What is a good score in ACT?

Certification: Test Prep ACT - American College Testing


The ACT, which was originally an abbreviation for the American College Testing, is one of the regulated tests that is offered to high school students. It was introduced in the year 1959. At first the ACT comprised of four tests, which included Social studies, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and English. Later on the test had a few changes. The current format for the ACT entails of four multiple choice subject tests, which are Science Reasoning, English, Reading and Mathematics. The test scores in each subject range from 1 to 36. The English, Reading and Mathematics tests have sub scores, each ranging from 1 to 18. The overall score that one scores in the ACT is an average of all the four tests. Apart from the four main sections, there is an optional writing test. This section score ranges from 2 to 12. The score that the student gets in the Writing test does not affect the composite score of the four tests. One you answer a question correctly in the ACT, which is worth one raw point. Different from the SAT, one is not penalised for making incorrect answers on the multiple-choice part of the test. This means that a student can answer all questions without having to worry about being penalised for incorrectly answered questions.

What score is good enough in the ACT?

As a student, before you sit for the ACT, you probably wonder what score is the right one and a good one for you. Some of the questions that applicants ask themselves are, what score should I get? Will I get a score that will get me into a good college? And what is the average score to get into top-rated school? These are some of the questions that many students ask before an exam. The score that one gets in their ACT is important and should not be underestimated. You find that colleges rely on many factors when admitting students, but the scores on the ACT and SAT play the largest role. They give them a great comparison over the students who have attempted the exam. To understand what score is good, you also need to consider the college that you are aiming to get admitted to. For example, getting a score of 23 on your ACT can be above average at one university and below average in another university. So the higher you score, the more option one has as an applicant of the ACT.

When sitting for the ACT, aim for the highest score possible, this will increase the chances of getting into a good college. Statistics has shown that the average score for the ACT is between 20 and 21. If one does the ACT and gets close to the average score, they are likely to get accepted in to a reasonable university, but you may not make it into the top rated selected schools. This means, the higher the score, the better. To be able to get into a good university, one needs to get a score that is above the average. Getting a score of 15 in the ACT is considered as a low score especially in almost every four-year university. To understand the required score for most middle and top rated university, one needs to check the score ranges that universities use to admit their new students. This will help the applicant set a target score that they should achieve. The highest score that one can score in the ACT is a 36, which will secure a spot in the best universities, but not all students can get tis score. As an applicant, the main aim should be getting a high score, higher than the average, to ensure you get into a good school to further your studies.

How the ACT is marked

The score that one gets in the multiple choice and the composite score are figured out with a simple process. The following are the steps that are taken in figuring out the composite score and the multiple-choice test score:

  • First of all, the sum of the question answered correctly is compiled in each test. This only includes questions that are answered correctly, one is not penalised for wrong answers.
  • The total of the number of correct answers in each test (referred to as the raw score) is converted to what is known as the scale scores.
  • Both the test score (Science, Mathematics, English and Reading score) and the composite score range from 1 to 36. The composite score is derived from the average of the four-test scores (rounded to the nearest whole number).
  • The sub-score (includes scores for the skills) are computed, in the same way, as the composite score. Sub-scores range from 1 to 18. The sub scores are not in any way related to the test scores, meaning that the sub scores are not a part of the total of the test score.

These are a main summary of how the ACT is marked and how the composite score is arrived at.

Getting a good score is the dream of each candidate who sits for the exam. Getting good score will ensure that you get into a good university. If you get a low score, one can decide to retake the exam. Statistics has proven that most students that retake the ACT end up performing way much better. To know the score that is good for you, once can check the requirements of top-rated universities. Most schools make their ACT data public, so one can check and know the score that best universities use to admit new students. The only way to get a good score is through adequate preparation before the ACT.


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