ACT Percentile

The scoring of ACT test is very confusing. At the very beginning you will get the four raw scores and sub scores for each of the four subjects. Then these raw scores will be turned into scaled scores and sub scores for each subject, and then the composite score will be taken out from the average of the four scaled scores. In the end each score will be assigned with percentile ranking.

What matters the most to the colleges and students is this ranking. The percentile ranking will be posted to you after 4 to 7 weeks from the date you appeared for the test. This is an indicator of your performance in the ACT test in comparison with the other students across the country who appeared for the ACT test along with you.

The most important percentile is the one which is given out for each of the four test sections and the one which is accompanied with the composite score. The  percentile scores will be displayed on your score card.

For instance if you have scored  74, it means that 73% of the total candidates who appeared for the test scored less than you and 26% of the candidates scored better than you or got the same score as you did. To figure out your class percentile , you should divide the class rank that you got with the size of your class, after that you should subtract the amount that you received from 100 %. To make the method of finding class percentile clearer, let us take up an example. Suppose your rank in the class is 6 and the size of the class is 30, then your class percentile will be 80 (1-6/30) which will be 43.

ACT College Entrance Percentile: Example

The percentile scores for college entrance are the most common way of selecting the candidates for the college programs. When the percentile ranking  for college admission is done the authorities take into consideration the scores of all the four test sections.

In 2007, approximately 1,300,599 candidates appeared for the ACT test. Let us have a look at the percentile scores that the candidates scored in that year. The score of 10 meant that the minimum percentile in 2007 was 24. Similarly, a score of 12 meant that the percentile was 2.34. In a few colleges the scores that the candidates attained was 13, and this meant that the percentile was 4.94.

Likewise, when the students’ score was 16, then their percentile was 25.19, it meant that the minimum scores that were acceptable were 17. In a few colleges minimum percentile that was taken into consideration was 47.11, which meant that the  score must have been 20. Similarly, a percentile of 74.71 meant that the score that was acceptable was 24. Where the percentile was 91.68 and 94.16, it meant that the scores were 28 and 29 respectively.

In colleges, where the cut-off percentile was 97.63, 98.67 and 99.37, it meant that the scores that were acceptable were 31, 32 and 33 respectively. Similarly, if the percentile in 2007 touched up to 99.98 or 99.99 then it can be assumed that the ACT score might have been 35 or 36.

The college authorities generally prefer to have a look at the percentile rather than the score. So let us have a look at the percentile, on an average. If your score is 12 then it means that your percentile will be 1. A score of 13 means that the percentile is 4, a score of 14 means that the percentile will be 8 and if your score is 15, then your percentile will be 13. A score of 16 states that your percentile will be 19.

If you attain a score of 17, then your percentile will turn out to be 26. Your percentile will be considered to be 34 when you will get a score of 18. A score of 19 will be equal to a percentile of 43 and a score of 20 will be equivalent to a percentile of 49.

The percentiles for the ACT test are around the above given interpretation, for any given chart.