What’s a Good ACT Score?

ACT Score Competitive Good ACT Composite English Science Math Reading

Not sure what a good ACT® score is? What’s a bad ACT score? Have no fear! Your Grockit experts are here! When setting your ACT® score goal, it’s always a good idea to look at the score averages for the schools to which you’re applying. There are helpful college profiles that include information about average scores, total enrollment, tuition, and financial aid. As you browse your college choices, you can keep the following in mind about your ACT® score:


Top Scores

These scores will put you in the top 10% of all test takers

ENGLISH: 29 – 36

MATH:  28 – 36

READING: 30 – 36

SCIENCE: 27 – 36

COMPOSITE: 28 – 36


Competitive Scores

These scores will put you in a highly competitive place in admissions (top 25% of all test takers)

ENGLISH: 24 – 28

MATH:  24 – 27

READING: 25 – 29

SCIENCE: 24 – 26

COMPOSITE: 24 – 27


Good Enough Scores

These good ACT scores put you ahead of the pack (50%+), but won’t be as advantageous when applying to highly competitive programs

ENGLISH: 20 – 23

MATH:  20 – 23

READING: 21 – 28

SCIENCE: 21 – 25

COMPOSITE: 20 – 26


Below Average Scores

These scores may be enough to get into a wide variety of college programs, but will be below average compared to the testing population

ENGLISH: 19 or lower

MATH:  19 or lower

READING: 20 or lower

SCIENCE: 20 or lower


Scoring Factors

The ACT® is scored on a 1 – 36 scale in each section in 1 point increments. The four multiple sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) will all have scores provided separately. This relatively small scale means that small improvements in your score can make a big difference in your percentile ranking (sometimes, a one point increase in your score can boost your percentile ranking by 5 points).

Remember that on the ACT®, you are NOT penalized for wrong answers. Understanding the scoring and knowing how to approach each section is important part of doing your best on test day.

Other Factors

Keep in mind that your ACT® score does not stand alone. Whether or not you are admitted to a college program (and whether or not you receive scholarship money) depends on several factors. In addition to focusing on getting the best ACT® score possible, you should also work on obtaining the best GPA possible, writing a spectacular personal statement, taking a challenging course load, and rounding out your application with extra-curriculars.

Laura Aitcheson

Not sure where you stand on the ACT®? Get your ACT® section score in under 15 minutes.

Laura Aitcheson Grockit Expert

Looking to improve your ACT® score? Practice at Grockit for free and see how you’d handle a wide variety of ACT® questions.




Geometry Review Notes Tips Angles

Geometry Review Notes: Angles

Whether you are studying for the ACT, SAT, GRE, or GMAT, you can count on the test makers to include some basic geometry questions. Test makers love to test your skills with angles, so it’s important to go back and review this topic thoroughly. To help you in your studying, we’ve put together this primer all about angles.


Let’s start with a basic definition of what an angle actually is:

An angle is formed by two lines or line segments intersecting at a point. The point of intersection is called the vertex of the angle. Angles are measured in degrees(°).


Types of Angles

Angles can come in all sizes, and we refer to them based on their size. An acute angle is an angle whose degree measures between 0° and 90°. A right angle is an angle whose degree measure is exactly 90°. An obtuse angle is an angle whose degree measure is between 90° and 180°. A straight angle is an angle whose degree measure is exactly 180° (half of a circle, which contains 360°).




Sum of Measures

The sum of the measures of the angles on one side of a straight line is 180°. The sum of the measures of the angles around a point is 360°. Two angles are supplementary if together they make up a straight angle, i.e., if the sum of their measures is 180°. Two angles are complementary if together they make up a right angle, i.e., if the sum of their measures is 90°.



Vertical Angles

Vertical angles are a pair of opposite angles formed by two intersecting line segments. At the point of intersection, two pairs of vertical angles are formed. Angles a and c below are vertical angles, as are b and d. The two angles in a pair of vertical angles have the same degree measure. In the diagram below, a = c and b = d. In other words, each angle is supplementary to each of its two adjacent angles.

