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average-act-scoreUnderstanding Average ACT Test Score And How ACT Scoring Works

The ACT is a standardized evaluation in which test-takers receive a range of scores for the four ACT sections. It is important to note that some issues surround ACT scoring, and students should be privy about the issues.

Most importantly, ACT scoring policies, procedures, and practices are complicated, but it is easier to gain insight into the critical aspects within a short time.

Here is a guide to the ACT scoring system.

What is the Average ACT Score?

The ACT test is graded on a scale of 1-36, and according to the 2020 ACT Research Publication, the current national average ACT score is 20.8. Numerous states’ composite averages fall above or below this national benchmark mainly due to testing participation rates. Typically, states that require all students to take the ACT tend to have lower averages than states that don’t. This makes sense because only the best students tend to take the exam in states that don’t require it. Thus, skewing these states’ averages.

It is vital to point out that a good ACT score will depend on the college or university the student intends to join. If you score high, you increase your chances of the college and university options you can join.

Therefore, a good score will depend on your goals, grades, extracurricular and the colleges you want to enroll in. A passing ACT score for someone might be your passing score.

On the four sections, you will receive a scaled score, which is between 1 and 36. An average of the scores will give the composite score which appears in the results report. An avg ACT score means students score in the range of 20-21 on the test, putting them in the middle of the pack.

As a result, student results will be 50% higher than that of others and 50% lower than that of other test-takers. Over the past five years, these have been the average ACT scores for each test:

  • English ACT Section: 19.9
  • Math ACT Section: 20.2
  • Reading ACT Section: 21.2
  • Science ACT Section: 20.6

A good ACT score will correspond to the requirements of the test taker’s college of choice. If the score is high, you will enjoy more benefits like more options and chances of being accepted to prestigious institutions.

Getting a score of 23 will make you’re a strong candidate for the most prestigious institutions since it is above the national average. But the result might not render you eligible for some of the most selective universities and colleges.

What is the National Average ACT Score?

According to the ACT National Profile Report, 1.67 million students nationally took the ACT test in 2020. This figure is slightly down from prior years, but the nationwide average scores are similar to prior years.

The ACT National Profit Report states that the national average ACT scores in 2020 were:

ACT Test SectionScore:
Composite Score20.6

Average ACT Score by State

Each state prioritizes the ACT test slightly differently. Some states encourage all students to take it while others leave it optional for students to decide whether they want to pursue the test. Thus, the participation rate differs drastically from state to state.

Here is a chart of the average ACT scores by State in the US.

StateParticipation RateAverage Composite Score
District of Columbia3323.1
New Hampshire1225.7
New Jersey2324.4
New Mexico5619.3
New York2024.9
North Carolina10018.8
North Dakota9419.6
Rhode Island1124.8
South Carolina7618.4
South Dakota7021.7
West Virginia3820.9

Which state has the highest average ACT Score?

When looking at which states consistently score high on the ACT test, it’s also important to look at their participation rate. For example, Connecticut is consistently among the highest scoring states, but only has an 19% participation rate.

That being said, the state with highest average ACT score is Massachusetts with an average score of 26. Connecticut and New Hampshire are in a close second and third place with average composite scores of 25.9 and 25.7, respectively.

Average ACT Score by College, University, & School

Colleges use the ACT test results as a benchmark to accept new students. Most Universities have a minimum acceptable score that students must achieve in order to get accepted into college.

These requirements differ from school to school and state by state, so it’s important to look at public universities and private colleges separately.

Average ACT Score by Public Universities

Here is a chart of the Average ACT Score for the 100 Public Universities:

College / UniversitySchool Enrollment25th Percentile Composite ACT Score75th Percentile Composite ACT Score
Arizona State University-Tempe51,1642229
Auburn University29,7762430
Boise State University24,1212126
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona26,0532027
California State University-Fresno25,3251622
California State University-Fullerton40,9051924
California State University-Long Beach37,6222026
California State University-Los Angeles28,5311520
California State University-Northridge41,3191722
California State University-Sacramento31,2551723
Clemson University24,3872731
Colorado State University-Fort Collins33,0832228
East Carolina University29,1312024
Florida Atlantic University30,2082126
Florida International University56,7182227
Florida State University41,3622630
George Mason University35,9842430
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus29,3763034
Georgia State University32,8161926
Grand Valley State University25,0492126
Indiana University-Bloomington43,7102531
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis29,7911926
Iowa State University36,1582228
Kennesaw State University35,8462126
Kent State University at Kent28,9722125
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College30,8612328
Michigan State University50,0192328
Missouri State University-Springfield23,6972126
North Carolina State University at Raleigh34,4322631
Ohio State University-Main Campus59,8372731
Ohio University-Main Campus29,3692226
Oklahoma State University-Main Campus25,2952228
Old Dominion University24,3751825
Oregon State University30,8962228
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus47,1192530
Portland State University26,6931925
Purdue University-Main Campus42,6992531
San Diego State University35,1582328
San Francisco State University29,7581824
San Jose State University35,8351926
Stony Brook University25,9892631
Texas A & M University-College Station67,9292530
Texas State University38,6662026
Texas Tech University36,9962227
The University of Alabama38,5632332
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville28,3212430
The University of Texas at Arlington46,4972027
The University of Texas at Austin51,5252633
The University of Texas at Dallas27,6422632
The University of Texas at El Paso25,0781622
The University of Texas at San Antonio30,7682025
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley27,8091722
University at Buffalo30,6482428
University of Arkansas27,5582329
University of California-Berkeley41,8913034
University of California-Davis37,3802532
University of California-Irvine35,2422532
University of California-Los Angeles44,0272934
University of California-San Diego35,7722733
University of California-Santa Barbara25,0572833
University of Central Florida66,0592429
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus37,1552328
University of Colorado Boulder35,3382530
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus24,8392127
University of Connecticut27,5782631
University of Delaware23,7742529
University of Florida52,6692832
University of Georgia37,6062631
University of Houston45,3642327
University of Illinois at Chicago30,5392026
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign48,2162632
University of Iowa32,1662328
University of Kansas27,6252328
University of Kentucky29,4652228
University of Maryland-College Park40,5212933
University of Massachusetts-Amherst30,3402631
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor46,0023033
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities51,8482631
University of Missouri-Columbia30,8442329
University of Nebraska-Lincoln26,0792229
University of Nevada-Las Vegas30,4711924
University of New Mexico-Main Campus26,2211925
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill29,9112833
University of North Carolina at Charlotte29,3172226
University of North Texas38,2762127
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus28,5272329
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus28,6422732
University of South Carolina-Columbia34,7312530
University of South Florida-Main Campus43,5402429
University of Utah32,8002229
University of Virginia-Main Campus24,3602933
University of Washington-Seattle Campus46,1662732
University of Wisconsin-Madison42,9772731
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee24,9882025
Utah State University27,6792127
Virginia Commonwealth University30,6752127
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University34,4402530
Washington State University30,6142026
Wayne State University27,0642128
West Virginia University28,4062127
Average Composite Scores34,81922.928.4

