Complete Guide to Your ACT Score Report

Before we delve into the complete score report for the ACT’s we must first answer a few fundamental questions in this article. It would prove to be a comprehensive guide to truly understanding your extensive results and applying them in the most efficient way possible in order to get admissions.

Updated by Tanisha Alex on 20th April 2020

Before we delve into the complete score report for the ACT’s we must first answer a few fundamental questions in this article. The ACT’s and the SATs are in fact the most awaited test that is written by almost every high school kid.  As such, it’s imperative that you know how to interpret your scores and glean from them as much information as possible. Since these tests are administered to a large number of people there should be a clear way for them to review and comprehend their results in order to use them in a beneficial manner. Especially the new ACT’s have been updated as late as September 2016. This article would prove to be a comprehensive guide to truly understanding your extensive results and applying them in the most efficient way possible in order to get admissions. 

What score would you require to be admitted into a good college?

While there is no minimum ACT test score required for college admissions, each school has an ideal ACT score range in which they hope applicants will score. Every school has a different approach to weighting standardized test scores. As a general rule, though, it’s good to fall somewhere in the middle 50% of last year’s accepted students’ score range. The higher you fall in the range (or even beyond it), the better. 

Top 20 Universities

25th Percentile ACT Scores of Accepted Students

75th Percentile ACT Scores  of Accepted Students

Acceptance Rate

Princeton University

33

35

5.8%

Harvard University

33

35

4.6%

Columbia University

33

35

5.3%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

34

36

6.7%

Yale University

33

35

5.9%

Stanford University

32

35

4.4%

University of Chicago

33

35

6.2%

University of Pennsylvania

33

35

7.7%

Northwestern University

32

35

8.9%

Duke University

33

35

7.4%

Johns Hopkins University

33

35

9.2%

California Institute of Technology

35

36

6.4%

Dartmouth College

32

35

7.9%

Brown University

31

35

6.6%

University of Notre Dame

33

35

8.2%

Vanderbilt University

33

36

9.1%

Cornell University

32

35

10.6%

Rice University

33

35

8.7%

Washington University in St. Louis

33

35

14%

University of California—Los Angeles

25

33

12.3%

 How exactly is the ACT scored?

Simply put, your score for each section is calculated by a computer that scans the number of answers you got correct and produces your raw score. Your raw score for each section is then converted into a scaled score, ranging between 1-36, which takes into account very slight differences in difficulty on different forms of the ACT. Basically, it ensures that a specific score indicates the exact same level of mastery across every version of the test.

Next, your scaled scores from 1-36 for each of the four required sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) are averaged together to create a composite score indicating your overall performance. Your composite score is rounded to the nearest whole number, with decimals less than .5 being rounded down and decimals equal to or greater than .5 being rounded up. This means that you can in fact get a perfect composite score without getting perfect section scores; for example, if you were to score a 36, 34, 36, 36 on each of the sections, your average would be 35.5, which rounds up to 36. 

In conclusion, your ACT scores are incredibly important but with the help of this article and some diligent studying these tests should not pose a problem.