What Is a Good PreACT Score?

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Ready to start preparing for the PreACT? We’re with you—the PreACT is a great way to start your ACT prep. (Read our complete PreACT guide to learn more.) So what is a good PreACT score? Because it’s scored on the same scale as the ACT, we can infer that average scores will hover around 21. Anything above average will start to distinguish you from the pack. The higher you go, the more distinguished you’ll be.

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How Does Scoring on the PreACT Work?

It’s great news that scoring on the PreACT is nearly identical to scoring on the ACT itself: 1-36 overall, with subsections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) also graded between 1-36. Why is this good news, you might ask? Well, in the first place, it prepares you for taking the ACT in a year or two; you’ll know what to expect. While your PreACT scores don’t exactly predict your ACT scores—you can definitely still boost them before the big test day!—they do give you an idea of the areas that you should be working on before you go into the ACT, and help you focus on those.

No, But Really: What is a Good PreACT Score?

Sigh. Okay, let’s break this down. What a good PreACT score is will depend on two big factors: Where do you live? And where do you want to go?

Scores by State

To a certain extent, your scores are judged in comparison to those of your peers. Why is where you live important? Most colleges evaluate their admissions pools geographically: in-state and out-of-state, by region, etc. In some states, average ACT scores are higher; in others, they’re lower. PreACT scores mirror this pattern. Depending on where you live, average scores may be between 19 and 22, going as high as 24 in certain states, like Massachusetts.

Scores by School

A good ACT score for Yale will not necessarily be the same as a good ACT score for less competitive schools. None of these schools will take your PreACT score into consideration during the admissions process, though this score can tell you how much work you’ll have to do before taking the ACT to get the score you want for these schools.

Looking at admissions rates can help to determine selectivity. At most of the Ivies, you’re looking at acceptance rates of less than 10%, meaning that you probably want your scores to be in the top tenth percentile. Caveat: this is not an exact correlation by any means, but it does help to get a general ballpark number. In 2015-2016, this was a 28 (composite), but really, average scores from admitted students will show the higher you can get that score, the better (think 33+). The 90th percentile in the Reading section, for example, starts at 31—pretty high! Again, remember that this is the PreACT (you’re in 10th grade after all!) If you score in the high-20s or low-30s on the PreACT, you’re in good shape for an ACT score that will fly with highly competitive schools after some prep.

A Final Note

With all of that said, though, remember: a good score on the PreACT is the score that helps you–the score that inspires and encourages you to study what you need to in order to get the score you want to on the ACT and add another plus to your admissions file. Good luck as you go forth, PreACT test takers!

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  • Rachel Kapelke-Dale

    Rachel is a Magoosh Content Creator. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS, is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin's Press, while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

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