Average ACT Score by Private College & Universities

Here is a chart of the Average ACT Score for the 100 Private Colleges:

College / UniversitySchool Enrollment25th Percentile Composite ACT Score75th Percentile Composite ACT Score
Adelphi University7,9782227
American University13,8582630
Azusa Pacific University9,9262127
Barry University7,3581720
Baylor University17,0592631
Belmont University8,0122429
Boston College14,6283133
Boston University33,3552932
Brigham Young University-Idaho51,8812025
Brigham Young University-Provo34,3342732
Brown University10,0953135
California Baptist University9,9411925
Campbellsville University7,2071824
Carnegie Mellon University13,8693235
Case Western Reserve University11,8243033
Chapman University9,3922530
Columbia University in the City of New York30,4543134
Concordia University-Wisconsin7,2882026
Cornell University23,0163134
Creighton University8,6542530
Drexel University24,1902430
Duke University16,1303135
Duquesne University9,1902429
Emory University14,2633033
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus7,8462025
Fordham University16,0372731
George Washington University27,9732932
Georgetown University19,0053034
Gonzaga University7,5062630
Harvard University31,1203235
Hofstra University11,1312429
Howard University9,3922228
Illinois Institute of Technology7,1642531
Indiana Institute of Technology7,8711723
Johns Hopkins University25,1513335
Lehigh University7,0172932
Liberty University75,0442127
Lindenwood University10,0252025
LIU Brooklyn6,9821927
LIU Post8,4992126
Loyola Marymount University9,6182631
Loyola University Chicago16,6732429
Marquette University11,4262429
Maryville University of Saint Louis7,6892127
Massachusetts Institute of Technology11,4663335
MCPHS University7,2082228
Mercer University8,6532530
New York Institute of Technology7,4032127
New York University51,1232933
Northeastern University21,4893234
Northwestern University22,0083234
Nova Southeastern University20,7932328
Pace University-New York12,9862127
Pepperdine University7,7102631
Princeton University8,2733135
Quinnipiac University10,2002327
Regent University9,4881927
Regis University8,3412026
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute7,5922832
Rice University7,0223335
Rochester Institute of Technology16,5842632
Saint Joseph's University8,0852328
Saint Leo University13,0992025
Saint Louis University14,5812531
Santa Clara University8,6292832
Savannah College of Art and Design13,1632127
Seattle University7,2782429
Seton Hall University9,8012428
Southeastern University7,1631824
Southern Methodist University11,7892832
St John's University-New York21,3402229
Stanford University17,5343235
Suffolk University7,2012126
Syracuse University22,4842530
Texas Christian University10,4892530
The New School10,3892428
The University of Tampa8,8952227
Tufts University11,4493134
Tulane University of Louisiana12,3843033
University of Chicago16,2273235
University of Dayton10,8822429
University of Denver11,4342530
University of La Verne8,1591925
University of Miami17,0032832
University of New England8,2812126
University of New Haven6,9842127
University of Notre Dame12,4673234
University of Pennsylvania25,3673235
University of Rochester11,6482933
University of San Diego8,9052630
University of San Francisco11,0632228
University of Southern California45,6873034
University of St Thomas9,8782429
University of the Cumberlands10,0971925
University of the Incarnate Word8,6031723
Vanderbilt University12,5923235
Villanova University10,9673033
Washington University in St Louis15,3033234
Webster University12,7362126
Yale University12,9743235
Average Composite Scores14,58425.429.9

What College or University has the highest average ACT score?

There are many colleges and universities with extremely high ACT test scores, but the three colleges with the highest average ACT scores of 33 and 35 in the 25th & 75th percentiles respectively are:

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Rice University

Many other private universities boast impressive ACT test scores as well. For instance, the average ACT score for Harvard is 35 while the average ACT score for Stanford is 35 as well.

How is the ACT Test Scored?

Scoring for the English, Reading, Math, and Science sections is pegged on multiple-choice questions. The test-taker will earn a point for every correct answer they get, and there is no penalty for a wrong answer or omitted questions. ACT raw score for every section is determined through the number of questions the student will correctly answer in the section. For instance, in the English section, where there are 60 questions, the raw score is 60.

Your raw score will then be translated to a scaled score ranging between 1 and 36. The highest possible scaled score is 36, and the test-taker will receive a scaled score for every section. The scaled scores average the test taker’s composite ACT score for the four multiple-choice sections.

