Home / Blog / Act College Readiness Benchmarks

Act College Readiness Benchmarks


In this lesson, we’re going to explain the “College Readiness Benchmarks” that the ACT sets for each section of the exam. In particular, we’ll look at what the benchmarks can tell you about your potential success in college. Well also cover some important factors that the benchmarks cannot tell you.


The Benchmarks


ACT Test Section Benchmark Score Equivalent College Course
English 18 English Composition
Mathematics 22 Algebra
Reading 22 Social Sciences/Humanities
Science 23 Biology


ACT, Inc., the company which administers the ACT, does not include the Writing section in its main set of benchmarks. However, ATC, Inc. does cite “research to date” as pointing toward an overall Writing score of “7.” Accordingly, you should consider this score a “soft” indicator that you are capable of writing at the college level.


What the Benchmarks Can Tell You

The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are the minimum scores ACT, Inc. considers necessary to earn either Cs or Bs in equivalent first year college subjects. ACT, Inc. claims that meeting one of the benchmarks indicates a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C and a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B. For example, if you score a 22 in Reading, you stand a good chance of earning a B in a freshman literature class. At the very least, you will probably pass the course. If you take the Writing section and earn a 7 overall score, you most likely possess the skills necessary to write at the minimum level expected of college freshmen.


What the Benchmarks Cannot Tell You

The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks serve only as a predictor of how likely you are to succeed during your first year in college. The benchmarks are NOT:


An “average” score

A score in the 70th to 80th percentile range is either a 23 or a 24, depending on the test subject.


The scores you need to get into the colleges of your choice

You should check with the admissions offices of the colleges themselves for this important information.


A guarantee that you will do well in your freshman year

College courses require a much greater commitment of time and energy than most high school classes do. Diligent study habits and dedication to your coursework, both in and out of the classroom, will contribute to your collegiate success just as much as raw academic aptitude will, if not more so.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,