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What Are Good SAT or ACT Scores for Getting Into College?

Students usually worry about their standardized test scores being good enough for admission to college. Here's some expert advice on what score to aim for.

CX experts generic image David Recine
Test Prep Expert

Is there any way to tell if your SAT or ACT score is “good,” in a general sense? I’m happy to tell you there is. There are a few different ways to measure the goodness of your score. However, it's important to remember that "good" is ultimately a relative thing, and there's a little more to it. One measure of a good SAT or ACT score is your exam percentile, which shows how well you did compared to other test takers. To see how percentiles work and to find your percentile, check out these charts for ACT percentiles or SAT percentiles. If your score places you in the 75th percentile or better, you’ve got a pretty good score by the standards of most colleges and universities. But it’s also important to compare your scores to the test score standards for the specific colleges and universities you’re looking at…

SAT and ACT requirements at individual schools can vary a lot. You should look at the schools you’re considering applying to and see what the middle 25th–75th percentile is for the students they accept. This information is usually available on a given college’s website, though you can also ask your admission counselor if you have trouble finding it. There are also some tools to help you figure out what a good score is for your target schools. For example, the makers of the SAT have a college search tool that lets you look up universities by their SAT and ACT score requirements.

Help improve your test-taking abilities before your SAT or ACT test date with the articles and advice in our Test Prep section.

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