For those students taking the writing section, two readers will grade your essay based on four domains of development and support, ideas and analysis, language uses and conventions, and organization. The readers will give the essay scores between 1 and 6 in the four domains, and 6 is the highest score.

To get the test taker’s writing domains subscore, an average of the scores is calculated, and the range will be between 2 and 12. Interestingly, the readers’ scores differ by over a point, and then a third reader will grade the essay to resolve the disagreement.

Is the ACT Test Graded on a Curve?

You may be wondering whether the ACT is graded on a curve. Interestingly, in contrast to common belief, the ACT is not curved, and as a result, the performance of other test-takers will not impact your ACT score. Most importantly, even if the test takers at a particular time get low scores, there will be no redistribution or raising of the score to get a balanced ACT bell curve.

In essence, this means your ACT score will always be as you scored on the test, and there is no decrease or increase based on others’ results to get a normal distribution.

ACT Inc., the test creators, will account for any difficulty variations across test dates through equating. This process ensures ACT scaled scores from various test administrations show the same ability level irrespective of when or with whom the student takes the test. Therefore, there is no advantage of taking the test in one administration over the other. There is no harder or easier ACT date as the ACTs will be equated to get a uniform scale score for all administrations.

Why are ACT Scores Average Percentiles Important?

An ACT percentile rank is a comparison of your ACT score with those of other test-takers. The percentile tells the number of test-takers you scored higher than or equal to. Students will receive a percentile rank for the composite score and the four subject area scores.

The percentile rankings are vital because they help universities and colleges compare your performance with those of other applicants. However, the ACT score varies depending on the college one wants to join and thus is more significant than the percentile rank. Institutions have an average ACT score range for admissions that don’t change often, and they base admission decisions on these. The range is 50% middle, or the 75th and 25th percentile scores.

What it Means to Score above the Average ACT Score

The avg ACT score is around 20.8, and therefore, if you get a 21, you will be in the middle percentile. A 24 or higher score is good and will place you in the 74th percentile, making you stand out among test takers. But to get into Ivy League colleges, you should get a perfect score which is a 36.

However, even if you score better than three-quarters of test-takers, you still have to convince admission committees to join these prestigious colleges through different aspects of your application.

Sours: https://www.number2.com/average-act-score/

Table of Contents

What colleges accept a 29 ACT score?

Average ACT scores for Top Ranked Universities

UniversityACT 25 Percentile*ACT 75 Percentile*
University of Virginia-Main Campus2933
United States Military Academy2631
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill2833
Emory University2933

Can you get into Harvard with a 29 ACT?

An academic 3 denotes an applicant with “mid-600 through low-700 scores” on the SAT or a 29 through 32 on the ACT. Students who draw a 5 academic ranking typically earn SAT scores in the 500s or an ACT score clocking in at 25 or below. Harvard asserts these high schoolers have only “marginal potential.”

What percent is a 29 on the ACT?

A 29 ACT score puts you in the 91st percentile — that means you scored higher than 91% of all test takers. That’s a brilliant accomplishment and you should be proud!

Can I get into Duke with a 29 ACT?

The average ACT score for admitted students at Duke is 34 . A score of 32 is low, but still strong enough to be considered. The average ACT score for admitted students at UNC is 29 . A score of 32 is well above average and puts you in the top 25% of admitted students by ACT score.

Is 29 on the ACT good?

Is a 29 a good ACT score? Yes, a score of 29 is very good. It places you in the top 91st percentile nationally out of the 2 million test takers of the ACT entrance exam.

Is it hard to get a 29 on the ACT?

According to percentiles, an ACT score of 30 is quite high. Data collected by ACT, Inc., shows that a 30 corresponds to the 94th percentile. In other words, very few test takers—only 6 percent—score 30 or higher on the ACT, making it a great score to aim for on test day.

Is a 30 on the ACT good enough for Ivy League?

Admission to any of the eight Ivy League schools is highly selective, and ACT scores are an important piece of the admissions equation. Generally applicants will need a composite score of 30 or higher to be competitive although some applicants are admitted with lower scores.

Is a 21 on ACT bad?

A 21 ACT score is a little bit better than the average score of 20.8. Because of this, a 21 is a commonly accepted score at many schools, but it may not make you competitive at selective schools.

Is 17 a good ACT score?

Is a 17 a good ACT score? A score of 17 is pretty low. It places you in the bottom 31st percentile nationally out of the 2 million test takers of the ACT entrance exam. The score indicates you’ve done a well below average job answering the questions on the English, Math, Reading and Science sections of the test.

Is a 25 on the ACT good?

Is a 25 a good ACT score? Yes, a score of 25 is quite good. It places you in the top 78th percentile nationally out of the 2 million test takers of the ACT entrance exam.

What ACT score is needed for Harvard?

Currently, the average composite ACT score for students accepted to Harvard is 34! The 25th percentile for Harvard ACT scores is 33 and the 75th percentile is 35. So again, this means if you score less than 33, you’ll be below average compared to other applicants. If you score a 35 or higher, you’ll be above average.

Sours: https://answerstoall.com/popular/what-colleges-accept-a-29-act-score/
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ACT (test)

Standardized test used for college admissions

This article is about the college admission test in the United States. For the company which administers this test, see ACT (nonprofit organization).

