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David Recine

How to Get a 27 Score on the ACT


Your ACT score doesn’t need to be perfect to be good. A common ACT benchmark is 27– get a 27 or higher, and many doors will open to you.

If this post caught your eye and you’re reading it now, you may already know the value of a 27 on the ACT. You may even have a few schools that require a 27 on the ACT in mind. In this post, I’ll show you how to get at least a 27.

To get a 27 on the ACT, know your weaknesses

Getting a 27+ on the ACT is doable, but if you do really badly in one section, that section could pull your entire score to 26 or lower. Don’t let this happen! With study and hard work, you can be strong enough on the exam to get a 27– even if your scores in a section or two are a little below that 27 target.

So take some practice exams from the official ACT Test Prepration website or their official book, The Real ACT Prep Guide. Make note of sections or question types that you aren’t doing so well on. And then figure out why you don’t do well  on certain parts of the exam.

For instance, some ACT test-takers do poorly in math because they struggle with order of operations or make small calculation errors in in ACT Math. Other ACT preppers may fall short on vocabulary for ACT Reading comprehension, or have trouble understanding the charts and graphs in ACT Science. Whatever your weak areas are, these weaknesses can be overcome, and improved on enough for a 27 target score.

To get a 27 on the ACT, know your strenghts

Everyone has strengths in some ACT skill or another—you may be really good at math, have a keen eye for writing and grammar, a high confidence with science texts… you get the idea.

Good performance in a section of an ACT is a powerful secret weapon for keeping your composite score at 27 or higher, even if you get a number of questions wrong in other areas on the exam.

So build on your strengths and take advantage of them– think about just how high you could score in a strong area. If you’re a math whiz, that’s a section of the test where you may be able to place in the low or even mid-30s; this can keep your overall composite score nice and high. If you’re good at language arts, you can do well in both ACT Reading and ACT English. That’s two sections where you can really shine! If you get at least a 30 in both ACT Reading and English, a few missteps in ACT Math and Science probably won’t pull your score down to below 27.

To get a 27 on the ACT, aim for above a 27

No matter what your target score is on the ACT, always aim higher than your goal. This gives you the “wiggle room” you need to make sure you get at least your minimum. And it also increases the odds that you’ll get a score above the minimum goal– always a good thing!

I’ve seen students hope for a 27 and successfully overshoot, getting a 29, 30, 31, or even 32 on test day. I’ve also seen students hit the 27 mark under very bad circumstances, reaching their target score because they overshot. Aim for a 30 or more, and if you’re tired, sick, or distracted on test day, you’ll likely still be able to get a 27 or 28 on the ACT, even under adverse conditions.

About David Recine

David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent. Currently, David lives in a small town in the American Upper Midwest. When he’s not teaching or writing, David studies Korean, plays with his son, and takes road trips to Minneapolis to get a taste of city life. Follow David on Google+ and Twitter!

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