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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.”)

College ACT Score Range for the Top 100 Universities

College RankingCollege Name25th Percentile Scores75th Percentile Scores
1Princeton University3235
2Harvard University3235
3University of Chicago3235
4Yale University3135
5 (tie)Columbia University3235
5 (tie)Stanford University3135
7Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT)3335
8 (tie)Duke University3134
8 (tie)University of Pennsylvania3134
10Johns Hopkins University3234
11Dartmouth College3034
12 (tie)California Institute of Technology (CIT)3435
12 (tie)Northwestern University3134
14Brown University3134
15 (tie)Cornell University3034
15 (tie)Rice University3235
15 (tie)University of Notre Dame3234
15 (tie)Vanderbilt University3235
19Washington University in St. Louis3234
20 (tie)Emory University2933
20 (tie)Georgetown University3034
20 (tie)University of California--Berkeley2934
23University of Southern California3033
24 (tie)Carnegie Mellon University3134
24 (tie)University of California--Los Angeles2533
24 (tie)University of Virginia2833
27 (tie)Tufts University3033
27 (tie)University of Michigan--Ann Arbor2933
27 (tie)Wake Forest University2733
30University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill2732
31Boston College3033
32 (tie)College of William & Mary2832
32 (tie)University of Rochester2933
34 (tie)Brandeis University2932
34 (tie)Georgia Institute of Technology3033
36New York University2932
37 (tie)Case Western Reserve University3033
37 (tie)University of California--Santa Barbara2430
39 (tie)Boston University2731
39 (tie)Northeastern University3134
39 (tie)Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute2832
39 (tie)Tulane University2932
39 (tie)University of California--IrvineN/AN/A
44 (tie)Lehigh University2932
44 (tie)University of California--Davis2430
44 (tie)University of California--San Diego2732
44 (tie)University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign2631
44 (tie)University of Miami2832
44 (tie)University of Wisconsin--Madison2731
50 (tie)Pennsylvania State University--University Park2529
50 (tie)Pepperdine University2530
50 (tie)University of Florida2731
50 (tie)Villanova University2932
54 (tie)Ohio State University--Colombus2731
54 (tie)University of Washington2631
56 (tie)George Washington University2731
56 (tie)Southern Methodist University2832
56 (tie)University of Georgia2631
56 (tie)University of Texas--Austin2631
60 (tie)Fordham University2731
60 (tie)Purdue University--West Lafayette2531
60 (tie)Syracuse University2429
60 (tie)University of Connecticut2631
60 (tie)University of Maryland--College ParkN/AN/A
60 (tie)Worcester Polytechnic Institute2732
66 (tie)Clemson University2731
66 (tie)Yeshiva University2429
68 (tie)Brigham Young University--Provo2731
68 (tie)University of Pittsburgh2631
70Rutgers University--New BrunswisckN/AN/A
71 (tie)Baylor University2530
71 (tie)Stevens Institute of Technology2932
71 (tie)University of Minnesota--Twin Cities2631
74 (tie)Clark University2630
74 (tie)Texas A&M University--College Station2530
74 (tie)University of Massachusetts--Amherst2530
74 (tie)Virginia TechN/AN/A
79 (tie)Miami University--Oxford2630
79 (tie)University of California--Santa Cruz2329
79 (tie)University of Delaware2529
82 (tie)Colorado School of Mines2832
82 (tie)Michigan State University2328
82 (tie)Texas Christian University2530
82 (tie)University of Iowa2328
86 (tie)Binghamton University--SUNY2731
86 (tie)Indiana University--Bloomington2430
86 (tie)Marquette University2430
86 (tie)University of Denver2330
86 (tie)University of San Diego2630
86 (tie)University of Tulsa2632
92 (tie)Florida State University2529
92 (tie)North Carolina State University--Raleigh2731
92 (tie)University of Colorado--Boulder2430
92 (tie)University of Vermont2530
96 (tie)Drexel University2530
96 (tie)Saint Louis University2531
96 (tie)Stony Brook University--SUNY2631
99 (tie)Auburn University2430
99 (tie)Loyola University Chicago2429
99 (tie)SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry2529
99 (tie)University at Buffalo--SUNY2429

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.

Ready to get your highest ACT score? Start here.
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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