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This article needs to be updated. Please help update this to reflect recent events or newly available information.
Last update: June 2019(June 2019)

ACT logo.svg
TypePaper-based and computer based standardized test
Developer / administratorACT, Inc.
Knowledge / skills testedEnglish, math, reading, science, writing (optional).
PurposeUndergraduate admissions (mostly in the US and Canadian universities or colleges).
Year started1959 (1959)
DurationEnglish: 45 minutes,
Math: 60 minutes,
Reading: 35 minutes,
Science: 35 minutes,
Non-Graded Test: 20 minutes,
Optional writing test: 40 minutes.
Total: 3 hours and 55 minutes (excluding breaks).[1]
Score / grade rangeComposite score: 1 to 36,
Subscore (for each of the four subject areas): 1 to 36.
(All in 1-point increments.)[2]
Optional Writing Score: 2 to 12. (Sum of two graders’ scoring from 1-6)
OfferedUS and Canada: 7 times a year.[3]
Other countries: 5 times a year.[4]
Countries / regionsWorldwide[5][6]
Annual number of test takersDecrease Over 1.67 million high school graduates in the class of 2020[7]
Prerequisites / eligibility criteriaNo official prerequisite. Intended for high school students. Fluency in English assumed.
FeeWithout writing: US$46.00.
With writing: US$62.50.
Outside US: $47.50 surcharge in addition to the above amounts[8] (Fee waivers are available for 11th or 12th grade students who are US citizens or testing in the US or US territories, and have demonstrated financial need.[9])
Scores / grades used byColleges or universities offering undergraduate programs (mostly in the US and Canada).

The ACT (; originally an abbreviation of American College Testing)[10] is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a nonprofit organization of the same name.[10] The ACT test covers four academic skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and scientific reasoning. It also offers an optional direct writing test. It is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States as well as more than 225 universities outside of the U.S.

The main four ACT test sections are individually scored on a scale of 1–36, and a composite score (the rounded whole number average of the four sections) is provided.

The ACT was first introduced in November 1959 by University of Iowa professor Everett Franklin Lindquist as a competitor to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).[11] The ACT originally consisted of four tests: English, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Natural Sciences. In 1989, however, the Social Studies test was changed into a Reading section (which included a social sciences subsection), and the Natural Sciences test was renamed the Science Reasoning test, with more emphasis on problem-solving skills as opposed to memorizing scientific facts.[12] In February 2005, an optional Writing Test was added to the ACT. By the fall of 2017, computer-based ACT tests were available for school-day testing in limited school districts of the US, with greater availability expected in fall of 2018.[13]

The ACT has seen a gradual increase in the number of test takers since its inception, and in 2012 the ACT surpassed the SAT for the first time in total test takers; that year, 1,666,017 students took the ACT and 1,664,479 students took the SAT.[14]


ACT, Inc., says that the ACT assessment measures high school students' general educational development and their capability to complete college-level work with the multiple choice tests covering four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The optional Writing Test measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.[15] Specifically, ACT states that its scores provide an indicator of "college readiness", and that scores in each of the subtests correspond to skills in entry-level college courses in English, algebra, social science, humanities, and biology.[16] According to a research study conducted by ACT, Inc. in 2003, there was a relationship between a student's ACT composite score and the probability of him or her earning a college degree.[17]

To develop the test, ACT incorporates the objectives for instruction from middle and high schools throughout the United States, reviews approved textbooks for subjects taught in Grades 7–12, and surveys educators on which knowledge skills are relevant to success in postsecondary education. ACT publishes a technical manual that summarizes studies conducted on its validity in predicting freshman GPA, equating different high school GPAs, and measuring educational achievement.[18]

Colleges use the ACT and the SAT because there are substantial differences in funding, curricula, grading, and difficulty among U.S. secondary schools due to American federalism, local control, the prevalence of private, distance, homeschooled students, and lack of a rigorous college entrance examination system similar those used in some other countries. ACT scores are used to supplement the secondary school record and help admission officers put local data—such as coursework, grades, and class rank—in a national perspective.[19][citation needed]

The majority of colleges do not indicate a preference for the SAT or ACT exams and accept both, being treated equally by most admissions officers.[20] According to "Uni in the USA," colleges that also require students to take the SAT Subject Tests do so regardless of whether the candidate took the SAT or ACT;[20] however, some colleges accept the ACT in place of the SAT subject tests[21] and some accept the optional ACT Writing section in place of an SAT Subject Test.[22]

Most colleges use ACT scores as only one factor in the admission process. A sampling of ACT admissions scores shows that the 75th percentile composite score was 24.1 at public four-year institutions and 25.3 at private four-year institutions. Students should check with their prospective institutions directly to understand ACT admissions requirements.

In addition, some states and individual school districts have used the ACT to assess the student learning and/or the performance of schools, requiring all high school students to take the ACT, regardless of whether they are college bound. Colorado and Illinois were the first to incorporate the ACT as part of their mandatory testing program in 2001. Other states followed suit in subsequent years. During the 2018–2019 school year, 13 states will administer the ACT test to all public school 11th graders, and another six states will fund ACT test administration as an option or choice for districts.

While the exact manner in which ACT scores will help to determine admission of a student at American institutions of higher learning is generally a matter decided by the individual institution, some foreign countries have made ACT (and SAT) scores a legal criterion in deciding whether holders of American high school diplomas will be admitted at their public universities.

This map of the United States shows the states in which more seniors in the class of 2020 took the SATthan the ACT (colored in blue), and the states in which more seniors took the ACT than the SAT(colored in red).

The ACT is more widely used in the Midwestern, Rocky Mountain, and Southern United States, whereas the SAT is more popular on the East and West coasts. Recently, however, the ACT is being used more on the East Coast.[23] Use of the ACT by colleges has risen as a result of various criticisms of the effectiveness and fairness of the SAT.


