How to Superscore: ACT

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Will learning how to superscore your ACT scores be the golden ticket to your dream school? Let’s learn more about superscoring and when it can help you.

What is a superscore?

What does it mean to superscore your ACT test? It means that the highest of each section (Math, English, Science, and Reading) will be taken and averaged to make a new superscore. It’s actually not that difficult to figure out once you have your test scores. We are going to walk you through how to superscore so that you will know what the highest score you can possibly send to a school will be.

The best way to explain how it works is through a scenario:

If you take the test three times and score highest in Math on test one, highest in Science on test two, and highest on English and Reading on the third, these highest scores from each section will be averaged. They will take your Math score from test one because that was your highest Math score. Your Science score was highest in test two so that score will also be represented. Your highest English and Reading score was on the third and these scores will be used. These highest scores will then be averaged out to your new ACT composite superscore. Make sense? Let’s look at this possible scenario using test scores:

Test 1: English: 31; Math: 29; Reading: 31; Science: 26; Composite: 29

Test 2: English: 32; Math: 28; Reading: 32; Science: 30; Composite: 31

Test 3: English: 33; Math: 27; Reading: 34; Science: 27; Composite: 30

In order to figure out your ACT superscore, you take the highest score from an individual section and put them together forming a new set of scores as follows from our example:

Superscore: English: 33; Math: 29; Reading: 34; Science: 30; Composite: 32

You can see here that by superscoring, your composite score goes up one whole point from your best composite individual test score.

Superscoring is great then, right?

Maybe. It depends on if the school you are applying to uses the superscore versus the highest overall test score. If they don’t allow superscoring, then an awesome superscore won’t really help you here. Plus, with schools that do not accept superscoring, if you plan to take the test numerous times and focus on just one area at a time, your scores will certainly reflect this.

Check out this list of schools that superscore.

Many schools have a requirement that you send all of your scores from all of your tests. If you seem to be slacking in some sections, this will be noted by the admissions department. The more highly competitive it is to gain entry to a particular school, the more closely your scores will be examined beyond the superscore. If the admissions office decides that you were not serious about testing, you could be rejected.

How do you use the superscore to your advantage?

You can plan to begin taking the test early in your high school years and focus more on one section in order to get the best score possible in that section. If you take this approach, however, it is imperative that you do not totally neglect studying for the other sections as well, as all section scores will be seen by universities that don’t accept the superscore.

In other words, don’t plan on acing the Math section and guessing on the other sections because your scores will show your lack of preparation in the other subjects! Just because you can guess and still get a decent average score doesn’t mean that you should use this as your “goal” for all the other sections besides the one you are planning on focusing on.

Remember this: testing costs time and money… and bad scores count too

Testing isn’t inexpensive, nor is it easy to study before the test. If you are committed to getting into college, especially if you have your heart set on a certain school, then take the time to learn the material. Don’t race into the ACT planning to take it 4 or 5 times, assuming that you can “just superscore” afterwards and use that much-better-than-average score to gain admission. The schools have the right to see all of your scores on all of your tests, and they have the option of superscoring or not.

To help get a better score, study as much as possible. Plan to take as many practice tests as you can find. These will help get you used to studying for the types of questions you will see on the test. This is especially helpful for those bad at taking tests but great at studying.

Learning how to superscore can be advantageous for some applying to schools but is not necessarily a quick fix for poor study habits or lack of test preparation. Check out some more of our Test Tips resources and sign up for Quesbook’s free ACT test prep! We have over 10,000+ free ACT practice questions and a smart study platform that identifies your weaknesses and customizes your study plan. Sign Up Here.

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