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Rachel Kapelke-Dale

ACT Score Range: What is a Good ACT Score?

“What’s a good ACT score?”

If I had a dollar for every time I’m asked that…well, let’s put it this way: I’d be driving a much nicer car.

If you’ve taken the ACT, or you’re planning on taking the ACT, you probably want more information about your scores and what they mean.

A good ACT score is the one that helps you get into the college of your dreams! For most students, scoring above average, 21 or higher, is a good ACT score. For those applying to elite colleges, scores in the 94th percentile (30+) or even the 98th percentile (33+) are good ACT scores. But that’s the short answer… there is more to it than that of course.

ACT scores range from a low of 1 to a max score of 36. Overall, ACT test scores are the average of test-takers’ sectional scores (also 1-36) in English, Math, Reading, and Science. So what is a good ACT score? The ACT score range for students admitted to different colleges varies, and the average ACT score is 20.8. However, various factors will affect what a “good” ACT score is for you.

Read on to learn more!

ACT score range what is a good ACT score

Where do you stand in terms of the ACT score range? And where do you stand in terms of the ACT score range for colleges you might want to attend?

But hold it! Challenge question:

Is there really such a thing as a good ACT score

While a lot of people might cop out by saying no, I’ll take a risk here and say YES—with a big caveat. A “good” ACT score depends entirely on your personal goals.

Does better than average count as good? Top quarter? Top 10%?

All of these thresholds are meaningless without context. In fact, there are about as many different “good” ACT scores as there are ACT scores. And a good ACT score for someone else might not be a good ACT score for you.

Furthermore, while most schools care about the composite score, some will look specifically for your subject area scores. So even a number isn’t just a single number.

Don’t worry, though. We’re not going to leave it at that! In fact, we’re going to dive in and look at every factor that affects how good your ACT score is for your personal goals.

Table of Contents

In this post, we’re going to go over:

  1. What Is the ACT Score Range?
  2. What Is the ACT Test Score Range for the Top 100 U.S. Universities?
  3. What Is the Average ACT Score?
  4. What Are Good ACT Scores for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors?
  5. What Is a Good ACT Score for Scholarships?
  6. What ACT Score Range Do I Need for the Ivy League?
  7. What Is the Pre-ACT Score Range?
  8. How Can I Improve My ACT Test Scores?
  9. Diagnostic Quiz: How Will You Score on the ACT?

Let’s get started!

ACT Score Range

The ACT exam comprises four tests:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Science
  • …and an optional essay

Within each of the four tests, you’ll receive a scaled score from 1-36.

This score is based on the number of questions you answered correctly, known as your raw score. (If you’re interested in how the test maker converts raw scores to scaled scores, check out our ACT Raw Score Conversion Chart.)

ACT Composite Scores

The test maker then averages your four test scores for the composite, or overall, score. This is also scored using the 1-36 score range.

ACT score range 1 to 36

So what is a good ACT composite score? The lowest composite ACT score possible is 1, while the highest ACT score possible is 36. Other factors will help you determine what a good ACT composite score is for you, and we’ll look at those in a minute.

Sidebar: Haven’t taken the ACT yet? Get an idea of how prepared you are for the ACT by taking our 12-question diagnostic test. Click the button to jump to the quiz:

ACT In-Section Scores

But the composite score is not the only score that matters! ACT score reports will provide you even more information about your test-taking experience in the form of sub-scores.

What do these look like? We’re so glad you asked!

ACT Sectional Sub-Scores

SectionOverall Score RangeSub-Score Breakdown
English1-36Usage/Mechanics (1-18)
Rhetorical Skills (1-18)
Essay (2-12)
Math1-36Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra (1-18)
Algebra/Coordinate Geometry (1-18)
Plane Geometry/Trigonometry (1-18)
Reading1-36Social Sciences/Sciences (1-18)
Arts/Literature (1-18)
Science1-36No sub-scores on the Science test!