The required portion of the ACT is divided into four multiple choice subject tests: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Subject test scores range from 1 to 36; all scores are integers. The English, mathematics, and reading tests also have subscores ranging from 1 to 18 (the subject score is not the sum of the subscores). In addition, students taking the optional writing test receive a writing score ranging from 2 to 12 (this is a change from the previous 1–36 score range); the writing score does not affect the composite score. Prior to September 2015, there was a Combined English/Writing score, which was a 36-point combination of the 36-point English Test score and the 12-point Writing subscore.[24] The ACT has eliminated the Combined English/writing score and has added two new combined scores: ELA (an average of the English, Reading, and Writing scores) and STEM (an average of the Math and Science scores).[25][26] These changes for the writing, ELA, and STEM scores were effective starting with the September 2015 test.[27]

Each question answered correctly is worth one raw point, and there is no penalty for marking incorrect answers on the multiple-choice parts of the test; a student can answer all questions without a decrease in their score due to incorrect answers. This is parallel to several AP Tests eliminating the penalties for incorrect answers. To improve the result, students can retake the test: 55% of students who retake the ACT improve their scores, 22% score the same, and 23% see their scores decrease.[28]


The first section is the 45-minute English test covering usage/mechanics, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills. The 75-question test consists of five passages with various sections underlined on one side of the page and options to correct the underlined portions on the other side of the page. Specifically, questions focus on usage and mechanics – issues such as commas, apostrophes, (misplaced/dangling) modifiers, colons, and fragments and run-ons – as well as on rhetorical skills – style (clarity and brevity), strategy, transitions, and organization (sentences in a paragraph and paragraphs in a passage) – and sentence structure – constructing sentences in a stylistically and grammatically correct manner.


The second section is a 60-minute, 60-question math test with the usual distribution of questions being approximately 14 covering pre-algebra, 10 elementary algebra, 9 intermediate algebra, 14 plane geometry, 9 coordinate geometry, and 4 elementary trigonometry questions.[29] However, the distribution of question topics varies from test to test. The difficulty of questions usually increases as you get to higher question numbers. Calculators are permitted in this section only. The calculator requirements are stricter than the SAT's in that computer algebra systems (such as the TI-89) are not allowed; however, the ACT permits calculators with paper tapes, that make noise (but must be disabled), or that have power cords with certain "modifications" (i.e., disabling the mentioned features), which the SAT does not allow.[30] Standard graphing calculators, such as the TI-83 and TI-84, are allowed. Within the TI-Nspire family, the standard and CX versions are allowed while the CX CAS is not. This is the only section that has five answer choices per question instead of four.


The reading section is a 35-minute, 40-question test that consists of four sections, three of which contain one long prose passage and second one contains two shorter prose passages. The passages are representative of the levels and kinds of text commonly encountered in first-year college curriculum. This reading test assesses skills in three general categories: key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas. Test questions will usually ask students to derive meaning from texts referring to what is explicitly stated or by reasoning to determine implicit meanings. Specifically, questions will ask you to use referring and reasoning skills to determine main ideas; locate and interpret significant details; understand sequences of events; make comparisons; comprehend cause-effect relationships; determine the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases, and statements; draw generalizations; and analyze the author's or narrator's voice and method.[31]


The science test is a 35-minute, 40-question test. There are seven passages each followed by five to seven questions. The passages have three different formats: Data Representation, Research Summary, and Conflicting Viewpoints. While the format used to be very predictable (i.e. there were always three Data Representation passages with 5 questions following each, 3 Research Summary passages with six questions each, and one Conflicting Viewpoints passage with 7 questions),[32] when the number of passages was reduced from 7 to 6, more variability in the number of each passage type started to appear. But so far, there is still always only one Conflicting Viewpoints passage. These changes are very recent, and the only reference to them so far is in the recently released practice test on the ACT website.[33]


The optional writing section, which is always administered at the end of the test, is 40 minutes (increasing from the original 30-minute time limit on the September 2015 test). While no particular essay structure is required, the essays must be in response to a given prompt; the prompts are about broad social issues (changing from the old prompts which were directly applicable to teenagers), and students must analyze three different perspectives given and show how their opinion relates to these perspectives. The essay does not affect the composite score or the English section score; it is only given as a separate writing score and is included in the ELA score. Two trained readers assign each essay subscores between 1 and 6 in four different categories: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, Language Use and Conventions. Scores of 0 are reserved for essays that are blank, off-topic, non-English, not written with a no. 2 pencil, or considered illegible after several attempts at reading. The subscores from the two different readers are summed to produce final domain scores from 2 to 12 (or 0) in each of the four categories. If the two readers' subscores differ by more than one point, then a senior third reader makes the final decision on the score. The four domain scores are combined through a process that has not been described to create a writing section score between 1 and 36. Note that the domain scores are not added to create the writing section score.[26][34]

Although the writing section is optional, many colleges require an essay score and will factor it into the admissions decision (but fewer than half of all colleges have this requirement).[35]


A chart of average ACT scores since 1970.
Historical average ACT scores of college-bound seniors.
This map shows the mean ACT composite scores of students within the United States in 2014

For the "enhanced" version of the ACT introduced in 1989, the mean score of each of the four tests, as well as the mean composite score, was scaled to be 18, with an intended standard error of measurement of 2 for the four test scores and 1 for the composite score.[36] These statistics vary from year to year for current populations of ACT takers.

