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For the four compulsory sections, the raw score is converted to a scaled score from 1-36. Your overall ACT score is the average of each of the four section scores and will also have a range of 1-36. The scaled scores allow for consideration of the difficulty of each test, as some tests might be harder than others. Therefore, you should also evaluate your score with respect to the percentile you fall under.

The essay score is provided separately. Your is scored by two different graders on a scale of 1-6 across four different domains, for a total score out of 12 in each domain. To obtain the overall essay score, the four domain scores are then averaged into a total score out of 12.

What's A Good ACT Score?

Standardized test scores are one of the first considerations college admissions committees have, meaning that your application to your dream school stands a far better chance if your scores are in the middle 50% (or higher) of that school’s admitted students’ scores.

Thus, if you intend to apply to a college in the United States, having a good ACT score is crucial for a successful application.

Well, what’s a ‘good score’ then? It really depends on what your goals are. The average ACT score in 2019 was 21 out of 36; but for top ivy league colleges the average is closer to a 33. You should set your ideal score based on your target colleges and the rest of your profile.

ACT Scores at Top Colleges

Here are the average ACT scores attained by successful candidates of the top universities/colleges in the United States.


College NameACT 25th PercentileACT 75th PercentileAcceptance Rate
Stanford University31355%
University of Southern California303317%
Harvard University32355%
Northeastern University313429%
University of Pennsylvania31359%
Cornell University313414%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology33358%
Rice University323515%
Columbia University32357%
Duke University313411%
Brown University31349%
University of California, Berkeley313417%

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