Understanding ACT Percentiles

Finally, last but definitely not least, you’ll see your percentile. Or, rather, percentiles.

Your ACT percentiles compare your scores to the scores of other test-takers. When you get your score report, you’ll be able to see where you stand both in terms of your composite score and your test (or in-section) scores.

If you scored in the 90th percentile, for example, you scored better than 90% (or 90 out of every 100) test-takers. If you scored in the 50th percentile, you scored better than half of your peers.

ACT score percentiles

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

ACT Test Score Range for the Top 100 U.S. Universities

But even with ALL of the information you can find on your ACT score report, your ACT test scores still don’t mean that much without more context.

As I emphatically stated at the beginning of this post, a good ACT score for you will depend on what your goals are. Well, here’s a chance to see how to tailor those goals to the school(s) of your dreams before you send ACT scores to them.

How Do Colleges Use the ACT?

The ACT, like its cousin the SAT, is a standardized test meant to measure both knowledge gained in high school and potential to succeed in a college setting. The higher the score, the more likely a student will excel in college.

Though not the only piece in the college application puzzle, your ACT score is the first thing most admissions counselors see. If you don’t score in the same range as most of the current students, it is going to be VERY HARD to convince them that you would be the perfect fit.

ACT Scores of Accepted Students

In the table below, you’ll see the 25th-75th percentile ACT scores (also known as the “middle 50%” scores) for the top 100 U.S. universities.

What do all those numbers mean? In short, the middle-scoring 50% of incoming students scored within this range. 25% of incoming students scored below the lower number, while 25% of incoming students scored above the higher number. Everybody else (the middle 50%) scored between the two.

Here’s an approximation of what the distribution of score percentiles could look like:

ACT percentile ranges for colleges universities

With all that said, take a look at the ACT score range in 2016 below.

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

ACT Score Range for the Top 100 U.S. 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

Data from the U.S. News & World Report: National Universities Ranking.


A ton of information, right? Always a good thing. (We break down these scores even further in ACT Scores for Top Universities, just FYI!)

Just make sure that you’re using the information appropriately. We provide the middle 50% ACT test scores for a reason.

Dangerous Thinking

It’s really tricky to use ALL test scores from accepted students. For example, it’s incorrect (exciting, but incorrect) to follow a train of thought like this:

“Wow, the ACT score range for Harvard is 22-36. I have a 29. I’m in!”

Hold on, there, buddy. Yeah, Harvard isn’t lying when it tells you that someone with a 22 got it. Yet he (or she) was an exception to the rule.

Maybe she got a medal in the last Olympics. Maybe his father is an alumnus with a fat (and generous) wallet. We can’t know for sure, but it doesn’t really matter.

What you need to do is make sure that you use the best info available—and in this case, it’s those middle 50% test scores. There are no ACT score requirements for Harvard, but 75% of admitted students do score above 32 on the ACT.

ACT Score Ranges and Your Application

However! I’m not saying that falling below an ACT score range means that there is a 0% chance you’ll get into your dream school. Some people do, or there wouldn’t be a range.

What I am saying is is that if you’re in (or above) the range, that’s one big hurdle taken down between you and the “fat envelope.”

ACT score ranges and your college application

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

Average ACT Scores

So by now you know that the ACT score range is 1-36, and that 36 is the perfect ACT score. You also have some idea of where you’ll need to score to get into your dream school, as well as where you’d be likely to score if you took the test today.

But where do you stand compared to the average test-taker?

The ACT average score was 20.8 (composite) in 2016. Basically, if you scored above 21 overall, you’re ahead of the curve.

the average act score is 20.8

Contextualizing Your ACT Results

To see how far ahead of the curve you are, or the points you’d need to score to reach 21, looking at ACT percentiles is a good place to start.

It can also be helpful to look at the ACT in comparison to other standardized tests, particularly the SAT, to see how your score stacks up.

If you’re feeling super competitive, you can also check out how your score compares locally in Average ACT Scores by State.