The chart below summarizes each section and the average test score based on graduating high school seniors in 2020.[7][37]

SectionNumber of questionsTime (minutes)Score RangeAverage score (2020)College Readiness BenchmarkContent
English75451–3619.918Usage/mechanics and rhetorical skills
Mathematics60601–3620.222Pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, geometry, elementary trigonometry, reasoning, and problem-solving
Reading40351–3621.222Reading comprehension
Science40351–3620.623Interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving
Optional Writing Test (not included in composite score)1 essay prompt401–126.4Writing skills
Composite1–3620.6Average (mean) of all section scores except Writing

Highest score[edit]

The table below summarizes how many students achieved a composite score of 36 on the ACT between the years of 1997 and 2018.[38][39]

YearNumber of students who achieved a composite score of 36Number of students overall% of students who achieved a 36

College admissions[edit]

The ACT Assessment Student Report, at ACT.org, provides the typical ACT Composite averages for college and universities admission policies. They caution that "because admission policies vary across colleges, the score ranges should be considered rough guidelines." Following is a list of the average composite scores that typically are accepted at colleges or universities.[40]

  • Ivy Caliber (Schools that as a rule of thumb have below a 1 in 8 acceptance rate): scores 32–36
  • Highly selective (majority of accepted freshmen in top 10% of high school graduating class): scores 27–31
  • Selective (majority of accepted freshmen in top 25% of high school graduating class): scores 24–26
  • Traditional (majority of accepted freshmen in top 50% of high school graduating class): scores 21–23
  • Liberal (some freshmen from lower half of high school graduating class): scores 18–20
  • Open (all high school graduates accepted, to limit of capacity): scores 17–20 Any score is likely accepted.

Test availability[edit]

The ACT is offered seven times a year in the United States and its territories, Puerto Rico, and Canada: in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July. (In New York State, the test is not offered in July.) In other locations, the ACT is offered five times a year: in September, October, December, April, and June.[41] The ACT is offered only on Saturdays except for those with credible religious obligations, who may take the test on another day.[42]

The ACT is designed, administered, and scored so that there is no advantage to testing on one particular date.[43]

Candidates may choose either the ACT assessment ($50.50), or the ACT assessment plus writing ($67.00).[44]

Students with verifiable disabilities, including physical and learning disabilities, are eligible to take the test with accommodations. The standard time increase for students requiring additional time due to disabilities is 50%.[45] Originally, the score sheet was labeled that additional time was granted due to a learning disability; however, this was ultimately dropped because it was deemed illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act and could be perceived as an unfair designator of disability.

Scores are sent to the student, his or her high school, and up to four colleges of the student's choice (optional).[46]

Test section durations[edit]

Time is a major factor to consider in testing.

The ACT is generally regarded as being composed of somewhat easier questions versus the SAT[47][citation needed], but the shorter time allotted to complete each section increases difficulty. The ACT allows:

  • 45 minutes for a 75-question English section
  • 60 minutes for a 60-question Mathematics section
  • 35 minutes for a 40-question Reading section
  • 35 minutes for a 40-question Science section

Comparatively, the SAT is structured such that the test taker is allowed at least one minute per question, on generally shorter sections (25 or fewer questions). Times may be adjusted as a matter of accommodation for certain disabilities or other impairments.

National ranks (score cumulative percentages)[edit]

Score reports provided to students taking the ACT test include the ranks (or cumulative percents) for each score and subscore received by the student. Each rank gives the percentage of recently tested students in the U.S. who scored at or below the given student's score.[48] The following table shows the ACT national ranks as of the 2020-21 school year.[update][49]

ACT ScoreEnglish RankMath RankReading RankScience RankComposite RankSTEM RankACT Score

Score cumulative percentages and comparison with pre-2016 SAT[edit]

The data in this section pertains to the SAT prior to the 2016 redesign. Comparisons to SAT scores are not valid after the 2017 graduating class.

Sixty percent—about 2.03 million students—of the 2017 high school graduating class took the ACT. For the graduating class of 2017, the average composite score was a 21.0. Of these test-takers, 46% were male and 52% were female, with 2% not reporting a gender. 2,760 students in the graduating class of 2017 received the highest ACT composite score of 36.[50]

2005 distribution of ACT scores

The following chart shows, for each ACT score from 11 to 36, the corresponding ACT percentile and equivalent total SAT score or score range.[51][failed verification] (Concordance data for ACT scores less than 11 is not yet available for the current version of the SAT.) Note that ACT percentiles are defined as the percentage of test takers scoring at or below the given score.

SAT combined score (Math + Reading/Writing) ACT composite score The percentile of students at or below this score for the ACT (not SAT)

Score vs Percentile for English Section[edit]

Score The percentile of students

at or below this score


Score vs Percentile for Mathematics Section[edit]

Score The percentile of students

at or below this score


Score vs Percentile for Reading Section[edit]

Score The percentile of students

at or below this score


Score vs Percentile for Science Section[edit]

Score The percentile of students

at or below this score



See also[edit]


