What Are the ACT Percentiles?

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The percentile ranking included in the ACT score report indicates the percentage of test takers whose scores were the same as or below the score of the taker of the test. The ACT, which stands for the American College Test, is one of the tests administered to students who plan to attend college. The test covers the subject areas of English, math, reading and science.

Students are scored on the number of answers they get right rather than the number of answers that are incorrect. Scores and subscores for tests are reported to test takers for each major subject area. The first step in calculating a score involves determining the raw score for the exam. The raw score profiles the number of questions that were answered correctly on the test. This number is then converted to a score that is scaled from 1 to 36.

Seven subscores are calculated similarly to the raw score, except these final scores range from 1 to 18. No mathematical association exists between the subscores and raw scores. In other words, a test score is not a sum of the subscores on the test.

Ultimately, a composite score is figured to represent the average for the four subject areas.