Average Sectional (Test) Scores on the ACT

The average ACT composite score of 20.8 reflects the average overall score on the ACT tests. Let’s take a look at how this breaks down for each of the four tests and the essay (which isn’t factored into your overall score) on the following ACT score chart.

Average ACT Scores by Test

TestScore RangeAverage Score
Essay (subsection of English Test)2-126.9

A Word About ACT Writing Scores

What is a good ACT Writing score? A quick note on this essay business. You might be worried about the ACT essay, as the scoring has recently changed. But there’s nothing to fear!

Actually, the scores have just reverted to the old ACT score range for essays of 2-12.

If you’re craving more detail on scoring the essay and the English section, find out what we say when students ask “What is a Good ACT Writing Score?” and “What is a Good ACT English Score?” (We get a lot of questions around here!)

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

Good ACT Scores by Grade Level

When considering the questions, ”What is a good ACT score for a sophomore,” “What is a good ACT score for a junior,” and “What is a good ACT score for a senior,” things get a little more complicated.

Now, in addition to the factors we’ve already discussed, we’ll add in one more: grade level.

This will help us pinpoint a good ACT score range for you to target depending on your circumstances. After all, what is considered a good ACT score for a sophomore (and maybe taking the PreACT) won’t be the same as what is considered a good ACT score for a senior.

what is a good act score for a junior

Okay…So What IS Considered a Good ACT Score?

We’ve crunched some numbers and come up with the following, based on your ultimate goals.

The numbers on the ACT score chart are loose projections—as I mentioned earlier, students with lower scores may still get into their dream schools! Still, these scores are good/great starts for students at different grade levels with the following goals.

Good ACT Scores by Grade Level and Goal

 Only Ivy League for me!I'm going for schools ranked between 25-50I'm going for schools ranked 50-75I'm going for schools ranked 75-100I'm going for schools ranked above 100

Keep in mind that we constructed this table with the assumption that you’ll keep studying and pushing yourself in your ACT prep as you move through high school!

A rise of four points a year is within your grasp if you do this. If you let everything drop until the last minute, though, you may not see an appreciable rise at all. (However, the more advanced coursework you’re encountering should still help give your scores a bump.)

On the other hand, if you’ve scored a 36 and you’re a sophomore, that’s awesome. Don’t take the test again. Also, what are you still doing reading this post?

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

What Is a Good ACT Score for Scholarships?

Imagine this: It’s test day, and you’ve finally finished taking the ACT. The proctor calls “pencils down!” You turn in your test, walking out of the room with a sense of accomplishment, pride…and potential fistfulls of dollars.

Yup, a strong ACT score can put you in the running for scholarships. But just what is that strong (okay, okay—”good”) ACT score for scholarships?

As with ACT scores for college admissions, there’s no one magic number. On the other hand, there are a few guidelines we can look at.

what is a good act score for scholarships

Is My Score in the Ballpark for ACT Scholarships?

If you’re scoring in the 30s, that’s a great place to start. After all, if you score above 30, you’re in the top tenth percentile of all ACT test-takers.

On the other hand, you can still get a scholarship even if you’re scoring in the mid-20s.

The main variables here? Which scholarships you’re applying for, and which schools you hope to attend.

How Much Money Will I Get?

In almost every case, the higher your score, the bigger the payout.

For example?

Baylor University gives scholarships of up to $41,996 a year to students getting a perfect score of 36 on the ACT. But knock that score down a few points, to 29, and suddenly that scholarship’s only $27,996.

Oklahoma State University gives students scoring 24 on the ACT (and a 3.0 GPA) up to $7,000 a year. Six points more, though, and students scoring 30 are eligible for up to $12,500 annually.

As we’ve seen, some scholarships will also have GPA requirements, or applications, so be sure to check before assuming that money’s in the bank.

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

What ACT Score Range Do I Need for the Ivy League?

