Your ACT score doesn’t need to be perfect to be good. A common ACT benchmark is 27—get a 27 ACT score or higher, and many doors will open to you. Now, why would you want to get a 27 on the ACT?
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 that score in mind…
In this post, I’ll show you how to score at least a 27 on the ACT, as well as telling you about the benefits of a 27 act score.
To Get a 27 ACT Score, Get Inspired
Motivation is one of the key factors in pushing yourself to get that higher score! For example: If you get a 27 on the ACT, you’ll maximize your chances of acceptance at literally hundreds of colleges.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the median 50% ACT scores (25th-75th percentile) of the top 100 U.S. universities. You’ll see that an ACT score of 27 places you right smack in that golden range for more than HALF of them. (Quick tip: You can sort the table by ACT scores by clicking on the box labeled “25th Percentile Scores.”)
College ACT Score Range for the Top 100 Universities
|College Ranking||College Name||25th Percentile Scores||75th Percentile Scores|
|3 (tie)||Columbia University||33||35|
|3 (tie)||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||34||36|
|3 (tie)||Yale University||33||35|
|6 (tie)||Stanford University||32||35|
|6 (tie)||University of Chicago||33||35|
|6 (tie)||University of Pennsylvania||32||35|
|10 (tie)||Duke University||33||35|
|10 (tie)||Johns Hopkins University||33||35|
|12 (tie)||California Institute of Technology (Caltech)||35||36|
|12 (tie)||Dartmouth College||31||35|
|15 (tie)||University of Notre Dame||33||35|
|15 (tie)||Vanderbilt University||33||35|
|17 (tie)||Cornell University||32||34|
|17 (tie)||Rice University||33||35|
|19||Washington University in St. Louis||32||35|
|20||University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)||28||34|
|22 (tie)||University of California--Berkeley||28||34|
|22 (tie)||University of Southern California (USC)||30||34|
|25 (tie)||Carnegie Mellon University||33||35|
|25 (tie)||University of Michigan at Ann Arbor||30||34|
|27||Wake Forest University||29||33|
|28||University of Virgina||30||34|
|29 (tie)||Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)||31||34|
|29 (tie)||New York University (NYU)||29||34|
|29 (tie)||Tufts University||31||34|
|29 (tie)||University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)||27||33|
|29 (tie)||University of Rochester||30||34|
|34 (tie)||University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)||26||32|
|34 (tie)||University of Florida||27||32|
|36||University of California, Irvine (UCI)||N/A||N/A|
|37 (tie)||Boston College||31||34|
|37 (tie)||University of California--San Diego||26||33|
|39||University of California, Davis (UC Davis)||25||31|
|40 (tie)||Boston University||30||33|
|40 (tie)||Brandeis University||29||33|
|40 (tie)||Case Western Reserve University||30||34|
|40 (tie)||College of William and Mary||30||33|
|40 (tie)||Northeastern University||32||34|
|40 (tie)||Tulane University||30||33|
|46 (tie)||University of Wisconsin Madison||27||32|
|46 (tie)||Villanova University||30||33|
|48 (tie)||University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign||26||32|
|48 (tie)||University of Texas, Austin (UT Austin)||27||33|
|50 (tie)||Lehigh University||29||33|
|50 (tie)||Pepperdine University||26||32|
|50 (tie)||Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute||29||33|
|50 (tie)||University of Georgia||27||32|
|54 (tie)||Ohio State University--Columbus||27||32|
|54 (tie)||Santa Clara University||28||32|
|54 (tie)||Syracuse University||25||32|
|57 (tie)||Florida State University||26||30|
|57 (tie)||Pennsylvania State--University Park||25||30|
|57 (tie)||Purdue Univesity-West Lafayette||25||32|
|57 (tie)||University of Miami||29||32|
|57 (tie)||University of Pittsburgh||28||32|
|62 (tie)||Rutgers University--New Brunswick||25||31|
|62 (tie)||University of Washington||27||32|
|64 (tie)||Loyola Marymount University||27||31|
|64 (tie)||Southern Methodist University||29||33|
|64 (tie)||University of Connecticut||26||31|
|64 (tie)||University of Maryland--College Park||28||33|
|64 (tie)||University of Massachussetts-Amherst (UMass Amherst)||26||31|
|64 (tie)||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||29||33|
|70 (tie)||George Washington University||25||30|
|70 (tie)||Texas A&M University--College Station||25||31|
|70 (tie)||University of Minnesota--Twin Cities||26||31|
|74 (tie)||Fordham University||28||32|
|74 (tie)||Stevens Institute of Technology||30||32|
|74 (tie)||Virginia Institute of Technology (Virginia Tech)||25||31|
|74 (tie)||American University||27||31|
|77 (tie)||Brigham Young University--Provo||26||31|
|79 (tie)||Baylor University||26||31|
|79 (tie)||Binghamton University||28||32|
|79 (tie)||Gonzaga University||25||30|
|79 (tie)||Indiana University--Bloomington||24||31|
|79 (tie)||University at Buffalo||24||29|
|84 (tie)||Colorado School of Mines||28||33|
|84 (tie)||Elon University||25||30|
|84 (tie)||Marquette University||24||30|
|84 (tie)||Michigan State University||23||29|
|84 (tie)||North Carolina State University--Raleigh||27||31|
|84 (tie)||University of California--Santa Cruz||24||31|
|84 (tie)||University of Iowa||23||28|
|91 (tie)||Clark University||28||31|
|91 (tie)||Miami University--Oxford||26||31|
|91 (tie)||Stony Brook University (SUNY)||26||31|
|91 (tie)||University of California--Riverside||23||29|
|91 (tie)||University of Delaware||25||30|
|91 (tie)||University of San Diego||25||30|
|97 (tie)||Drexel University||25||30|
|97 (tie)||New Jersey Institute of Technology||25||30|
|97 (tie)||Saint Louis University||25||31|
|97 (tie)||Texas Christian University||26||30|
|97 (tie)||University of Denver||26||31|
|97 (tie)||University of San Francisco||23||29|
|97 (tie)||Yeshiva University||22||30|
Inspired? Is your motivation soaring?
Excellent! Now let’s look at what you should do to get that 27 ACT score.
To Get a 27 ACT Score, 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.
To reach that goal of 27, 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 Strengths
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 a Score 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.
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About David Recine
David Recine is a Verbal Test Prep Expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor's in 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. David has taught test prep and language arts to students of all ages, and from every continent. He currently lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA; when he's not working for Magoosh, he keeps himself busy with cooking, art, and parenting.
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