Can’t wait to get a jump on the new PreACT? We’re with you—the new PreACT, which replaces the PLAN test in 2016, is a (well, slightly) new beast. Because it’s scored on the same scale as the ACT, we can imagine, even though percentiles haven’t been released, that average scores will hover around 21. Anything above average will start to distinguish you from the pack. The higher you go, the more distinguished you’ll be.
How Does Scoring on the PreACT Work?
It’s great news that scoring will be nearly identical to scoring on the ACT itself: 1-36 overall, with subsections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) also graded between 1-36. Why is this good news, you might ask? Well, in the first place, it prepares you for taking the ACT in a year or two; you’ll know what to expect. While your PreACT scores don’t exactly predict your ACT scores—you can definitely still boost them before the big test day!—they do give you an idea of the areas that you should be working on before you go into the ACT, and help you focus on those.
No, But Really: What’s a Good Score?
Sigh. Okay, let’s break this down: what a good PreACT score is will depend on two big factors: where do you live? And where do you want to go?
Scores by State
To a certain extent, your scores will be judged in comparison to those of your peers. Why is where you live important? Most colleges will evaluate their admissions pools geographically: in-state and out-of-state, by region, etc. In some states, average ACT scores are higher; in others, they’re lower. We can anticipate PreACT scores mirroring this pattern. Depending on where you live, average scores may be between 19 and 22, going as high as 24 in certain states, like Massachusetts.
Scores by School
A good ACT score for Yale will not necessarily be the same as a good ACT score for less competitive schools. None of these schools will take your PreACT score into consideration, though this score can tell you how much work you’ll have to do before taking the ACT to get the score you want for these schools.
Looking at admissions rates can help to determine selectivity: at most of the Ivies, you’re looking at acceptance rates of less than 10%, meaning that you probably want your scores to be in the top ten percentile. Caveat: this is not an exact correlation by any means, but it does help to get a general ballpark number. In 2015-2016, this was a 28 (composite), but really, average scores from admitted students will show the higher you can get that score, the better (think 33+). The 90th percentile in the Reading section, for example, starts at 31—pretty high! Again, remember this is the PreACT (you’re in 10th grade after all!) If you can score in the high-20s or low-30s on the PreACT, you’re in good shape for an ACT score that will fly with highly competitive schools after some prep.
A Final Note
With all of that said, though, remember: a good score on the PreACT is the score that helps you: the score that inspires and encourages you to study what you need to in order to get the score you want to on the ACT and add another plus to your admissions file. Good luck as you go forth, PreACT pioneers!