If two parallel lines intersect with a third line (called a transversal), each of the parallel lines will intersect the third line at the same angle. In the figure below, a = e. Since a and e are equal, and c = a and e = g (vertical angles), we know that a = c = e = g. Similarly, b = d = f = h.



In summary,

When two parallel lines intersect with a third line, all acute angles formed are equal, all obtuse angles formed are equal, and any acute angle is supplementary to any obtuse angle.


ACT English Tips Organization Ideas

ACT English: Organization of Ideas

You’ve probably read this comment from your English teacher at least once in your educational career: “Interesting ideas, but lacks organization.” Well-executed prose, flowery descriptions, and complex, original theses will only get you so far. You have to help your reader along your argument by organizing your writing. On the ACT English, you’ll be asked to identify and fix the organization errors in a sample composition–that’s right, it’s your turn to play teacher.

Organization questions are divided into three types: sentence organization, paragraph organization, and passage organization. Just as expected, the larger the section of text you have to reorganize, the more information you have to understand. Sentence organization problems are essentially syntax questions disguised as rhetorical skills while passage organization problems require a thorough knowledge of the author’s argument and each paragraph’s function.


  • Sentence Organization

Sentence organization questions ask you to reorder a sentence to improve clarity. These questions will often test you on grammar rules like “misplaced modifiers.” Take a look at this example:

“John was still able to lead his team to victory, a feat he would forever be proud of, hindered by a sprained ankle.”

The underlined phrase would be placed most logically:

  1. Where it is now
  2. After the word “feat”
  3. After the word “John”
  4. After the word “lead”

This is how a typical sentence organization question will look. Again, the question seems to ask about organization, but really tests us on fundamental principles of sentence structure. The problem with the sentence as it stands is that the modifier “hindered by a sprained ankle” does not modify John as it should. In its current placement, it seems that John will only be proud of his feat while he is hindered by a sprained ankle, which doesn’t make any sense. I want to place the underlined portion so that it modifies John. I can either place it before or after John; C gives me the choice to place it after John, so C is the best answer.

  • Paragraph Organization

Passage Organization questions will ask you to reorganize sentences in a paragraph. You will have to look for cues to help you identify the order of the sentences; it is easiest to first identify which sentence would make the best topic sentence. Check out this sample question:

Dependent clauses, on the other hand, cannot stand alone as complete sentences.  In English, there are two types of clauses: independent clauses and dependent clauses. Independent clauses are complete ideas that can stand alone as complete sentences.

In the above paragraph, what is the best order of the sentences?

  1. As is
  2. 2-1-3
  3. 3-1-2
  4. 2-3-1

Each number signifies a specific sentence in the paragraph, and you must decide which order of sentences makes the most sense. First, I notice that the second sentence makes a good topic sentence because it introduces both independent and dependent clauses; it seems that the other two sentences describe what is introduced in this sentence. Knowing that sentence 2 should begin my paragraph, I can eliminate A and C. Next, I notice that sentence 1 uses the contradictory transition “on the other hand;” in order to use that phrase effectively, the sentence would have to follow a sentence that it could contradict. So, sentence 1 should go after sentence 3. My answer is D.

  • Passage Organization

Passage Organization questions will ask you to do one of two things: insert a sentence somewhere in the passage or move a paragraph to a different location in the passage. This question is a good example of what to expect on the ACT:

The writer intends to add the following sentence to emphasize the extent to which Agatha Christie’s life influenced her work:
“Most of Christie’s novels, in fact, draw on the locations in which she lived.”

This sentence should be placed at the end of:

A: Paragraph [2]

B: Paragraph [3]

C: Paragraph [4]

D: Paragraph [5]

My task here is simply to find the paragraph in the passage that mentions how Christie’s novels draw on locations where she lived. I scan the passage once again and find this paragraph:

“In 1930, Christie married archeologist Sir Max Mallowan and traveled with him to digs in the Middle East. While there, she spent a lot of time writing. .Desert settings and archaeological sites appear in many of her novels, including Murder in Mesopotamia and They Came to Baghad.”

Paragraph 4 describes how Christie’s novels were inspired by the geography of the Middle East, where she had traveled.  Our sentence would go perfectly at the end of this paragraph.