Ah, the $200,000 (and rising) question! No faffing about. Let’s get to it with our Ivy League ACT score range chart:

Ivy League ACT Score Range

College RankingCollege Name25th Percentile75th Percentile
1Princeton University3235
2Harvard University3235
3 (tie)Yale University3135
5 (tie)Columbia University3235
8 (tie)University of Pennsylvania3134
11Dartmouth College3034
14Brown University3134
15Cornell University3034

Kristin breaks this down further for us, explaining what these scores mean. If you’re wondering about the relative “value” of the SAT vs. ACT in Ivy League admissions, she does a great job of explaining that, as well.

Final word? Remember that, when applying to the Ivies, it’s important for your whole application to, well, sparkle.

If you’re scoring slightly below the middle 50% for your dream Ivy, it’s worth putting in the time to pull it up. Maximize those chances!

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

Pre-ACT Score Range

As a freshman or sophomore, you may be in one of several scenarios regarding the ACT, the Pre-ACT, and the ACT Aspire. Let’s take a look at what these might be:

  1. You’ve decided to forego the Pre-ACT and ACT Aspire tests in favor of the ACT;
  2. You’re taking both the Pre-ACT and the ACT Aspire;
  3. You’re only taking the Pre-ACT;
  4. You’re only taking the ACT Aspire.

PreACT scores Aspire scores

Now, let’s go into these scenarios in greater detail.

Scenario 1

You’ve decided to forego the Pre-ACT and ACT Aspire tests in favor of the ACT.

I definitely don’t recommend useless extra testing, but if you’re offered the opportunity to take both these tests before the real ACT, it’s a good idea to do so.


You’re probably in tenth grade or younger, and most likely won’t have covered all the coursework that the ACT tests. By taking the Pre-ACT, you’ll be able to see the ACT range that you might hit, as well as areas that you can work on before the official test.

The 9th and 10th grade Aspire tests will also help you sharpen those test-taking skills. Colleges won’t see these scores, so it’s great to get a sense of your weaknesses under exam conditions before your official exam.

Scenarios 2-4

You’re taking both the Pre-ACT and the ACT Aspire, just the Pre-ACT, or just the ACT Aspire.

First of all, make sure you know exactly what you’re taking! Sophomores can take both tests, but they’re scored very differently.

Pre-ACT Scoring

The Pre-ACT is scored on the same 1-36 ACT score scale. This means that you can use the above guidelines to see approximately where you’re scoring within your peer group.

It also means that you can see exactly what you need to work on before taking the ACT to get your dream score. You can find out more about Pre-ACT scoring in “What Is a Good Pre-ACT Score?

ACT Aspire Scoring

On the other hand, the ACT Aspire uses “benchmark” scores in the triple-digits. Meeting the benchmark scores is one way to predict success in first-year college courses.

ACT Aspire does not use the same format or scoring as the ACT, but it can be really helpful to see where your scores are weaker and where they’re stronger, because guess what? The ACT Aspire tests the same subject areas as the official ACT.

ACT Aspire and ACT Score Predictions

And, in fact, the 9th and 10th-grade ACT Aspire test predict how you’ll do on the ACT in 11th grade in terms of the benchmark scores.

Wondering what those benchmarks are? We’ve broken it down for you below in the ACT score chart, and you can check out “What Is a Good ACT Aspire Score?” for more details.

ACT Aspire Benchmarks

SubjectGrade 9 Score RangeGrade 9 Benchmark ScoreGrade 10 Score RangeGrade 10 Benchmark Score

Data from Discover ACT Aspire.

Because we’ve been looking at general ACT scores, on the 1-36 scale, it can be helpful to have a rough conversion between the ACT Aspire and general ACT scores, as well. As always, we’ve got you covered!

ACT Aspire to ACT Score Conversion

ACT Aspire 9 ScoreProjected ACT ScoreACT Aspire 10 ScoreProjected ACT Score

Data from ACT Aspire: Predicted Scores.

