For those taking the new SAT starting in March 2016, the essay scoring system is getting a makeover. While the SAT, just like the ACT, will have two readers review your essay, these two readers will assign your essay three distinct scores - for Reading, Analysis, and Writing - ranging from 1 to 4. The two scores given to each of these three dimensions are then added. Thus, you will receive three scores for your essay that individually will range from 2 to 8 and cumulatively range from 6 to 24. Yet, the College Board will not be scaling (cooking/inflating) this raw score. This raw score will be your actual essay score. Get it? Good! The entire SAT scoring rubric is available .
The ACT essay score is confusing for many reasons. First, unlike the SAT exam, the ACT test does not use the essay score to calculate the Composite score, which is the score that colleges use for admissions.
How to improve my ACT essay score
If you take the ACT test with Writing, then you will see "Combined English/Writing" underneath the Science score on your test results. There, you will see a score from 1-36. This score is calculated using a that combines your English score and the ACT Essay Score to create a new "Combined English/Writing" score. However, don't worry about it too much. Most colleges do not use this score and typically those strong in English will also write good essays, so there is usually only a 1-2 point difference between the original English score and the one that combines the essay.