  1. ^"Test Descriptions – ACT Student". ACT, Inc. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  2. ^"Understand Your Scores – Sample Student Report – ACT Student". ACT, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  3. ^"Registration – Test Dates in the U.S., U.S. Territories, and Canada – ACT Student". ACT, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  4. ^"Registration – Test Dates in Other Countries – ACT Student". ACT, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  5. ^"Test Center Locations, Dates, and Codes". ACT, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  6. ^"Test Center Codes – International – ACT Student". ACT Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  7. ^ ab"The ACT Profile Report – National, Graduating Class 2020"(PDF). ACT, Inc. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  8. ^"Current ACT Fees and Services". ACT, Inc. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  9. ^"The ACT Test Help and Frequently Asked Questions – Am I eligible for a fee waiver?". ACT, Inc. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  10. ^ ab"About ACT: History". Archived from the original on October 8, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2006. Name changed in 1996.
  11. ^"ACT Assessment", Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007. Archived August 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine October 31, 2009.
  12. ^"A (Mostly) Brief History Of The SAT and ACTs". Erik the Red. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  13. ^"When Will the ACT Start Computer-Based Testing?". Magoosh. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  14. ^Pope, Justin (September 24, 2012). "SAT scores edge down; ACT now more popular exam". Associated Press. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  15. ^The TestArchived August 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. (URL accessed June 5, 2007).
  16. ^"The ACT-Measure High School Student Readiness for College"(PDF).
  17. ^Radunzal, J., Noble, J. (2003, April). "Tracking 2003 act-tested high school graduates: College readiness, enrollment, and long-term success." Retrieved from: http://www.act.org/research/researchers/reports/pdf/ACT_RR2012-2.pdfArchived March 16, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^The ACT Technical Manual
  19. ^SCHOOL, CENTURY ACADEMY HIGH. "SAT/ACT Information". www.conejousd.org. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  20. ^ ab"Entrance Exam For College – College Entrance Exams – University In The USA". Uni in the USA. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  21. ^"ACT? SAT? Subject Tests? No Tests? Holy Moly! Who Is Requiring What These Days?". Huffington Post. August 11, 2014.
  22. ^"SAT vs. ACT – Test Prep Tutoring & Classes – NYC, NY". CATES Tutoring and Educational Services. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  23. ^Honawar, Vaishali; Alyson Klein (August 30, 2006). "ACT Scores Improve; More on East Coast Taking the SAT's Rival". Education Week. 26 (1): 16. ISSN 0277-4232. Retrieved July 6, 2007.
  24. ^"Writing Test Scores". ACT. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  25. ^"What's Next for the ACT – Test Updates and Enhancements". Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  26. ^ ab"The ACT Test for Students". ACT. Archived from the original on February 17, 2016.
  27. ^"Newsroom – Press Kit, Digital Media Library, and Press Releases". Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  28. ^"The ACT-Getting Ready for Test Day".
  29. ^Geoff Martz; Kim Magloire; Theodore Silver. (2007). "Chapter 10". Cracking The ACT (2007 ed.). The Princeton Review. p. 94. ISBN .
  30. ^"ACT FAQ: Can I use a calculator?". ACT Inc. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2007.
  31. ^"Description of Reading Test". ACT. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  32. ^Geoff Martz; Kim Magloire; Theodore Silver. (2007). "Chapter 20". Cracking The ACT (2007 ed.). The Princeton Review. p. 307. ISBN .
  33. ^http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/Preparing-for-the-ACT.pdf
  34. ^"The ACT Test for Students". ACT. Archived from the original on August 9, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  35. ^Cavner, Brian. "Comparison Between the SAT and ACT: Requirements differences between the two college admissions standardized tests". Archived from the original on February 15, 2008. Retrieved February 3, 2008.
  36. ^"Preliminary Technical Manual for the Enhanced ACT Assessment"(PDF). Education Resources Information Center. ACT, Inc. October 1989. p. 28. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  37. ^"ACT Prep:Description of the ACT Assessment". ACT Inc. Archived from the original on June 30, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2007.
  38. ^ ab"The ACT® Data". ACT Inc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  39. ^ ab"ACT Profile Report - National - Graduating Class of 2018"(PDF). ACT Inc. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  40. ^American College Test INC. (ACT). Research and Policy Issues-Information Brief 2002–1. (n.d.). "Interpreting act assessment scores: College admissions." Retrieved October 8, 2012, from http://www.act.org/research/researchers/briefs/2002-1.html#UItAIYq5fwArchived January 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^"Registration – The ACT Test". ACT, Inc. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  42. ^"The ACT Test Help and Frequently Asked Questions – Is Non-Saturday Testing Available?". ACT, Inc. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  43. ^American College Test INC. (ACT), Research and Policy Issues-Information Brief (2001). "Facts about scoring the act assessment". Retrieved October 8, 2012, from http://www.act.org/research/researchers/briefs/2001-1.html#UIX3TYYq5fwArchived January 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^"Current ACT Fees and Services". Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  45. ^"ACT Services for Students with Disabilities". ACT Inc. Archived from the original on August 22, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2007.
  46. ^"ACT Score Information: ACT Score Report Descriptions". ACT Inc. Archived from the original on July 11, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2007.
  47. ^"ACT Versus SAT: Popular Doesn't Mean Better". www.icon-plus.com. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  48. ^"ACT National Ranks". ACT, Inc. Retrieved July 25, 2001.
  49. ^"National Norms for ACT Test Scores"(PDF). ACT, Inc. Retrieved July 25, 2001.
  50. ^"Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017". ACT Inc. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  51. ^"Higher Ed Brief: SAT Concordance"(PDF). College Board. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  52. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Univ. of California Eligibility by Examination Alone

External links[edit]

Admission tests to colleges and universities

  • Belarus: CTRB
  • Denmark: Studentereksamen
  • Estonia: Riigieksamid
  • Finland: Ylioppilastutkinto/studentexamen
  • France: Baccalauréat
  • Germany: Abitur
  • Iceland: Stúdentspróf
  • Ireland: Leaving Certificate
  • Netherlands: Eindexamen
  • Portugal: ENES
  • Romania: Bacalaureat
  • Russia: Unified State Exam (EGE)
  • Spain: Selectividad
  • Sweden: Högskoleprovet
  • Turkey: TYT-AYT
  • Ukraine: External independent evaluation (ZNO)
  • United Kingdom: A-Level, Higher
  • Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland: Matura
Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACT_(test)
What's a Good ACT® Score?

29 is a very good ACT score. A score of 29 is well-above average; the average ACT score is 20. The highest ACT score possible is a 36, so a 29 is just seven points lower than a perfect score.

Many highly selective colleges look for ACT scores ranging from 27-31. Top colleges and universities look for ACTs in the 32-36 range.

From the forums:

"Should I include a 29 ACT on my application to UPenn?"

I am planning on applying into UPenn for early decision. My first ACT score was a 29 and I am planning on retaking it again this October 10th. Should I still include it into my application? If I will omit the score, will I be at a disadvantage?


