# SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Planning and trying to reach your ACT target score can be stressful and frustrating. You got a 36 in Math on one test date and a 35 in Reading on another test date. Why can’t you just get all of your highest individual section scores on the same test date?

Well, if you’re applying to colleges that superscore the ACT, you don’t have to worry about that. So what is an ACT superscore? And how do you calculate it? In this post, I’ll explain what superscoring means, how to create your own ACT superscore calculator, and how superscoring will affect your test prep strategy.

## What’s an ACT Superscore?

An ACT superscore is a new final composite score that is made up of your best individual section scores across all the ACT tests you took. These best individual section scores are averaged to create a brand new composite ACT score.

In case you are unfamiliar with how you calculate your composite ACT score, I’ll provide a brief explanation. The ACT has 4 Sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each section is individually scored from 1-36. These are then averaged to give you a composite ACT score on a scale from 1-36.

## How Do You Calculate Your ACT Superscore?

When you create an ACT superscore, you pick out your best individual section scores for English, Math, Reading, and Science across all the ACT tests you took and average them to create your new ACT composite score.

I recommend creating a table to use as your ACT superscore calculator. I’ll guide you through the steps.

For your table, make 6 columns. The number of rows depends on the number of ACT tests you’ve taken. Your total number of rows should equal the # of test taken + 2. Label the table as I did below.

 Test # English Math Reading Science Composite Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Superscore

Then, fill in your respective test date subscores and composite scores.

 Test # English Math Reading Science Composite Test 1 31 29 33 21 29 Test 2 32 24 29 29 29 Test 3 27 26 35 24 28 Superscore

Then, fill in the superscore number for each section by selecting the HIGHEST individual section score. Leave the composite blank for now.

 Test # English Math Reading Science Composite Test 1 31 29 33 21 29 Test 2 32 24 29 29 29 Test 3 27 26 35 24 28 Superscore 32 29 35 29

Then, average the “superscore” individual section scores:

(32+29+35+29) / 4 = 31

That is your final composite ACT superscore. Fill that in under superscore composite.

 Test # English Math Reading Science Composite Test 1 31 29 33 21 29 Test 2 32 24 29 29 29 Test 3 27 26 35 24 28 Superscore 32 29 35 29 31

By creating an ACT superscore, this student’s composite score increased by 2 points, a considerable jump on the ACT.

Before you get too excited, make sure the colleges you plan to apply to superscore the ACT because not all colleges do.  For example, MIT, NYU, and Cornell superscore the ACT, while Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown do not. It's pretty uncommon, but check for information about your target schools.

Colleges like ACT superscoring because it increases the average ACT composite score of their admitted students. This helps them improve their rankings. Superscoring is also great for you. If you do poorly on a section on one test date, it won’t affect you with colleges who use superscoring, as long as you get a higher score for that section on another test date.

## What Does Superscoring Mean for Your ACT Strategy?

I’ll just give a brief summary as we’ve got another great guide on ACT Strategy for superscoring. Remember: this strategy only applies if ALL of the schools you’re applying to superscore the ACT. If some of the schools on your target list do not superscore, then you’ll need to aim for your composite target score on one test, and the below strategy does not apply.

Step #1: Plan your ACT schedule early (preferably before the start of your Junior Year). Since you’re able to superscore, you’ll probably want to plan to sit for 3 test dates. If you reach your target composite score the first time, great you’re done early, and you don’t need to stress. If you don’t reach it the first time, you still have plenty of time to sit for other test dates and can pick out your best individual section scores from each date to create your superscore.

Step #2: Focus your study. If you reached your target section score for 2 sections but didn’t do very well on the other 2 sections, you can put all of your energy into preparing for those 2 sections to improve those scores the next test dates.

Step #3: Relax! Superscoring should make you more relaxed. You can completely mess up on a section on one test date and still get into your target college. If you score poorly on a section on one test, just focus on preparing for that section for your next ACT test date.

## What’s Next?

Want to improve your ACT score by 4+ points? Download our free guide to the top 5 strategies you need in your prep to improve your ACT score dramatically.

Dora Seigel

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.

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