One of the most nerve-wracking things about applying to college is taking standardized tests. The ACT can stress anyone out! And waiting to get your scores can be even more stressful than taking the tests in the first place. Once you get your scores, though, it’s all about deciphering exactly what all those numbers, percentiles, and breakdowns mean. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be an expert on ACT scoring!
Analyzing Your Student Report
When you get your ACT scores back, you’ll get them in the form of a Student Report. Here is the sample report directly from ACT. These are the different scores you will see in your Student Report.
- Subject Test Scores. The English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Tests are each given a score from 1 to 36.
- Composite Score. The average of the scores of the four subject tests (English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science).
- Subject Test Sub-scores. Within the English, Mathematics, and Reading Tests, you will also be given sub-scores based on different topics within each test. These sub-scores range from 1 to 18 and do not necessarily add up to your subject test score.
- Writing Test Score. Those taking the ACT Plus Writing will be given a Writing Test score; this score will range from 2 to 12.
- Combined English/Writing Score. Students taking the ACT Plus Writing will also see a combined English and Writing score. This can range from 1 to 36. These scores are derived by using a conversion table; the individual Writing Test and English Test scores may not necessarily add up to this combined score.
If you took the Writing Test, you will also receive brief comments on the essay you wrote.
In addition to scores and comments, you will also be given percentile ranks for all the scores (composite, subject test, and combined scores, as well as sub-scores) on your report. For Composite Score, you will be given a percentile rank both for your state, as well as nationally; for all other scores and sub-scores, you will only be given a national percentile rank. The percentiles range from 1 to 99.
What Do the Percentiles Mean?
If, for example, you are given a percentile rank of 70, this means that you scored higher than 70 and lower than 30 percent of all other students taking the test for that particular administration.
When is My Score Available?
Regarding score availability, the ACT states:
“Most scores are available for online viewing within 2 ½ weeks after each national or international test date. Your scores are not reported any faster if you view them online. Score reports are normally released within 3 to 8 weeks after each test date. If you took the Writing Test, your score reports will be released only after all your scores are available, including Writing, within 5 to 8 weeks after the test date.”