UPenn's average ACT range is 34-36 composite score. University of Pennsylvania is extending it's test-optional policy through the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. According to Penn Admissions, students who do not to submit ACT or SAT test scores will not be penalized in the admissions process.

Since an ACT of 29 falls significantly below the average range for UPenn, it may make sense to opt out of submitting ACTs scores. Retaking the ACT or taking the SAT is another good option.

See what others said on the CC forums and explore colleges for a 29 ACT score below.

Sours: https://www.collegeconfidential.com/colleges/29-act-score/

Score 29 act

Is 29 a good ACT score?

If you got a 29 ACT score, you're probably wondering how you compare to other students, and whether a 29 is good enough to get into college.

The truth is, it depends on your personal college goals and where you want to apply. We have the complete guide for you here. On this page, you'll find statistics about your score and what colleges you're competitive for. You can also use our Chance Estimator tool to figure out your chances of getting into your target schools.

29 ACT Score Standings

Here's how you compare to other students and how many colleges you are competitive for:

  • score-percentPercentile:93rd

    Out of the 1.91 million test-takers, 134036 scored the same or higher than you.

  • score-competeCompetitive For:1380 Schools

    You can apply to 1380 colleges and have a good shot at getting admitted.

  • score-missingMissing Out On:119 Schools

    You have a very low chance of getting into 119 schools with this score.

Top Choice Colleges Chances

Can you get into your top choice colleges?

We've collected data from millions of students and thousands of colleges to figure out your chances at getting admitted with a 29 ACT score. You'll also see how your chances improve with a higher ACT score.

To add a school to your list, type in part of the school name, choose from the dropdown, and click the button.

School NameLocationChances with 29Chances with 33
*These calculations assume you’re at the average GPA for this school. Click on the school to see more detailed info about your chances of getting admitted.

What if you improved your ACT score by 4 points? You would:
  • be competitive for 95 more schools in the country
  • raise your chances of getting into target schools from 72.98% to 78.00%

Other Schools For You

What schools can you get into with an ACT score of 29?

We've picked out a set of schools that are within range. Click on each school to learn more about it.

image description

Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are hard for you to get into now, because they have average ACT scores that are higher than a 29. But if you improve your ACT score, you'll have a much better shot.

School NameLocationSAT AvgACT Avg
Boston UniversityBoston, MA142032
New York UniversityNew York, NY144032
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroy, NY140931
Lehigh UniversityBethlehem, PA136531
University of MiamiCoral Gables, FL135531
University of California, BerkeleyBerkeley, CA141531
University of California, Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA140531

image description

Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average ACT scores that are close to a 29. If you apply to these schools, you'll have a decent chance of admission. If you improve your ACT score by 4 points, you'll significantly improve your chances .

image description

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a 29 ACT score, you're already strongly competitive for these schools. You're very likely to get admitted if you apply. If you improve your ACT score, your Safety Schools will get better and better.

See a Different ACT Score

Curious about what your profile is with a different score? Choose any score from the entire ACT score range to see what you'd be able to do!

Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points?image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Free eBook: 5 Tips to 4+ Points on the ACT

If You Liked Our Advice...

Visit our blog for free strategy guides on college admissions and test prep.

Our experts have written hundreds of useful articles on improving your ACT score and getting into college. You'll definitely find something useful here.

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Sours: https://www.prepscholar.com/act/s/scores/29-ACT-score-is-this-good
What is a Good or Bad ACT Score? Complete Expanation
ACT to SAT Conversion

You’ve prepped for the ACT, dedicated a Saturday to taking the test, and received your score report. Now you're wondering how you would have scored on the SAT instead. Can you convert your scores between the SAT and ACT?

You can use our tools to convert your ACT scores to SAT scores or convert your SAT scores to ACT scores. Scroll down for a look at the underlying data on the SAT to ACT conversion chart.

ACT to SAT Score Calculator

Input your ACT score to see how well you might do on the SAT.

SAT to ACT Score Calculator

Input your SAT score to see how well you might do on the ACT.

ACT to SAT Conversion Table

 You can see composite SAT/ACT score concordance data below.

160036 125026 90017
159035 124026 89016
158035 123025 88016
157035 122025 87016
156035 121025 86016
155034 120025 85015
154034 119024 84015
153034 118024 83015
152034 117024 82015
151033 116024 81015
150033 115023 80014
149033 114023 79014
148032 113023 78014
147032 112022 77014
146032 111022 76014
145032 110022 75013
144031 109021 74013
143031 108021 73013
142031 107021 72013
141030 106021 71012
140030 105020 70012
139030 104020 69012
138029 103020 68012
137029 102020 67012
136029 101019 66012
135029 100019 65012
134028 99019 64012
133028 98019 63012
132028 97018 62011
131028 96018 61011
130027 95018 60011
129027 94018 59011
128027 93017 58011
127026 92017 57011
126026 91017 56011

Should I Take the ACT or SAT?

If a college's admissions policy indicates that they accept scores from either test, you can be certain that the school does not favor one over the other. Check out SAT vs ACT for an overview of the differences between the exams or take our handy SAT or ACT QUIZ. An increasing number of students consider taking both exams.

The best way to determine which test will best reflect your academic potential is to do a trial run of both exams. We offer free practice tests for both the SAT and ACT under the same testing conditions as the actual exams.Our awesome test prep experts will help you understand your personalized score report and make a plan for getting the score you want. 

Take a Free Practice ACT Test

Take a Free Practice SAT Test

The Staff of The Princeton Review

For more than 35 years, students and families have trusted The Princeton Review to help them get into their dream schools. We help students succeed in high school and beyond by giving them resources for better grades, better test scores, and stronger college applications. Follow us on Twitter: @ThePrincetonRev.

Sours: https://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/act-to-sat-conversion

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