ACT Score: What’s the Highest ACT Score Possible?

It does not matter if you just started preparing for your ACT or you have been preparing for many years; many students always wonder what’s a great ACT score. 

This post will list the odds of scoring a perfect ACT score and offer tips and advice to improve your ACT score.

What is a Perfect ACT score?

On a scale of 1-36, the highest possible score you can get on the ACT is 36.

The ACT score consists of four subject area scores—Math, English, Reading and, Science. Each section is also scored on a scale of 1-36. 

Important tip: If you give the ACT with Writing, your essay will not affect your average score. This means you can get a perfect score of 36 without earning an ideal essay score of 12

On each section, one can earn 36 points, and these 36 points are scaled scores, which are translated from your raw scores—that is, the total number of questions you get right on each ACT section. (For more information about how each ACT section is scored, read below.)

So, how difficult is it to get a perfect 36? As reported by ACT, Inc, “out of the 1,670,497 students in the class of 2020 who took the ACT, only 5,579 earned the highest possible ACT score”, which brings us to only 0.334% of test-takers! 

If you want to bet the part of less than 1 % group, keep on learning about the ACT scores you will require for each section—and why it is possible to get a perfect score without answering every single question correctly.

How do I get a Perfect Score, Without Getting Every Question Right

It is good news to know that you do not have to get every question right to get the highest ACT score. I have prepared a chart that shows exactly how many problems you need to get correct in each section to reach high scores,

Important tip: One does not need a perfect score in every section to average out to a 36.

Official Data provided by ACT

DATA ACT

As from the table above, you can see it is possible to get a question wrong in the English and Math sections, and you will still get a 36 in both areas. 

There are fewer questions in Reading and Science than English and Math, so in Reading and Science, each question is weighted more heavily, so you have to get every question right to get perfect scores in those sections.

Remember, this is just one example from the ACT of how raw scores are scaled. This conversion changes often and according to individual test difficulty, so it is challenging to assume how many questions you can get wrong. It is safest to predict that you have to get every question right to get a perfect section score.

Important tip: While calculating your score, the ACT adds up your four section scores, i.e., English, Math, Reading, and Science, and divides them by four to get your average. Average scores that are not whole numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number—those more significant than half a point are rounded up, while averages less than half a point are rounded down. In simple words, it is possible to get a perfect ACT score, even if you only pass entirely in two sections.

Have a look at some examples to make it simple

John receives the following section scores:

English: 35
Math: 35
Reading: 36
Science: 36

Here, you get an average of 35.5, which then rounds up 36, a perfect ACT score. John received a perfect 36 composite score without getting every problem right.

Mason receives the following section scores:

English: 34
Math: 36
Reading: 36
Science: 36

Here, you get an average section score of 35.5, which also rounds up to a perfect score of 36. By checking the table above, you can see that Mason missed five questions in the reading section and still achieved a perfect ACT score.

Significant changes to the ACT, in September 2020

The first necessary change is that students who take the test multiple times will receive a super score. Earlier, superscoring only existed at the individual college level; only colleges with a superscoring policy would superscore. Nowadays, every college will know a student’s ACT superscore; it is still unclear how they choose to use it. 

Another change is that students can retake single sections of the ACT, unlike earlier, to retake the entire exam. These changes are beneficial to get a perfect ACT score.

Tips for Preparing for the ACT

1. Take the PreACT 

The PreACT is an excellent way for students to get familiar with who plans to take the ACT exam; students will have the ACT testing experience, covering the four primary ACT sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science.

As claimed by the ACT, taking the PreACT leads to an overall increase of 0.23 points on the ACT. Across the various sections, taking the PreACT resulted in a 0.38-point improvement in the English department, a 0.17-point increase in the Math section, 0.20-point growth in the Reading section, and a 0.26-point upgrade in the Science section.

PreACT designs and scored similarly to the ACT. You can find your strengths and weakness before taking the ACT.

2. Take a more and more Practice Test 

Students taking the ACT more than once score 2.9 points higher on average than those who take the test only one time—one should get comfortable with the test and not overthink during the actual ACT, the more you practice, the better you get you can improve your score. You can also take a free practice test, which is available every year.

If you are seriously aiming for a 36, you should put effort into the goal of getting a 36 on each section.

3. Understand and Improve your weaknesses 

After completing a practice test, take a look at your section subscores, or “reporting categories.” Here, you will get a better idea of which specific skills and types of questions to target

It will not help you if you are taking the test just for the sake of taking it. The purpose of taking the test is to improve and come up with an effective study strategy.

Important tip: Make sure to evaluate your mistakes after every test, and continuously practice improving your weakness.

How to Get a perfect ACT score of 36

The best way to achieve this is to aim for a perfect raw score on every ACT section. 

Become consistent and balance your mental stamina

If you aim for a perfect ACT score on every section, you must excel during studying and while taking practice tests. This is crucial for developing better test-taking stamina and competence.

It is easy to answer all the questions in a section correctly, but to get a perfect 36 on the ACT, one must work within the allotted time, which is tricky. Check out time limits per ACT section:

ACT Time limits

Important tip: Because of such intense allocation, one has to aim for speed and accuracy while studying.

If you aim for a perfect ACT score, check out our Free ACT Training.  Get free access to ACT Math, Reading, English, Writing, and Science Training.

2. Get Clarity about your content.

To get a perfect score of 36, you must know precisely what kind of content to expect on each section of the ACT. You will have to start preparing well ahead of time and cautiously review what type of questions you will get in each section.

3. Avoid Careless Mistake

You will spend most of the time addressing your weak spots, and you have to watch out for your small mistakes. That could be anything from going very fast and missing the point of a question, a calculation error on Math, to even bubbling in an answer incorrectly.

What is the best time to take the ACT?

We generally recommend students wait until the fall of their junior year. Ever since the ACT was established, it was based on the principle of testing what knowledge a student has acquired in high school, and this setting allows the student the right amount of classroom time  (to take PreACT and other ACT prep). Students also get enough time to retake the test in the spring of their junior year. 

The Overall Cost of the ACT

$52 to take the ACT without the optional Writing section

$68 with the Writing section per sitting.

The above fee includes reports for you, your high school, and up to four colleges. Information for different colleges cost $13 apiece. If you register late for the ACT—which generally extends roughly two weeks past the standard registration period—an additional $30 late registration fee is charged.  

Economically disadvantaged students can also get a fee waiver. Fee waivers cover the basic registration fee of the ACT and include test scores for up to 6 colleges.

Conclusion: Important Takeaway

However, it will be challenging to get a perfect ACT score of 36. Only 0.195% of students achieve it!—it is not impossible.

Understand that score of 36 is considered the highest. A composite score of 34 or higher is already in the 99th percentile of test-takers. In simple words, if you get a 34+, you have outperformed 99% of students who take the ACT. That is a significant achievement!

If you study according to our guide and understand our principles, you can get a 99th percentile ACT score.

Check out AP Guru’s detailed guide about the ACT Test.

If you want to increase your score on an average by 7+ points, sign up for our Flagship ACT Prep Program. We have helped more than 3000+ students on their ACT Prep. 

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