How to ACT like a pro!

How to ACT like a pro!

What do we mean by ACT?

According to wikipedia - The ACT college readiness assessment is a standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions in the United States produced by ACT, a nonprofit of the same name.

This means it’s based on your ACT score that your academic performance is judged and you get admission in your dream college in the United States. So how is ACT score?

If you’re someone who’s confused between the the SAT and ACT do go through - Choosing Between SAT and ACT.

If you’re someone who has just begun their preparation for ACT, the first thing you should focus on is the making a plan to making a plan to maximize your score with comparatively less effort from your side.

To start with this let’s first understand the scoring system. This will make you more specific about your goal and eventually you will be able to make a better schedule for yourself.
Read an article on-  How to use Fabmarks to prepare for ACT for free.

Let’s go a bit deep about the ACT pattern.

ACT consists of five areas - 

  • English

  • Math

  • Reading

  • Science

  • Writing (optional)

Each section’s score range is between 1-36 with an exception for writing which has a score range between 1-12.

All these are then combined to form the average named as the Composite score again having a score range from 1-36.

There are certain terms we’re going to use in the article - 

  • Raw score - Score obtained in each subject.

  • Scaled score - The number in the score range.

There is no penalty for a wrong answer in ACT. Thus, raw scores are nothing but the total of marks allotted for all the answers you’ve correctly attempted.

A way you can convert Raw scores into Scaled ones- 

The wikipedia defines the scaled score as- A scaled score is the results of some transformation applied to the raw score. The purpose of scaled scores is to report scores for all examinees on a consistent scale.

The score which you get on the paper is a scaled score. This is done to provide a uniformity in all the subject scores throughout the academic batch.

The table given in the Preparing for the ACT guide by the ACT gives you the overview of all you need to know. The ACT scoring guide - 

ACT scores
Source -

Raw scores are translated to Scaled score differently on different editions of ACT. These scores aren’t so rigid but are good enough to give you an idea about what the raw score on each section is.

Composite score in ACT?

A composite score as said earlier is the average of the scores in all the areas in ACT.This is then rounded up to the nearest integer value.

So, how is rounding up done?

Take an example: You scored 35 in Mathematics, 30 in Science, 29 in Reading and 28 in English. Your composite score is calculated as:-

(35+30+29+28) /4 = 30.5

This would be rounded off to 31 pertaining to the rounding off rules.

What do you mean by subscores?

Subscores are the scores you earn in each area of ACT. Each subscore ranges from 1-18, and are also scaled from the raw score. The subscores are given for English, Mathematics, Reading and Science for people who haven’t opted for Writing and the Subscores are given for English, Mathematics, Reading, Writing and Science  for people who have opted for Writing.

So, why is a subscore so important?

By analysing your subscore you can assess your strengths and weaknesses more precisely. You get know exactly where you went wrong and you can then work on the particular area with a stronger strategy.

The subscores are mainly useful for your personal strengths and weaknesses, the colleges have nothing to do with an individual’s subscores. They are more interested in your composite score rather than your subscore. Thus, there is no equation between your subscore and your composite score on the matter of your performance judged by the colleges.

So, how can you analyse yourself section-wise?


This section consists of 75 MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions). The perfect score in this would be 75, which is again a raw score. There is no penalty for any question in this section and each question carries 1 mark to it.

The sub-divisions in this section include the 40 questions of mechanical skills in English and 35 questions of the Rhetorical Skills in EnglishSuppose you answer 50 out of 75 questions correctly, 15 wrong and miss out on 10 questions, your total score will be 50 out of 75.


This section consists of 60 questions. The perfect score here is 60. Again, no penalties for unattempted or wrongly attempted questions in this section.

The sub-divisions in this section include 24 questions in Elementary Algebra, 18 questions in intermediate Algebra or Co-ordinate Geometry and 18 questions in Plane Geometry or Trigonometry problems.


This section consists of 40 questions. The perfect score in this section would be 40. 

The sub-divisions in this section are 20 questions in Social Studies and Natural Science and 20 questions in Arts and Literature.


This section consists of 40 questions. Again, the perfect score would simply be a 40.

There are no sub-divisions in this section. Rather it has 3 specific questions on data representation, Research summaries and conflicting viewpoints.


The writing section in the ACT is optional. It not like the previous three. They were a Multiple Choice Question type format, whereas writing consists of n essay. 

The essay written by you will be checked by two different people exclusively, and each will give you a score between 1-6. In each of the four domains. The final score is then calculated by combining all the scores you’ve earned and scaling it down to a score over 36.

With this I’ve covered details about all the area in ACT and how the scoring system works. You should plan accordingly so you can give your best with minimum effort in the Examination.

To know how FabMarks can help you through with the examination Click Here.