ACT Curve (Meaning, Complete guide, Expert tips)

ACT Curve

Do you have concerns about ACT and the recent ACT Curve news? Don’t worry; this post will teach you everything you need to know about the ACT Curve and how it affects your ACT.

The ACT is a standardized test set up by high school juniors and seniors in the United States.

College admissions offices mostly require that a prospective student take either the SAT or the ACT, and it is now compulsory in some states that students take the ACT as part of the requirement for their graduation.

The ACT is accepted by all states and by major universities around the country.

It is the more reason it surprises us that many people still find it hard to understand how the ACT is scored, creating room for misconceptions and rumours about it.

If you’ve taken the ACT before or are planning to take it soon, you’ve probably questioned or asked yourself:

What is the ACT Curve? Is a 36 on one ACT the same as another ACT taken months or years apart? Also, does ACT curve and SAT Curve work the same way?

What is ACT, and why is its Result Significant? 

The ACT is a standardized test that high school students take to determine their college readiness.

The ACT is a paper test with multiple-choice questions (4 or 5 answers) and an optional essay.

It was introduced in1959, and it has since been a very good and, to some, a better alternative to the SAT, which was an admission requirement at most 4-year colleges and universities in the United States.

During its first 45 years, ACT was used by just a small percentage of college candidates.

But today, the number of prospective students sitting for the ACT has surpassed the number of prospective students sitting for the SAT because of some ACT Hacks. 

The ACT is currently accepted at all 4-year schools and universities, and some have made both examinations optional.

Taking the ACT helps to determine how prepared a student is for college academically.

A student’s success in college largely depends on passing the ACT. However, around 2.5 million students take the ACT every year.

The ACT Curve – Comprehensive Understanding

The ACT Curve generates a scaled score (1 to 36) from your raw score (the number of correct answers you provided in the test).

This ACT Curve is fashioned to correct for small differences in the difficulty of the ACT. This way, there is no benefit to getting a simpler test and no downside to getting a more difficult test. 

For instance, suppose in the math section of the ACT, you answered 30 questions right out of 60 questions.

In the April 2010 ACT, you would have gotten a math score of 19; in the ACT of June 2010, you would have gotten a 20; and in the December 2012 ACT, you would have gotten a 21.

The April 2010 test was a bit simpler than the average, the June 2010 test was about the average, and the December 2012 test was a bit more difficult than the average.

This can be viewed from a different perspective, like: to get a score of 20 in math; you would require to get a raw score of 31 on the simplest test (April 2010), 30 on the average test (June 2010), and only 29 on the more difficult test (December 2012). 

To avoid taking the ACT in the same month as a significant number of strong students, weak test takers should take the test in the month where a large number of average students take the test.

Wrong Assumption about ACT Curve:

The (wrong) assumption here is that the ACT Curve will lower the student’s average score in the first circumstance (a large number of strong students) and increase it in the second circumstance (a large number of weak students).

The truth is that the ACT Curve only reflects on the difficulty of that particular ACT exam, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the students sitting for the exam.

For instance, suppose that a large number of strong students sit the ACT exam in a given month.

Even if they all attain a perfect score, a weaker student’s score will remain the same if these stronger students haven’t sat for the test.

Likewise, a large number of weaker students taking the ACT exam will not affect the score of the stronger students.

Read this: SAT Cheats (SAT Meaning, Common cheats, Major Cheats, Measures)

Important Facts to Note about the ACT Curve 

You cannot use the ACT Curve to game the system: 

Since you will never know in advance how a particular ACT will convert raw points to scale scores, you can never guarantee yourself a higher score by sitting for the ACT on a precise date or with a particular set of people.

Not even one of these factors affects the ACT Curve, and anybody who argues against this fact is wrong. 

Your personal academic ability does not affect the scale score:

ACT Curve is different from the ACT percentiles because the performance of other candidates does not determine them.

So, in reality, it doesn’t matter who you take the test along with. Even if you were to sit for the ACT among certified bookworms, their ACT scores still would not affect yours and vice versa.

The date of your ACT has no effect on your ACT Curve:

The equating process makes certain that candidates on one test date will not have an advantage over candidates on a different test date, and in the same way, this applies to state-sponsored jurisdictions.

This only signifies that there is no simpler or harder ACT.


The ACT Curve is in no way subjected to the performance of your peers.

Unlike most exam curves, the ACT Curve is not displayed against other exam scores.

Rather, the ACT Curve is calculated based on the specific difficulty of the ACT you sat for.

The bottom line is that you should sit for the ACT exam when you are best prepared for it.

Don’t allow other people’s results disturb you, because the ACT Curve isn’t what you think it is.

Pay more attention to yourself and how to reach your target score.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

Share this Information.

Editor’s Recommendations:

You May Also Like