Curious about what a perfect ACT score is? This article gives you some background on how the ACT test is scored and what makes up a perfect score.

What is the ACT Exam?

ACT was once an acronym that stood for the American College Testing program. In 1996 their name was officially changed to ACT. The ACT exam is one of two primary college admission exams.

What Is In the ACT?

The ACT consists of four different test sections: 1) English; 2) Math; 3) Reading; and 4) Science. The English Test consists of 75 questions, the Math test 60 questions, and 40 questions each for the Reading and Science tests. There is also an optional Writing Test that measures writing skills. The entire ACT including the Writing Test is often referred to as the “ACT Plus Writing.” All ACT questions except for the Writing Test are multiple choice questions.

What are Subsections or Subscores?

The English, Math, and Reading sections have questions that pertain to certain sub-categories or subsections of the main section. The results are reported as “subscores.” The subsections are: 1) English-Usage and Mechanics, 40 questions; 2) Math-Pre and Elementary Algebra, 24 questions; Intermediate Algebra and Coordinate Geometry, 18 questions; Plane Geometry and Trigonometry, 18 questions; and 3) Reading-Social Studies and Natural Sciences, 20 questions; Prose Fiction and Humanities, 20 questions.

How are the Scores Calculated?

ACT counts the correct answers to all of the questions. Incorrect answers are not counted. These “raw” scores are converted into what ACT calls a “scale score.” The scale score ranges from 1 to 36. Each of the four sections are scored from 1 to 36. If the Writing Test is taken, a subscore from 2-12 is combine with the English Test Score for a English/Writing Score that ranges from 1 to 36. Subsections or subscores are calculated the same way but the scale score only ranges from 1 to 18. Also, subscores values do not add up to equal a main section score.

What is the Composite Score?

The Composite Score is reported with the four main sections’ scores. The Composite score is the average of all four main sections’ scores rounded to the nearest whole number. The Composite Score does NOT include the Writing Test Score.

What is a Perfect ACT Score?

perfect ACT Score

A perfect ACT score is 36. This refers to the Composite Score, since it is an average of the four main sections. In other words, a perfect ACT score is a 36 in English, a 36 in Math, a 36 Reading, a 36 in Science, and therefore a 36 Composite score. If the Writing Test is taken, a combined English/Writing perfect score would also be 36 (remember that the Writing Test Score is not calculated for the Composite Score).