ACT Test: Should You Aim For A High Score?

ACT Test Score

What defines a passing ACT score is that it’s high enough to get students into the colleges they are applying to, so the best approach here is to look at the score averages of the universities or colleges that you want to apply to.

The ACT scores of the students don’t have to be perfect for them to pass. Even though it never hurts to bring up their ACT score, it just has to be good enough. Now, this gets a little complicated because the ACT score is not the only part of the student’s college applications. If the ACT score of a student is particularly low, college admissions officers may have higher expectations for other parts of their application, such as GPA and extracurriculars.

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What Students Must Remember About How To Pass Their ACT Test

ACT scores

There might not be an official passing score of the ACT test, but that somehow appears to make things complicated. What a student might consider passing will depend on the college or university he hopes to get into, but students must think more in terms of target scores rather than just a good enough ACT score.

If students are worried that their ACT scores are not up to par, they don’t need to worry about it – there are a lot of things they can do to bring their score up, no matter where they might be on the percentile charts. What matters most when setting up a passing ACT score are the goals they set for themselves.

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Worried About Reaching Your Target ACT Score?

ACT test

Perhaps the ACT scores the students have calculated seem higher than they would have expected. If the target score of a student seems intimidatingly high, these are the things to remember:

  • Keep in mind that your target ACT score (75th percentile average) is a perfect goal. It is supposed to be higher compared to what you’re scoring now or maybe even what you expect to score.
  • If the 25th percentile benchmark appears too high for you, consider re-evaluating the institutions of your choice – you might need to consider colleges or universities that are slightly less competitive.
  • If your target ACT score is above the 75th percentile mark, it would be best for you to consider more competitive institutions

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Interpreting ACT Scores

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Let’s say you’ve already taken the ACT test and you’ve just received your ACT test score, how do you interpret your test score?

The ACT test score is an important piece of a student’s college admissions process since it helps to gauge his competitiveness as an applicant and determine next steps regarding ACT test prep.

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ACT Test Scores Explained

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The ACT composite score is based on a 36-point scale, the average of four multiple-choice sections, English, Reading, Math, and Science, scored from 1 to 36. Also, test-takers have ELA (English, Reading, and the optional Writing) and Stem scores (Math and Science) that depict how well they do across those areas.

To understand how a student compares to other test-takers, you need to look at your ACT percentile score, which marks out the percentage of test-takers who have lower scores less than yours. For example, if you’re in the 90th percentile, it means you have an ACT score better than or equal to 90 percent of other test-takers.

A breakdown of how well you did in each section and subsection can be found under Detailed Results. This shows you the percentage of correct as and incorrect questions across a range of skill sections and question types to help you identify specific areas you need to improve on.

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You Need To Have A Good ACT Test Score

Good ACT Test score

So what’s really a good ACT test score? A good ACT score is one that makes you a competitive applicant to the institutions you are hoping to get into. It’s a score that helps you achieve your personal goals.

To be competitive, you need to score towards the upper end of the 25th to 75th college admissions percentile for the institutions you want to apply to. Colleges and universities publish these ranges specifying the test score distribution of their freshman class. Fifty-percent of the colleges and universities admitted students who had scores that fell between the 25th to 75th college admissions percentile, 25 percent had scores above and 25 percent had scores below.

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Should You Take The ACT Test Again?

Interpreting ACT Scores

How do the ACT scores of the students measure up? Just because the ACT score is in the 25 to 75 range doesn’t mean students have a fifty-fifty chance at being admitted. Nonetheless, ACT scores near the 75 percent and above range will give students confidence that they are a competitive applicant at that college or university.

Students are allowed to take the ACT test more than once. In fact, a number of institutions encourage students to take the ACT test multiple times by offering SuperScore as well as Score Choice options.

The SuperScore is an average of the student’s highest tests scores across multiple test dates, while the Score Choice allows students to send their highest ACT score from a single administration of the exam.

Students can continue to increase their skills, performance, and confidence in time for college admissions deadlines to make sure that their scores are competitive for the programs they are aiming for. The ACT score report of the students provides valuable information that helps them personalize their ACT test prep and prioritize their weaker areas.

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Potential Problems While Taking The ACT Test

ACT Test Scores Explained

Here are some of the potential problems while taking the ACT test. If a student is a relatively high ACT scorer, he probably has a general idea of his strong and weak areas. Unlike the low scorers, the high scorers are likely strong on content overall. However, high scorers typically lose points due to these problems:

  1. Loss of focus leading to careless mistakes.
  2. They ran out of time and missed some questions.
  3. There are some specific areas they haven’t mastered yet.

If you want to get close to your target ACT score, you need to address these problems through ACT test preps. These include reviewing study guides, answering practice tests, and signing up for review classes. Always pay attention to your weak areas first when you start reviewing.

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