If your Aspire or Pre-ACT scores aren’t where you’d like your ACT scores to be, don’t panic! You have plenty of time to make the leap to your dream score in the coming year or two. Just make sure you study intelligently! And on that note…

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

How to Improve Your ACT Test Scores

Whether you have a few years or a few days before you take the official ACT, several resources can really help you on your way!

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

Magoosh’s ACT Prep offers so many resources with which you can increase your score:

  • 200+ lesson videos
  • 700+ practice questions with video explanations
  • up to 3 full-length practice tests
  • study schedules
  • mobile apps to help you learn key concepts
  • 4 point score guarantee
  • helpful email support from expert tutors

But that’s not even the best part!

By going through the Magoosh ACT Blog, you can also use these resources to make a study plan, get great advice, and get detailed practice questions and explanations from our experts.

If you’re looking for one-stop shopping for your ACT prep, this is it.

improve your act score with magoosh prep free trial

Magoosh’s ACT Mobile Apps

I know that your phone never leaves your side. So, why not adapt your prep to your lifestyle by studying on your Android or iPhone? We offer two free mobile apps to accompany your prep:

magoosh act mobile apps

ACT Practice Test

Even if your test is this weekend, it’s a really good idea to familiarize yourself with the test format and question types you’ll see. This will allow you to spend time actually answering questions, rather than figuring out what you’re supposed to do, during the test! Magoosh even offers a free, printable ACT Practice Test with over 200 of our student-tested ACT questions, as well as answers and explanations.

ACT practice test pdf

And if you’re just beginning your prep, this is still the best place to start. Once you’ve taken the test, you can analyze which areas need the most improvement and then strategize your study plan.

Finally, keep in mind that if you take the ACT in December, April, or June, you have the option of signing up for the Test Information Release service, which will provide you with a copy of the test questions, your answers, and the answer key. This can provide you with an incredible amount of information to help you prepare to do better on a retake.

A Final Word: What IS a Good ACT Score?

So what IS a good ACT score? It’s the score you’re happy with, because it’s the score that will take you where you want to go.

Whew! Good job, guys. As a reward for sticking it out and filling your head with all kinds of useful ACT information, check out how your ACT scores compare to those of famous people, and get the definitive answer to those eternal questions: Are you more of a Barack Obama or a Marilyn Monroe? Peyton Manning or Sonia Sotomayor? Now you’ll know.

You can also take our diagnostic quiz to find out how prepared you really are for the ACT… 🙂

Go back to the top of our ACT scores post.

Quiz: How Will You Score on the ACT?

Wondering how well you would perform on the ACT if you were to take it today?

At the start of your ACT prep journey, it’s important to establish a baseline—that way, you know how much you need to improve before test day and you have a way to measure how well all your studying has paid off.

The absolute BEST way to measure how prepared you are for the ACT is to take a timed, full-length practice test and see how well you score under test-like conditions. But, since you probably don’t have 3-4 hours to spare right this minute, let’s start with a 12-question quiz.

Quiz Starts Here:

This quiz has one page for each ACT test (4 total): English, math, reading & science. Each section has 3 questions: 1 easy, 1 medium & 1 hard (in that order).

This quiz will take about 10-20 minutes to complete, so grab some scratch paper and a calculator, and do your best!

  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science



In the passage below, some some phrases are numbered and underlined. Read the passage, then find the alternative to the underlined phrase that best improves the sentence (by best stating the idea, making the statement grammatically correct, or improving the style and consistency of the passage). If you think the original version is best, select “NO CHANGE.”

The Origins of Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola history began in 1886 when the curiosity of an Atlanta pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton, led him to create a distinctive tasting soft drink that could be sold at soda fountains. [1] He created a flavored syrup and took it to his neighborhood pharmacy, where it was mixed with carbonated water and deemed “excellent” by those whom have sampled it. [2] Dr. Pemberton’s partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, is credited with naming the beverage “Coca‑Cola” as well as creating the design of the trademarked, distinctive script that is still used today. The first servings of Coca‑Cola were sold for 5 cents per glass. During the first year, sales initially averaged a modest nine servings per day in Atlanta. Today, daily servings of Coca‑Cola beverages are estimated at 1.9 billion globally.

