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David Recine

How to Get a 27 on the ACT

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.”)

Liam got a 35 on the ACT. Get a higher ACT score with Magoosh.

College ACT Score Range for the Top 100 Universities

College RankingCollege Name25th Percentile Scores75th Percentile Scores
1Princeton University3235
2Harvard University3335
3 (tie)Columbia University
3335
3 (tie)Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3436
3 (tie)Yale University3335
6 (tie)Stanford University3235
6 (tie)University of Chicago3335
6 (tie)University of Pennsylvania
3235
9 Northwestern University3335
10 (tie)Duke University3335
10 (tie)Johns Hopkins University3335
12 (tie)California Institute of Technology (CIT)3536
12 (tie)Dartmouth College
3135
14Brown University3235
15 (tie)University of Notre Dame
3335
15 (tie)Vanderbilt University3335
17 (tie)Cornell University3234
17 (tie)Rice University3335
19Washington University in St. Louis3235
20University of California--Los Angeles
2834
21Emory University3134
22 (tie)University of California--Berkeley2834
22 (tie)University of Southern California3034
24 Georgetown University3134
25 (tie)Carnegie Mellon University3335
25 (tie)University of Michigan--Ann Arbor3034
27 Wake Forest University2933
28University of Virginia3034
29 (tie)Georgia Institute of Technology3134
29 (tie)New York University2934
29 (tie)Tufts University3134
29 (tie)University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill
2733
29 (tie)University of Rochester3034
34 (tie)University of California--Santa Barbara2632
34 (tie)University of Florida2732
36University of California--IrvineN/AN/A
37 (tie)Boston College3134
37 (tie)University of California--San Diego2633
39 University of California--Davis2531
40 (tie)Boston University3033
40 (tie)Brandeis University2933
40 (tie)Case Western Reserve University3034
40 (tie)College of William and Mary3033
40 (tie)Northeastern University3234
40 (tie)Tulane University3033
46 (tie)University of Wisconsin--Madison2732
46 (tie)Villanova University3033
48 (tie)University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign2632
48 (tie)University of Texas--Austin2733
50 (tie)Lehigh University2933
50 (tie)Pepperdine University2632
50 (tie)Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute2933
50 (tie)University of Georgia2732
54 (tie)Ohio State University--Columbus2732
54 (tie)Santa Clara University2832
54 (tie)Syracuse University2532
57 (tie)Florida State University2630
57 (tie)Pennsylvania State University--University Park2530
57 (tie)Purdue University--West Lafayette2532
57 (tie)University of Miami2932
57 (tie)University of Pittsburgh2832
62 (tie)Rutgers University--New Brunswick2531
62 (tie)University of Washington2732
64 (tie)Loyola Marymount University2731
64 (tie)Southern Methodist University2933
64 (tie)University of Connecticut2631
64 (tie)University of Maryland--College Park2833
64 (tie)University of Massachusetts--Amherst2631
64 (tie)Worcester Polytechnic Institute2933
70 (tie)Clemson University2932
70 (tie)George Washington University2530
70 (tie)Texas A&M University--College Station2531
70 (tie)University of Minnesota--Twin Cities2631
74 (tie)Fordham University2832
74 (tie)Stevens Institute of Technology3032
74 (tie)Virginia Tech2531
74 (tie)American University2731
77 (tie)Brigham Young University--Provo2631
79 (tie)Baylor University2631
79 (tie)Binghamton University--SUNY2832
79 (tie)Gonzaga University2530
79 (tie)Indiana University--Bloomington2431
79 (tie)University at Buffalo--SUNY2429
84 (tie)Colorado School of Mines2833
84 (tie)Elon University2530
84 (tie)Marquette University2430
84 (tie)Michigan State University2329
84 (tie)North Carolina State University--Raleigh2731
84 (tie)University of California--Santa Cruz2431
84 (tie)University of Iowa2328
91 (tie)Clark University2831
91 (tie)Miami University--Oxford2631
91 (tie)Stony Brook University--SUNY2631
91 (tie)University of California--Riverside2329
91 (tie)University of Delaware2530
91 (tie)University of San Diego2530
97 (tie)Drexel University2530
97 (tie)New Jersey Institute of Technology2530
97 (tie)Saint Louis University2531
97 (tie)Texas Christian University2630
97 (tie)University of Denver2631
97 (tie)University of San Francisco2329
97 (tie)Yeshiva University2230

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.

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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