Got an ACT® exam coming up and not sure how you might do? Then you’re at the right place. Here is an interactive ACT® score calculator to help you predict how your raw score would translate to your ACT® scale score so that you can answer for yourself, “Is my ACT® score good enough?”
If you’re looking for free help as you start your ACT® test prep, be sure to explore our ACT® sections for more review articles (Math, Reading, Science)
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ACT® English Section Score
ACT® Math Section Score
ACT® Reading Section Score
ACT® Science Section Score
Total ACT® Score
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How do you calculate ACT® scores?
To calculate your ACT® score, you’ll need to know your respective raw score in the four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. By knowing how many questions you got right in each section, you can then reference a conversion table to see how that raw score translates to a scale score.
The ACT® is easy to convert since there is no penalty involved with incorrect answers. All they care about is how many questions you got correct.
Scale scores range from 1-36, with 36 being the highest possible mark on the ACT®. To compute your overall ACT® score, you take the average of all four sections (ACT® English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science divided by four).
What’s the difference between ACT® raw scores and ACT® scale scores?
Your ACT® raw score is equivalent to the number of questions you get correct on the test. For example, ACT® English has 75 questions — if you got a 70, it means you got 70 of the multiple choice questions correct.
ACT® Math has 60 questions — so if you got 43 questions right, your raw score would be a 43.
Your ACT® scale score is how your raw score translates to a section score ranging from 1-36. In the two examples above, your raw scores would translate to a 34 on ACT® English and a 27 on ACT® Math if you were to refer to the official 2020-2021 practice test’s scoring charts.
What is a good ACT® score?
It’s tough to give a cold hard number and call it a “good ACT® score”. That being said, generally speaking anything in the top 30% of all students taking the test is a decent place to be. That translates to roughly a 23 on the ACT® for your composite score.
Here’s a table of the typical percentiles for students taking the ACT®:
|ACT® Composite Score||Percentile|
If you want to rank in the top 10% of all high school ACT® test takers, you’d need to score above a 28. Typically falling in the high 20s will position you competitively for state colleges like University of Texas, Austin and University of California, Irvine.
As you get into the 30s, you will enter the upper echelon of universities, with many top universities such as University of Virginia (known as a “Public Ivy”), as well as Top 25 schools like Northwestern, Georgetown, and Duke.
Finally as you get into near perfect ACT® score territory (34-36), you’ll be highly competitive for the top schools in the nation such as Princeton, Harvard, and Yale.
Is 27 on the ACT® a good score?
Yes! Scoring a 27 on the ACT® puts you in the 86th percentile of test takers. Schools with scores averaging around a 27 include Penn State University Park, Syracuse University, and Temple University.
Is 30 on the ACT® good enough for Ivy Leagues?
Scoring a 30 on your ACT® may put you within striking distance of the Ivy Leagues, but it’s tough to say if it’d be good enough for gaining an acceptance into one. Reason being that there are many considerations when applying to any elite university.
That being said, based on historical trends, a 30 would put you within the historical classes at the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Brown University, Columbia University, and Cornell University.
For Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, you’d most likely be on the outside looking in. Exceptions would be if you had a particular edge in your application that would make you a unique candidate for consideration.
Is a 36 on the ACT® a good score?
This should be a no-brainer. YES! A 36 on the ACT® is a great score and the equivalent of a perfect score. One good thing about the ACT® is that you actually have a small margin of error at times to still get a perfect score.
- There have been times in the past where students have not gotten every question right, but the acceptable raw score range for a 36 allows for a problem to have been missed.
- If you score between a 35 and 36 and average out your total composite ACT® score, it could end up being above 0.5, meaning it’d round to a perfect score!
What is the average ACT® score?
When reviewing the ACT® scores national norms data, we found that the typical ACT® score ranges between 18-20 depending on the section. This test is typically normalized around 20.
The average ACT® English score tended to fall between 19-20.
The average ACT® Math score fell between 18-19.
The average ACT® Reading score was roughly 20.
The average ACT® Science score was 20.
Why is the ACT® exam curved?
It’s important to note that the ACT® exam itself is not curved relative to test takers. However, it is curved through a process known as equating. This is when the ACT® organization scales test scores from a range of past test dates so that they’re all comparable in the ability that is being tested.
You can read more about this process on page 6 here. This equating process is also why you’ll notice as you use our ACT® score calculator that sometimes there are variances in how you would have scored on one practice test versus another.
As a whole, the ACT® has generally stayed consistent over time in that the number of right answers you’ve scored in a section translates into a respective scale score.
Why should I use this ACT® score calculator?
Albert’s ACT® score calculator uses the official released practice tests curves from ACT®.org. This means our calculations are 100% accurate and up-to-date. If you are ever in doubt and would like to confirm the score calculations for yourself, please refer to the ACT®’s practice test here.
We made this calculator because we saw that everyone else was just copying and pasting the table at the back of each practice test. Interactive score calculators are an easy way to motivate yourself and identify what sections to study diligently for. Understanding exactly how many questions you need to get right in order to get into your desired ACT® score ranges is crucial, especially when talking about any ACT® score above a 30.
How do you figure out your ACT® superscore?
ACT® superscores are easy to compute. All you need to do is collect all of your past ACT® score reports. Then, look for your highest scores in each respective section.
Total your highest scores, and then divide it by four. Round to the nearest whole number — this is your ACT® superscore.
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