Released ACT Practice Tests Ranked by Difficulty

The following charts rank publicly released ACT exams by section and their corresponding difficulty using the methodology described in this post.

Note: Difficulty refers to overall question difficulty. The curves for these exams are adjusted accordingly so an easier exam won’t necessarily mean you score higher.

How to Use: I have my students start with the easiest sections to learn the concepts and then slowly progress to the tougher ones. When test time comes around, I have them review the toughest sections.

*RB stands for the Red Book (The Real ACT, 3rd Edition)

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ACT English


ACT Math


ACT Reading


ACT Science



2 thoughts on “Released ACT Practice Tests Ranked by Difficulty

  1. Hi there. Thank you for such an interesting series of posts on the ACT Curve.

    Just to make sure I understand, a more forgiving curve actually means a harder test, right? In other words, people scored lower (due to the difficulty of the test) but the forgiving curve helped balance things out. A tougher curve, then, would be an easier test? I realize it’s hard to generalize because the curve may be tougher in the 30’s and more forgiving in the lower ranges, but I just wanted to make sure I understood what you were saying.

    Also, if you were to rank from easiest to hardest all of the ACT tests from the last decade (referring to your post “Toughest ACT Curves of the Past Decade”), would you put June 2015 English (which you named “most forgiving”) as the hardest and June 2012 English (‘toughest curve”) as the easiest?

    Thank you for clarifying this!

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