in detail, read our blog on canceling ACT scores.

Read More About ACT Test

Curious to know about the ACT? This guide has everything about the basics of ACT, why it is important, and how to prepare yourself for the test.
Want to learn about the ACT format? This article discusses the structure of the ACT sections, types of questions, and duration of the test.
Preparing for the ACT? Read this guide to know everything about the ACT syllabus, question types, and weightage of different subjects on the test.
Prepare for the ACT like a pro! Discover the secrets to success on the ACT Test with our exclusive guide including bonus review tips to help you ace.
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