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If you’re applying for the college of your dreams, you need to know how your performance compares to other applicants applying to your ideal schools. One of the factors colleges look at is your test scores on standardized tests. While many colleges have shifted to testing-optional admissions over the last few years having a great score on tests like the ACT will still have a major impact on your chance of getting into the college you want to attend.

But what’s a good ACT score? The answer is contingent on your objectives and your notion for “good.” We’ve broken down the various elements to think about, so you can determine for yourself.

What Is the Average ACT Score?

In accordance with the National Norms for ACT Test Scores reported during the 2023-2024 reporting Year, ACT composite scores correspond with the percentiles below (with 100th percentile signalling that you scored better than the 99 percent of test takers). This is the most current percentiles.

Score English Math Reading Science 
3090  958793
2887 918290
2785 898088
2683 857786
2581  817583
2477  777278
2373  736872
2164  655760
2058 625254
1952  584648
1848  534141
1744  473634
1640  383228
1535  252722
1429  142317
1219 2128
1114 175
109  133
94  121
Mean 19.519.920.920.3

ACT College Readiness Benchmarks

Its ACT Standardized College Readiness (CRB) are a measure of the pupil’s “reasonable chance of success” in a credit-bearing, freshman-year college course at an average institution. The ACT provides Benchmarks for six subjects that are tied to the performance of corresponding ACT tests. This year’s Benchmarks are they are:

ACT Test ScoreCollege CoursesBenchmark
EnglishEnglish Composition I18
MathematicsCollege Algebra22
ReadingAmerican History, Other History, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, Economics22
Science Biology23
STEMCalculus, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Engineering26
ELAEnglish Composition I, American History, Other History, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, Economics20

In essence, if you are able to meet these criteria then you stand a decent chances of getting into the typical college class for first year students. But it is important to keep your eyes on the fact that those numbers could not suffice to get you into the schools of your dreams.

How to Set Your Target ACT Score

Different students have their own abilities and strengths. The goal ACT score should be determined by many factors, like:

What’s Your Starting Point?

To figure out where you’re starting from, you should take a test assessment. The test should simulate typical testing conditions, while adhering to deadlines and using only the tools you’ll need to utilize on the actual ACT. Test yourself on the practice test and compare your score against the respective percentiles. This will allow you to understand the scores you may obtain without any preparation or preparation.

If you score isn’t great Don’t be worried. Be aware that this is the score you’d receive without preparation. It’s just a baseline and you can enhance it by rehearsing. There are tips for improving your score in this article.

Which Colleges Do You Want to Attend?

The colleges you choose will determine the score you want to achieve. Take a look at the table below to figure your middle fifty percent ACT range for the top universities. It is recommended to aim for being in the top portion of this range for your institution, that is, over the 50th percentile of previous students accepted to the school. For instance that your middle 50 percent of students at the school you attend is 33-35, your total score should be at least 34 or more.

Keep in mind that changes to testing policies can affect your desired score, including the fact that a lot of schools are currently using tests-only admissions. Some schools also superscore by which they use your top section scores from various test sittings in order to calculate the new score.

What Is the Average ACT at Top Schools?

Top 20 National Universities

Top 20 Liberal Arts Colleges

What to Do if Your Score Is Too Low

1. Study, Study, Study

Practice makes perfect! The ACT is like the other tests you could take. If you’re looking to score well, you must make the effort. Concentrate on the areas where you are weakest Based on your baseline test, and then formulate your study strategy. Be sure to set aside enough time to complete daily practice sessions. We provide plenty of information and tips to assist you in your studies.

2. Take the Test Again

Many colleges will superscore. This means that they’ll take your best individual section scores of different testing sessions to create the new score. Even if your school doesn’t superscore, repeat test takers typically score higher and get an average score of 2.9 points more than those who take a single test. However, you shouldn’t be taking the exam more than 3 times. The score won’t increase after taking the test a few times.

3. Consider Applying Test-Optional

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a interruption in standard tests and prompted some schools to offer admissions with test-optional requirements. If you score low you can opt of not including them in your application.

It is recommended to send in your test score when you are over the 50th percentile mark for accepted students. It is recommended to submit scores if they are higher than 25. But, they aren’t the only thing and are only a single factor to help you make an admissions choice.

It is possible to look at other aspects of your application to decide if you should send your scores. If, for instance, you have a stellar GPA and outstanding essays, worthwhile other activities and an impressive note of endorsement, you might be able to avoid submitting low scores because the other elements of your application are impressive.

How Will My ACT Score Impact My College Chances?

While many schools have been testing-free in the past as well as this admissions cycle however, it is still the ACT test score is utilized as a determinant of the future success of a college applicant. Schools rely on your scores from standardized tests (in combination together with GPA) to determine your academic performance, which is a major aspect in the admissions process.