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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 University3335
2Harvard University3335
3 (tie)Columbia University 3335
3 (tie)Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3436
3 (tie)Yale University 3335
6 (tie)Stanford University 3235
6 (tie)University of Chicago3335
8 University of Pennsylvania 3335
9 (tie)California Institute of Technology (Caltech)3536
9 (tie)Northwestern University3335
9 (tie)Johns Hopkins University 3335
12 Duke University3335
13Dartmouth College 3235
14 (tie)Brown University3335
14 (tie)Vanderbilt University 3335
16 (tie)Rice University 3335
16 (tie)Washington University in St. Louis 3335
18 Cornell University 3235
19 University of Notre Dame 3235
20University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 2734
21Emory University3134
22 University of California--Berkeley2834
23Georgetown 3135
24 (tie)University of Michigan at Ann Arbor3134
24 (tie)University of Southern California (USC)3134
26 (tie)Carnegie Mellon University3335
26 (tie)University of Virgina 3034
28 (tie)University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)2733
28 (tie)Wake Forest University3033
30 (tie)New York University (NYU)3034
30 (tie)Tufts University3234
30 (tie)University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)2533
30 (tie)University of Florida2833
34 University of Rochester3034
35 (tie)Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) 3134
35 (tie)Boston College3134
35 (tie)University of California, Irvine (UCI) NANA
35 (tie)University of California--San Diego2433
39 (tie)University of California, Davis (UC Davis)2531
39 (tie)College of William and Mary 3034
41Tulane University3133
42 (tie)Boston University 3034
42 (tie)Brandeis University3033
42 (tie)Case Western Reserve University3034
42 (tie)University of Texas, Austin (UT Austin)2733
42 (tie)University of Wisconsin Madison2732
47 (tie)University of Georgia2732
47 (tie)University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign2733
49 (tie)Lehigh University2933
49 (tie)Northeastern University3235
49 (tie)Pepperdine University2732
49 (tie)University of Miami 2932
53 (tie)Ohio State University2832
53 (tie)Purdue Univesity-West Lafayette2532
53 (tie)Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute2834
53 (tie)Santa Clara University2832
53 (tie)Villanova University3134
58 (tie)Florida State University2630
58 (tie)Syracuse University2630
58 (tie)University of Maryland--College Park2933
58 (tie)University of Washington2733
63 (tie)Pennsylvania State--University Park2530
63 (tie)Rutgers University2532
63 (tie)University of Connecticut2632
66 (tie)Fordham University2832
66 (tie)George Washington University2933
66 (tie)Loyola Marymount University2731
66 (tie)Southern Methodist University2933
66 (tie)Texas A&M University--College Station2631
66 (tie)University of Massachussetts-Amherst (UMass Amherst)2632
66 (tie)University of Minnesota--Twin Cities2631
66 (tie)Worcester Polytechnic Institute2933
74 (tie)Clemson 2732
74 (tie)Virginia Institute of Technology (Virginia Tech) 2531
76 (tie)American University2731
76 (tie)Baylor University2632
76 (tie)Indiana University--Bloomington2431
76 (tie)Yeshiva University2430
80 (tie)Brigham Young University--Provo2631
80 (tie)Gonzaga University2530
80 (tie)Howard University2227
80 (tie)Michigan State University2329
80 (tie)North Carolina State University--Raleigh2732
80 (tie)Stevens Institute of Technology3134
80 (tie)Texas Christian University2531
80 (tie)University of Denver2631
88 (tie)Binghamton University2932
88 (tie)Colorado School of Mines2733
88 (tie)Elon University2530
88 (tie)Marquette University2429
88 (tie)Stony Brook University (SUNY)2632
88 (tie)University at Buffalo2429
88 (tie)University of California--Riverside2430
88 (tie)University of Iowa2229
88 (tie)University of San Diego2631
97 (tie)Auburn University2531
97 (tie)University of Arizona2129
97 (tie)University of California--Merced1722
97 (tie)University of California--Santa Cruz2430
97 (tie)University of Delaware2430
97 (tie)University of Utah2229

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 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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