What is a Good ACT Score?

on June 29, 2017

After students get their ACT test score results, they often want to know how they compare with those of other test takers.

 

The ACT has four sections, English, Math, Reading and Science. Each section is scored on a scale from 1 to 36. The composite ACT score also is scored on a scale from 1 to 36.

 

To get into one of the top 100 most selective colleges, you generally need to have a composite ACT score of 27 or more. At some of the most elite colleges, like Caltech, MIT, Harvard and Princeton, you’ll need at least a 32.

 

Of course, other criteria affect your odds of admission, such as your essays, recommendations, activities, hobbies and volunteer work. Some students get in with lower scores and many students with perfect ACT scores get rejected each year.

 

Cappex provides tools that you can use to get a sense as to your odds of admission to specific colleges.

  • The What Are My Chances Calculator compares your grades and test scores with those of previous applicants who did and did not get in, showing you how your academic performance measures up.
     
  • The admissions tab in the Cappex college profiles shows the 25th and 75th percentile test scores for both the ACT and SAT. Half of the campus falls within this range. If your test scores fall in the middle or better, you compare favorably to current students at the college.

The average composite ACT test score is 21. The middle half of test takers ranges from a 16 at the 25th percentile to 24 at the 75th percentile. A 28 is at the 90th percentile and a 30 is at the 95th percentile. The percentile ranking shows the percentage of test takers who got lower test scores than you did.
 

This table, which is based on ACT data, lists the percentile ranking for all test scores on each section of the ACT and the composite test score. Average test scores are listed in the last row of the table.
 

Score 

English 

Math 

Reading 

Science 

Composite 

36

99

99

99

99

99

35

99

99

99

99

99

34

98

99

98

99

99

33

97

98

97

98

99

32

95

97

95

97

98

31

93

96

92

96

96

30

92

95

89

95

95

29

90

93

86

94

92

28

88

91

84

92

90

27

85

88

81

90

87

26

82

84

78

87

83

25

79

78

75

83

79

24

74

73

71

77

74

23

69

67

66

70

68

22

64

62

61

63

63

21

58

57

55

56

56

20

52

53

48

48

50

19

45

49

42

40

43

18

40

43

36

33

36

17

36

37

31

27

30

16

32

27

25

22

24

15

27

15

21

17

18

14

21

6

16

13

12

13

16

2

11

9

7

12

13

1

7

6

4

11

10

1

4

4

1

10

7

1

2

2

1

9

4

1

1

1

1

8

2

1

1

1

1

7

1

1

1

1

1

6

1

1

1

1

1

5

1

1

1

1

1

4

1

1

1

1

1

3

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Mean

20.3

20.9

21.3

20.8

21.0

 

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