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What is a Good ACT Score?

If you are currently studying for the ACT, you may be asking yourself, “What is a good ACT score”? That is a question  that so many students wonder about before and after finishing their standardized tests. Let’s dive into what an ACT score means and how it applies to you as a student applying to college.

What is the ACT?

The ACT is an acronym for “American College Testing. The ACT exam is widely used by colleges and universities as part of the admissions process. High school students in grades 10 through 12 take the ACT. Sometimes, students will take the ACT as well as the SAT to see which they score higher on. The ACT has multiple parts– English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing portion. For each test (except for writing), there are 36 multiple choice questions with four answers to choose from. The composite score, or the important score that colleges will look at, is the average of the four tests rounded to the nearest whole number. 

Things to keep in mind about the ACT

Remember, a standardized test score does not make or break your college experience. There are many people who test low on standardized tests that have very high GPAs, and vice versa. Not everyone is a great test taker, and colleges understand that. So, if you are feeling like your ACT score isn’t deemed as “good”, do not worry. There are many other ways that colleges and universities will holistically view your application. 

Why would having a good ACT score benefit me?

If you do score high on the ACT, this is something that colleges and universities will consider. Test optional schools might also consider ACT scores if they are submitted. Scoring high on the ACT shows that you have impressive critical thinking and problem solving skills. If you do not score high, it does not mean that you don’t have those attributes, it could just mean that you show them in different ways. 

Earning a high ACT score increases your chances of getting into certain colleges– especially depending on your major. Although there are many schools that are eliminating their SAT and ACT testing requirements, it is always a good idea to take the exam anyway. Many times, scholarships offered by colleges and universities use standardized test scores as a determining factor for awards. 

See also: Should I take the ACT/SAT?

What is a good ACT score?

If you are looking to get into a more competitive college, you are going to want to aim for a 24 or higher for your composite score. A “good” score really comes down to what the average score is for your college or university’s acceptance. Not all colleges are looking for ACT and SAT scores in the top 25%. For the average student, a score of 19-20 is a pretty good score for acceptance at most colleges. 

Don’t miss: How to reduce test taking anxiety

How can I improve my ACT score?

The ACT offers their own preparation website to help students prepare for the exam. The ACT provided prep offers live online classes, self-paced courses, and official ACT tutoring. ACT Prep and Subject Guides are also available (basically a set of textbooks and workbooks to help you along the way). 

Most high schools offer after school ACT prep and/or access to tutors. If your high school doesn’t offer tutoring, there are many free online resources. All students can improve their ACT scores with time and effort!

Related: College admissions guide for low test takers

Final thoughts for students

The ACT is really what you make of it. Sometimes, students find it hard to study for the ACT, while others find it easy to do so. Also, some students are better at the SAT than the ACT, which is totally fine!  Everyone is different, and it is ultimately up to what the colleges you are applying for are looking for and what makes you the most comfortable. So, if you do not feel comfortable with your ACT scores, you can always retake it, or take the SAT to see if you’re more confident with that exam. 

See also: ACT vs. SAT: How to decide which test to take

Additional resources 

Whether you are looking to find out how the SAT compares to the ACT, or looking for ways to improve upon your ACT scores, Scholarships360 has you covered. We have resources such as Free ACT Prep, information on ACT Superscores, and information on whether or not you should send your standardized test scores. Good luck, and happy test taking!