You spend 30 minutes writing the best argument possible…but who reads and scores it?
ACT has a league of specially trained judges — whom they politely call “readers” — who score your essay. You will never meet them, know who they are, or hear from them. These individuals frequently have some kind of background in education or writing, and are given specific criteria to score you on.
Thankfully, your score is not up to just one judge. There are TWO judges who will read what you write. And here’s how the scoring works:
Each judge rates your essay on a scale of 1-6. You get a 1 if they want to congratulate you on having a pulse. A 6 is awarded to the most stellar, impressive arguments. Most high school juniors receive 3’s and 4’s. (This site, by the way, is dedicated to getting you to achieve a 5 or a 6).
After each of your two judges scores you separately, their scores are compared. As long as each score is within 1 point of the other, they are considered valid scores. The separate numbers are added together to give you a total out of 12. So, let’s say one judge gives you a 4 and the other one gives you a 5 — those are valid scores and supply you with the total of 9 out of 12.
But let’s say one judge gives you a 5 and the other a 3. What then? The first, the judges rescore them to see if either one of them budges. If they don’t, then a third judge joins in on the fun and supplies their score.
So, long story short: there are TWO trained, ACT-approved readers who read and score your essay!