An effective strategy for passage organization is quickly skimming the passage and identifying the function of each paragraph; once you identify the main purpose and function of each paragraph, placing a sentence will be simpler.


SAT multiple choice strategy

What to expect on ACT test day

I’m sure you’re anxiously awaiting your chance to do your best on ACT test day. Here are some test-day specifics to keep in mind.

First, remember there are 4 parts to the ACT test:

Test Format

  • The English section is 45 minutes long and has 75 questions.
  • The Math section is 60 minutes long and has 60 multiple choice questions.
  • The Reading section is 35 minutes long and has 4 passages, each with 10 multiple choice questions.
  • The Science section is also 35 minutes long and has 40 multiple choice questions.

Clearly, you need all the time you can get since you can only devote one minute or less to each question, so make sure you know exactly what to expect on the test day.  This way, you won’t end up panicking because, say, you get to the test center at the wrong time, or you brought the wrong calculator or you did not have any breakfast because you thought you could bring food in.

The most important thing is to report no later than 8 a.m. to your test center.  Double check where your test center is the day before and that you have ample time to get there given traffic.  Before leaving the house, make sure that you have your admission ticket, your driver’s license or passport and a few sharpened #2 pencils and erasers.  Make sure you do not bring in only mechanical pencils or pens because they are not allowed. If you have been practicing the math section with a calculator, take the same calculator along.  Make sure that it is an approved calculator.

You are not allowed to bring food or drink (and this includes water) into the test center so make sure you have a decent breakfast before you leave the house.  Electronics are not allowed into the test center and you are not supposed to use your cellphones and other devices during the break either.  The break falls in the middle, after the first two tests.  The test will usually be over around 12:15 p.m. so, as impossible as it might seem, try to live without your smartphone for a few hours.

The ACT has an additional writing section that will be administered last.  If you opted to take the writing section, you will be given a short break after the 4 compulsory sections.  The writing test takes 30 minutes and the test should conclude by 1 p.m.

Other standard test behavior should be expected, such as not discussing the questions during the break or shading in ovals after time has been called on a certain section.  Even if you have finished a section ahead of time, you are not supposed to flip back to an earlier section to work and change your answers.  Neither can you look ahead to another section.  Your scores will be canceled if the proctors notice you doing so.

If you are prepared for the test, had a good night’s sleep, got to the test center with time to spare and remained calm and confident, you should be able to work through the test like it was just another practice test.  You’ll also  find it very helpful to print out some questions and work through them outside the test center or in the car while you are waiting.  That way, your brain will be all warmed up and ready to go on the actual test.

Previous: < How to study the week before the ACT

Night before the SAT

The Night Before the ACT: 5 Tips

The ACT is tomorrow and you may have already heard that you should NOT panic. In addition to focusing on remaining calm, you can add the following to your get-an-awesome-ACT-score to-do list:

  • 1. Don’t cram!

    You should not be studying any new material!  You can certainly review ACT math formulas you intend to use and recommended ACT approaches, but do not cram new information into your brain!

  • 2. Pack Your Bag!

    Even if you usually grab your things as you run out the door in the morning, the night before the ACT is different.  Have everything ready the night before so you can spend the next morning eating a healthy breakfast and reading a book or article to wake up your brain.  Follow the Official ACT checklist, which includes your admission ticket, two No. 2 pencils, an eraser, ACT-approved ID, and an ACT-approved calculator. They also recommend a watch, a bag or backpack, extra batteries for your calculator, a drink, and snacks.

  • 3. Check Test Center Info.

    Make sure you know where you’re going!  The morning of the ACT is not the time to figure out how long it’s going to take to travel to the testing center.  Also, make sure there aren’t any closings due to severe weather at the ACT Test Center Closings webpage.

  • 4. Set your alarms.

    Sure, one alarm is good, but why not set three?  You can use your phone, an alarm clock, and a helpful person or pet.  It’s hard to stay asleep if someone is dragging you out of bed by your toes.

  • 5. Sleep and eat well

    You don’t want to go to bed too early since staring at the ceiling won’t help, but you do want to get at least eight hours of sleep if possible.  Also, a healthy dinner and breakfast can help you feel your best.