[3] In 1888, Dr. Pemberton sold portions of his business to various parties, just two years after creating what was to become the world’s #1-selling sparkling beverage however only a few years before his death. The majority of the interest was sold to Atlanta businessman, Asa G. Candler. Under Mr. Candler’s leadership, distribution of Coca‑Cola expanded to soda fountains beyond Atlanta. In 1894, impressed by the growing demand for Coca‑Cola and the desire to make the beverage portable, Joseph Biedenharn installed bottling machinery in the rear of his Mississippi soda fountain, becoming the first to put Coca‑Cola in bottles. The three entrepreneurs purchased the bottling rights from Asa Candler for just $1. Benjamin Thomas, Joseph Whitehead and John Lupton developed what became the Coca‑Cola worldwide bottling system. Large scale bottling was made possible just five years later, when in 1899, three enterprising businessmen in Chattanooga, Tennessee secured exclusive rights to bottle and sell Coca‑Cola.

This passage was adapted from “Coca-Cola History.”


He created a flavored syrup and took it to his neighborhood pharmacy, where it was mixed with carbonated water and deemed “excellent” by those whom have sampled it.


Dr. Pemberton’s partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, is credited with naming the beverage “Coca‑Cola” as well as creating the design of the trademarked, distinctive script that is still used today.


In 1888, Dr. Pemberton sold portions of his business to various parties, just two years after creating what was to become the world’s #1-selling sparkling beverage however only a few years before his death.


End of Quiz

ACT diagnostic quiz

If your results don’t match your expectations, remember that it is definitely absolutely 100% possible to boost your score before the official exam! It’ll just take some dedicated prep time, some good materials, and a solid plan. Sign up for a free 7-day trial of Magoosh ACT prep to get access to over 200 lesson videos, 700 practice questions, and 3 full-length practice tests.

On the other hand, if your results reflect where you want to be, that’s a great start! But keep in mind that there are a lot of variables that can affect your test score.

Taking a few full-length practice tests before the official ACT exam, reviewing your answers, and studying your weak areas, will ensure that you get the score you want when you sit down to take the real ACT.

About Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel is a High School and Graduate Exams blogger at Magoosh. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and a PhD from University College London. She has taught test preparation and consulted on admissions practices for over eight years. Currently, Rachel divides her time between the US and London. Follow Rachel on Twitter, or learn more about her writing here!

14 Responses to “ACT Score Range: What is a Good ACT Score?”

  1. christine Casaburro says:

    my son is in 7th grade and took the ACT in April
    he scored 14 reading, 18 math, 15 science,
    18 english
    would you consider that is good for his grade.
    From my understanding the reading score was 
    a little low.

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Because your son is still two years away from high school, these are reasonably good scores for early ACT practice. Still, you are right that it may be a good idea for your son to work on his ACT Reading skills as he gets older and heads into high school.

      It’s also worth noticing that his ACT Science score was just one point higher than Reading. Science is also heavy on Reading Comprehension, with an emphasis on “visual literacy,” the reading of charts and tables. So your son may want to practice that kind of reading as well. (Right here on the blog, we have a tutorial for reading these kinds of ACT Science graphs and tables.)

