Preparing for the ACT is hard work. Students must study for long hours, hone their test-taking skills, and sometimes take the test three or even four times. This article aims to help students capitalize on their admirable efforts when presenting their ACT score to colleges. It will first define two important terms: ACT superscoring and Score Choice. Then, it will offer advice on how to incorporate these terms into the application process. Ideally, with the help of this article, students and parents will take full advantage of colleges’ policies regarding the ACT.

What is ACT Superscoring?

ACT superscoring means combining the best scores on individual ACT sections from different test dates. The result is always at least the same score and often a higher one. The table below depicts a hypothetical student, John, who took the ACT twice and super scored:

English Math Reading Science Total
Test Attempt One 27 28 30 32 29
Test Attempt Two 25 31 32 29 29
Superscore 27 31 32 32 31

Notice that John scored higher in English and Science the first time and higher in Math and Reading the second time. Although his total score was 29 for each test, he combined the best scores by section from the two test dates to reach a score of 31. He also scored better in Writing the second time and kept that score as well. 31 and 9 are John’s official scores.  

Superscoring Strategies

The ability to superscore gives students a major advantage if they take the ACT multiple times. The second time, they can focus on improving their weaker areas, as there is the more potential to improve. Moreover, if a student is satisfied with how they scored on a section the first time, they aren’t required to study for that section again because they can save the score from the first test date. John likely used this strategy for English and Science.

In addition, students who take the ACT three or four times can hone in on a section they struggle with while neglecting the other sections. That said, taking the ACT more than twice is expensive and labor-intensive. It is usually preferable to take it fewer times and earn a high score in multiple sections at once. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Finally, while most students calculate their own super scored results, admissions representatives also do the calculations themselves. There is no need to indicate a superscored result on an application. Sending the original scores is sufficient.

What is ACT Score Choice?

Score Choice is the applicant’s ability to present as many (or as few) ACT tests to colleges as they would like.  In other words, students can decide that they do not wan