Next: Top 5 ACT Reading Tips >

Laura Aitcheson

Laura lives in Chicago with a rescued chiweenie named Miss George who is still angry that they left the warm climate of Miami in 2013. As Grockit’s Customer Service, Operations, & Data Manager, Laura utilizes her Masters in Library and Information Science from Florida State University to connect users with the relevant information, strategies, and tips they seek. Laura was awarded with Kaplan’s Teacher Excellence award in 2010 for her excellence in teaching and student feedback.  Laura also focuses on raising money for breast cancer research, a passion that began in 2002 when she participated in Avon’s 3-Day 60-Mile Walk. When she’s not out walking, you can find her writing blog posts, tweeting, or trying to convince Miss George to wear a sweater.

Laura AitchesonGrockit Expert
ACT Score Predictor Section Composite English Math Reading Science

ACT Score Predictor: What is your ACT Score?

Find out your ACT score in under 15 minutes with a quick 12-question quiz. Do you have a competitive ACT score? An elite ACT score? or just a beginner ACT score? We’ve drawn questions from all topics of the ACT, including English, Science, Math and Reading skills.

The ACT is very predictable. You’d think the test makers would get bored after a while, but they don’t. The same kinds of questions, testing the same skills and concepts, appear every time the ACT is given. The exception to this rule is the optional Writing test. But don’t worry: we’ve got articles that will help you master this portion of the exam should you decide to take it.

Because the test specifications rarely change, you should know in advance what to expect on every subject test. Just a little familiarity with the directions and common question types can make an enormous difference.


What does your ACT Score mean?

Your ACT score is not merely the sum total of questions you get right. That would be too simple. Instead, the test makers add up all of your correct answers to get what they call a “raw” score. Then they put that raw score into a very large computer, which proceeds to shake, rattle, smoke, and wheeze before spitting out an official score at the other end. That score—which has been put through what they call a scoring formula—is your “scaled” score.

ACT scaled scores range from 1 to 36. Nearly half of all test takers score within a much narrower range: 17 to 23. Tests at different dates vary slightly, but the following data are based on a recent administration of the test and can be considered typical:

Percentage of ACT takers scoring at or below given score from www. actstudent.org.
Percentile RankScaled (or Composite) ScoreApproximate Percentage Correct


To earn a score of 21 (the 2010 national average), you need to answer only about 53 percent of the questions correctly. On most tests, getting only a bit more than half the questions right would be terrible. Not so on the ACT. That fact alone should ease some of your anxiety about how hard this test is. You can miss several ACT questions and still get a good score. Nobody expects you to get all of the questions right.


Next: The Top 5 Tips to Improve Your ACT Score >

ACT Test Day Strategies Tips

How to Take the ACT (The Right Way!)

Wondering how to take the ACT like a champion? You’ve known about the ACT for years, you’ve worried about it for months, and now you’ve spent at least a few hours in solid preparation for it. As the test gets closer, you may find your anxiety is on the rise. But you really shouldn’t worry.  To calm any pre-test jitters you may have (and assuming you’ve left yourself at least some breathing time before your ACT), let’s go over a few last-minute tips:


The Night Before the ACT

Get together an “ACT survival kit” containing the following items:

  • A calculator
  • A watch
  • At least three sharpened No. 2 pencils
  • A pencil sharpener
  • Two erasers
  • Photo ID card
  • Your admission ticket
  • A snack—there’s a break, and you’ll probably get hungry

Take It Easy

Don’t study the night before the test. Relax!

Know exactly where you’re going and how you’re getting there. It’s probably a good idea to visit your test center sometime before test day, so that you know what to expect on the big day.

Read a good book, take a bubble bath, watch TV. Exercise can be a good idea early in the afternoon. Working out makes it easier to sleep when you’re nervous, and it also makes many people feel better.

Get a good night’s sleep. Go to bed early and allow for some extra time to get ready in the morning.


