A good ACT score can help you increase your chances of getting accepted to your ideal college or of receiving a lucrative merit scholarship. In addition to an outstanding personal statement, a strong GPA, and strong letters of recommendation, an impressive standardized test score can aid in your admission to a reputable university.
Another type of college entrance exam is the ACT, which was formerly known as the American College Testing. The test, which consists of multiple-choice questions, enables admissions committees to determine whether a high school student is prepared to handle the demands of college at their particular institution. The ACT, one of the two main college entrance exams in the United States, evaluates students’ verbal, math, and science abilities. Although there is no minimum passing score, getting a high score can help you get accepted to colleges with higher admissions standards.
How is the ACT Scored?
Knowing how the ACT is scored is the first step in determining what constitutes a good ACT score. The ACT scores, on a basic level, range from 1–36. Based on how many questions you correctly answer in each section, you are given a score. Based on the average of your four test results (English, Math, Reading, and Science), your composite score is calculated. Your composite score, which is rounded to the nearest whole number, is calculated by averaging the section scores.
1 represents the lowest possible score, and 36 represents a perfect score. Since ACT scores have a normal distribution, most results tend to fall within a few points of the median or average result. Fewer people who take the ACT achieve scores that are close to the extremes on either side.
How Important are ACT Scores for College Admission?
In addition to the SAT, a good ACT score is also a required test for college admission. In the United States, high school students can choose to take the SAT or the ACT. Both of these tests are accepted by many colleges and universities, which do not differentiate between them. However, a school considering your application may base its decision on your test results up to 50% of the time.
To be sure, find out whether the schools you plan to apply to require the ACT as part of the application process before you sign up to take the test. If you don’t send your test score in if the school doesn’t require it and your score falls below the 50th percentile range, it might help your application.
Because admissions officers use the ACT to assess your academic readiness for college, it is crucial to universities. However, universities also value your ACT score because it will be included in their yearly ACT statistics if you are admitted. A high ACT rating can compensate for a weaker GPA. If you have an ACT score of 36 and a 3.0 GPA, a college admissions officer might assume that your classes were too challenging for you or that you simply matured and are now college-ready.
What Is a Good ACT Score Overall?
The ACT has a score range of 1–36. You can translate your composite score, which has a range from 1-36, into a percentile to see how you did in comparison to the entire ACT test-taking population. If you scored higher than that percentage of students, you have a higher percentile. But is there a specific threshold that identifies a good ACT score?
Let’s examine ACT score percentiles to better understand what a good ACT score is. The maximum ACT score that students can achieve is 36. Only 4,055 of the 1,295,349 students who took the ACT in 2021 scored a perfect 36, though. Only 0.313% of test takers achieved that. 1,295,349 students took the ACT in 2021, and their average composite score was 20.3 points, according to a recent ACT report. Students can consider their performances average if their composite scores fall in this range.
By national standards, a composite score of 24 or higher is typically regarded as favorable. Students who obtain scores in this range fall within the 74th percentile or higher. In other words, you outperform 74% of test takers with a composite score of 24, which is 24. With this explanation, we have also answered the question of is 20 a good ACT score.
A good ACT score is one that places you in the middle of the scoring range for the colleges of your choice. See how your scores stack up against the ACT score ranges for the schools on your list.
How to Improve Your ACT Score?
What should you do if your test result falls short of your target score? Even though receiving a low ACT exam score is disheartening, all is not lost. Here are some suggestions to help you reach your own target score if you’ve already taken practice tests but aren’t receiving the results you want.
Retake the Test
If you really want to attend all of your top-choice schools, this is probably your best course of action if you have the time to study for the test and retake it. All educational institutions, however, have strict deadlines for reviewing applications. Before setting up your retest, become familiar with these deadlines.
Analyze Your Mistakes
Finding the sections that are the most challenging for you and concentrating more on them is a simple trick to help you improve your overall score. Review each response to identify your mistakes. Your performance on this test will help you with future ones.
Establish a Schedule and Follow It
A good ACT score requires sustained effort and self-discipline to ace. To start, give yourself time to get better. Establish a schedule and follow it. No matter how much time you have until the exam, make a commitment to study frequently. With regular practice, even a few practice questions per day, your score will rise. Hours of preparation time and an improved grade will result from those minutes.