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Thomas Broderick

How to Get a 23 Score on the ACT

Hello again, Magoosh readers. If you’re contemplating your future, and I assume you are because you’re reading this article, you’re probably wondering what ACT score you should aim for.


In this article I’ll be giving my patented advice on how to get a 23 score on the ACT. Why 23? Well, for those of you planning to attend community college or a state college/university, a 23 score will all but assure that your post-high school dreams come true.

What is a 23 score on the ACT?

To earn a 23 score on the ACT, you need to achieve certain raw scores in each of the four subject tests: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Below are the minimum number of questions you need to answer correctly to earn a composite score of 23.

  • English: 54/75
  • Mathematics: 36/60
  • Reading: 25/40
  • Science: 28/40

Fortunately for you, if you score higher one or more of the tests, it’s okay to do a little bit worse on another test. That being said, take some comfort in the fact that you have a lot of wiggle room to reach your goal.

So how should I study for the ACT?

Though some of the following advice is tailor-made to earn a 23, everyone’s ACT study plan should have the same starting line:

Take a full-length, timed ACT practice test.

After you get done, immediately score your test. Let’s say, for example, that these are your raw scores:

  • English: 62/75
  • Mathematics: 30/60
  • Reading: 28/40
  • Science: 22/40

Okay, first thing to take away is that you are better than the minimum score required in English and Reading. For the time being, set aside those two parts of the ACT.

For the Math and Science tests, it’s time to review the missed questions. If your practice test came from a book, the answer key will usually provide the content topic(s) that each question represents. It’s time to make a list of all the Math and Science topics that stumped you.

To earn a 23 score on the ACT, review these topics either by yourself or with the help of a tutor/teacher. It’s not necessary to master every topic; your goal is to raise your score just above the minimum cutoff I discussed earlier. Also, if you have time in your study plan, review the topics that you missed on your English and Reading tests. After all, every right answer will count towards your goal.

As you work through your ACT study plan, I also recommend taking two additional full-length practice tests, one halfway through your study plan, and one roughly a week before the ACT. These two tests will help you track your improvement, or let you know if your study plan isn’t working.

Final Thoughts

Before you jump into the deep end with the ACT, be sure to check out Magoosh’s Three Month ACT Study Schedule. It has a lot of good tips that will help you make the most of your study time.

Finally, a 23 score on the ACT may not be the highest peak to climb in the ACT world, but it is a respectable summit nonetheless. Best of luck in your ACT mountaineering endeavors!

About Thomas Broderick

Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

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