The Morning of the ACT

  • Dress in layers so that you can adjust to the temperature of the test room.
  • Eat breakfast. Make it something substantial, but not anything too heavy or greasy. Don’t drink a lot of coffee if you’re not used to it; bathroom breaks cut into your time, and too much caffeine—or any other kind of drug—is a bad idea.
  • Read something. Warm up your brain with a newspaper or a magazine. Don’t let the ACT be the first thing you read that day.
  • Be sure to get there early. Allow yourself extra time for traffic, mass-transit delays, and any other possible problems. If you can, go to the test with a friend (even if he or she isn’t taking the test). It’s nice to have somebody supporting you right up to the last minute.

During the ACT

Don’t get rattled. If you find your confidence slipping, remind yourself that you know the test; you know the strategies; you know the material tested. You’re in great shape, as long as you relax!

Even if something goes really wrong, don’t panic. If the test booklet is defective, try to stay calm. Raise your hand, and tell the proctor you need a new book. If you accidentally misgrid your answer page or put the answers in the wrong section, again don’t panic. Raise your hand, and tell the proctor. He or she might be able to arrange for you to re-grid your test after it’s over, when it won’t cost you any time.

After the ACT

Once the test is over, put it out of your mind. If you don’t plan to take the ACT again, shelve this book and start thinking about more interesting things.

You might walk out of the ACT thinking that you blew it. This is a normal reaction. Lots of people—even the highest scorers—feel that way. You tend to remember the questions that stumped you, not the many that you knew.

If you really did blow the test, you can take it again and no admissions officer will be the wiser. Odds are, though, you didn’t really blow it. Most people only remember their disasters on the test; they don’t remember the numerous small victories that kept piling up the points. And no test experience is going to be perfect. If you were distracted by the proctor’s hacking cough this time around, next time you may be even more distracted by construction noise, or a cold, or the hideous lime-green sweater of the person sitting in front of you.

Canceling Your Score

Don’t cancel your score unless you have a good, solid reason. But if you have a good reason, do it.

Finishing the ACT is an accomplishment. Celebrate!


SAT ACT Prep Grammar English Writing

Quiz: 10 Commonly Misused Words

Sometimes the right way to say something is not a matter of grammar but rather of idiom: an accepted, set phrase or usage that’s right for no other reason than that’s just the way we say it. Test yourself on some of the most common errors and then check out the explanations below.

Click to hide the explanations!


1. Accept/Except

To accept is to willingly receive; to except is to omit or exclude.

A student may be accepted by a college because, if you except a failing grade in one or two courses, his academic record is excellent.

(note: Except is usually used as a preposition meaning “with the exception of.” in many states, stores are open every day except sunday.)

2. Adapt/Adopt

To adapt is to change something to make it suitable for a certain purpose; to adopt is to make something one’s own.

William Faulkner adapted Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not for the movies.

The Allan family adopted Edgar Poe as a child.

3. Affect/Effect

As verbs, to affect is to influence or change; to effect is to cause or to make (something) happen.

A lack of rainfall usually affects the size of a harvest.

Penicillin effects a rapid recovery in most patients with bacterial infections.

(note: Effect is most commonly used as a noun meaning “influence.” Illegible signs on a road have a bad effect on safety.)

4. Allusion/Delusion/Illusion

Allusion is an indirect reference; a delusion is something that is falsely believed; an illusion is a false, misleading, or deceptive appearance.

Someone who fills his talk with allusions to literature and art to create the illusion that he is very learned may have delusions of grandeur.

5. Among/Between

In most cases, you should use between for two items and among for more than two. There are exceptions, however; among tends to be used for less definite or less exact relationships.

The competition between Obama and McCain grew intense.

He is always at his best among strangers.

BUT: Plant the trees in the area between the road, the wall, and the fence.

6. Amount/Number

Amount should be used to refer to a singular or noncountable word, and number should be used to refer to a plural or countable word.

The amount of money he carried in his pocket would feed a substantial number of people.

7. Fewer/Less

Use fewer before a plural noun; use less before a singular one.

There are fewer apples on this tree than there were last year.

A politician earns less money than an executive in the private sector does.

8. Like/As

Like is a preposition; it introduces a phrase. As, when functioning as a conjunction, introduces a subordinate clause.

