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Duke University
UCLA
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
200
800
| 800 verbal
200
800

#### Extracurriculars

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

# Demystifying the ACT Bell Curve

Is it true the ACT scores are distributed on a bell curve? If so, could someone break it down for me? How exactly does this bell curve work and how might it affect my score?

21 days ago

The ACT is designed with norm-referenced scoring, meaning that the scores distributed amongst test-takers follow a normal distribution, also referred to as a bell curve. Here's how it works:

The test is designed so that the majority of students will score in the middle range, with fewer students scoring on the higher and lower ends. Picture a graph that rises to a peak in the middle and falls off on either side – that's where the term 'bell curve' comes from.

The curve is created through a process called equating. Equating adjusts the raw scores (the number of questions you answered correctly) to account for differences in difficulty across different test dates. This means if you took a more difficult version of the test, it's accounted for in the scaling process.

Your scaled score (the score you actually receive, between 1 and 36) is based on your raw score. For example, if on the English section you correctly answer 70/75 questions, that raw score might be translated to a scaled score of a 30 due to how that specific test was equated.

It's also important to know that, contrary to popular belief, this doesn't mean that if many high-performing students take the exam on the same day as you, your score is negatively impacted. The scores are equated to ensure fairness, not curved based on who takes the test on any given day.

Ultimately, the ACT's goal is to offer score comparability across different test administrations and to fairly represent each student's abilities, despite differences in the exams' difficulty. The bottom line: focus on doing your best and learning the material; don't worry too much about the curve.

21 days ago