  2. Daymi Oare says:

    Hi, I’m a junior in high school. I just recently took the ACT and I am wondering if my score was good or not considering my grade and future college applications. I got a 23 composite. 21 on math. 22 on science. 30 in English. 20 in reading. and 8 in writing. I would appreciate your insight.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Daymi,

      It is hard to determine whether a score is good or not because it depends on all kinds of factors, including your goals, desired schools, field of study, etc. You should look into some universities’ entry requirements and see how you stack up to places you might want to go. This will give you the best idea of how you’re doing! Of course, it is always helpful to strive for higher, because this could help you get scholarships, early admission, etc. If you have it in you to study for a retake, it won’t hurt. 🙂

  3. Bob says:

    Hi, I just finished my junior year and I got a 34 composite with 32 Englis 33 reading 35 math and 36 science. My dream school is MIT. Is it better to retake the test it leave it as is and focus on other things?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Bob,

      That’s a hard question! If you could get your composite score higher (by inching your English/Reading scores to 34+) you definitely add emphasis to your test abilities, but only you can really determine whether the rest of your applicant profile outweighs this or not. I would personally aim to both improve my ACT score and work on other aspects of my application. MIT is highly competitive, and any small adjustment you can make to your candidacy will play into the holistic impression they get of you as a hopeful! Good luck. 🙂

  4. Peyton says:

    As a Freshman, I took the ACT and scored a 27 composite. 25s in English and Math, 27 in Science and a 32 in Reading. Are these scores good enough to pique the interest of a
    Top 25 or Ivy League school? And should I consider taking the writing portion of the ACT as I haven’t before?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Peyton,

      If you are aiming for a Top 25/Ivy school, you will need to have a higher score than that as well as an impressive array of other factors (extracurriculars, leadership, etc.) to guarantee they consider you seriously. Whether you should take the writing portion depends on whether it is asked for AND whether you think you can do well on it. I would research your top schools’ admissions pages and see what specific guidance they have. 🙂

  5. Jonathen Becker says:

    Hi I’m in 7th grade just wondering what a good ACT score would be for me

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      Interesting question! The answer really depends on why you are taking the ACT. Many 7th graders take the ACT in order to participate in talent searches and enroll in programs for academically gifted students. If that is the case for you, then a “good” ACT scores is the one that qualifies you for these programs! Our website mainly focuses on taking the ACT for college, but this website has some good information about average ACT scores for these sorts of academic programs.

      If you want to take the ACT just to get a feel for the test and understand your personal strengths and weaknesses, then this ACT report might be helpful for you! It’s got some pretty complex statistics, but the most important thing to note here is that students who scored a 12 in 7th grade got the average ACT score (21) in their senior year. The students who scored 20 or higher in 7th grade earned a 30 or higher as seniors, and those who scored 28 or higher in 7th grade scored a 35 or higher as seniors. So, if you have an idea of what score you want as a senior, you can estimate your target score as a 7th grader! Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone, however; with practice and study, you can improve your ACT score beyond what this study says!

      You should keep your expectations realistic as a 7th grader; you probably haven’t learned everything that is on the ACT yet, so it’s unlikely that you will get a top score. However, if you take the time to learn about the test and learn from your mistakes, this can be a valuable learning opportunity for you!

  6. Sahil Kottal says:

    Hi, I just finished my junior year and I got a 33 composite with
    33 Englis 36 reading 25 math and 30 science.
    but my Weighted gpa is 3.6 . I am planning to major CS . How does my low GPA affect my admissions .

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Sahil,

      First, congrats on an excellent ACT score! The answer to this question really depends on the schools that you choose to apply to! We have a lot of information on our blog about the average test scores and gpa needed to get into top schools. As you decide where to apply, try to choose schools that fit your interests and study goals, and check out their rankings. Keep in mind that there is no perfect formula to get in to these schools. These numbers are averages, and there are plenty of people above and below them! Colleges take into account your tests scores, gpa, essays, letters of recommendation and other factors when determining whether or not to accept you. You should take your time to craft a strong application. Here are some tips on how to overcome potential weaknesses in your application:

  7. Smita Nayak says:


    I was just wondering if it’s possible to pair an ACT composite from one test date (ie, July) with an ACT writing score from a different test date (ie, December). I got a 33 composite on the July ACT (7/14) and a 12 on writing from the December ACT. I wanted to pair these together for college applications. Is this possible? Thanks in advance for the help!

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