Jenny Lind was said to sing like a nightingale.

Jenny Lind was said to sing as a nightingale sings.

BTW: as . . . as

The idiom is as . . . as.
That suit is as expensive as (not than) this one.

9. Assure/Ensure/Insure

To ensure is to make certain, safe, or secure; to insure is to provide for financial payment in case of loss; to assure is to inform positively.

He assured his children that he had insured his life to ensure that they would not suffer poverty if he died.

10. Beside/Besides

Beside means “next to” something; besides means “in addition to.”

The president sat beside the Japanese prime minister at the banquet.

Besides the team, reporters often frequent the locker room.

Study Week before the ACT

The Week Before: ACT Cram Plan

Even if you don’t have a lot of time to study one week before the ACT, there is still plenty that you can do! Let’s take a look at an ACT Cram plan to raise your score in these last 7 days.

ACT Cram Plan, Step 1: Find out your current score.

At Grockit, we have a series of 15-minute ACT diagnostics to give you an initial sense of where your strengths and weaknesses lie on the exam. To conveniently determine your current ACT skill level, follow these steps:

1. Register free at grockit.com

2. Take a diagnostic for each test section (after you register… otherwise these links won’t work):

ACT Cram Plan, Step 2: Review your results!

Your “Skill Data” not only provides a score prediction, but also valuable feedback that is specific to each section.

ACT Cram Plan, Step 3: Boost your score with targeted practice

Focus on the areas of the exam where you can get the most out of your remaining time. Review study guides and videos for English, Math, Science, and Reading.

Answer questions! Open a book or create a customized practice session at Grockit. Choose “Customize difficulty and specific skills” and change the difficulty setting and the content areas to pinpoint what you’d like to study. If you’d like to do solo practice, set the custom game “player limit” to “1″ or leave it open if you’d like to allow others to join.  You can either play immediately or schedule the game for later.

ACT Cram Plan, Step 4: Review the questions you answered incorrectly

When you take the time to read through the answers and explanations for the questions that were challenging, you can figure out how you are plan to get those points going forward.

ACT Cram Plan, Step 5: Don’t panic!

While the ACT may not be your favorite activity on a Saturday morning (or any other time), keep in mind that it is just a test.  It doesn’t have teeth, so it’s unlikely to bite you.  Arrive feeling confident and you just may find your test booklet sliding away from you, intimidated by your academic prowess.  In short, go get those points!

Next: What to expect on ACT test day >

ACT Geometry Triangles

ACT Geometry: Properties of Triangles

If geometry questions are giving you a little trouble, it’s best to start with the basics. In order to improve your score on the ACT , you just need to know your basic operations and a few key concepts. Triangles is the most important geometric concept, because almost every single geometry question has something to do with triangles. Once you get more comfortable with triangles, and learn them inside and out, they will become your favorite shape.

Here are just a couple of helpful facts about triangles that will prepare you for a good portion of the questions on the ACT .

1. Every single triangle contains three angles. These three angles always add up to 180º. This is true for right triangles, equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles, acute triangles, obtuse triangles and any other kind you can think of.

2. The sum of two sides of a triangle will ALWAYS be greater than the third side. Let’s say that you have a triangle and they only give you two of the three sides. You are given 4 and 4. We know that the remaining side MUST be less than 8. You can look at your answer choices and cross out anything that is 8 or greater.

3. The difference of two sides of a triangle will ALWAYS be less than the third side. This is an extension of the second fact. Using the same example, we are given a triangle with sides 4 and 4. The difference being 4-4 = 0. We know that the third side is greater than 0 and less than 8. Knowing this, we can head towards the correct answer.

Need more ACT math practice? Try this coordinate geometry question and see if you’re ready for test day.

4. There are several angle-side relationships that should be memorized.

– If two sides of a triangle are equal, then their opposite angles will be equal as well.

– The shortest side of a triangle is opposite the smallest angle.

– The longest side of a triangle is opposite the largest angle.

With these 4 facts, the hazy scope of the ACT math section can be cleared up and you will be able to find the answers to almost all geometry questions with these in mind.