Is 12 a Good ACT Score?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a hand holding a pencil.

Is 12 a Good ACT Score?

The ACT is a standardized test that millions of high school seniors take every year in an attempt to improve their chances of being admitted to their desired school. Besides being used to measure their academic performance, the test also helps admissions officers identify potential students.

If you got a 12 ACT score, then you probably have a lot of questions about it. Whether it’s a good or bad score will determine your next step. Having a solid score will allow you to focus on other areas of your application, while a poor one could lead to you having to retake the exam.

One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to optimizing your ACT score is its effect on your college application. Having a high score can help you get into the schools that you want to attend. Although other factors can also be taken into account, admissions officers are still focused on this test score when making their decisions.

View of a student's hand holding a pencil.

In this article, we’ll talk about the 12 ACT score and what you should do next. We’ll also give you the necessary details about where to apply for the results and how to retake the test.

Is a 12 ACT score or below good?

A 12 ACT score is not a good sign for aspiring college students. It will prevent you from getting into the best schools in the country. Despite how well you felt you performed on the test, it’s still not enough to get into the top universities.

Not being able to get into the best schools due to a low score on the ACT is a huge setback for high schoolers. In order to succeed in college, you need to have the necessary skills to excel at difficult material. The ACT is precisely the gauge college admission officers use to determine whether or not a student is prepared to handle challenging courses.

Unfortunately, a 12 ACT score doesn’t suggest that you have these necessary skills. There are too many higher-performing students from which colleges can and will choose. Even if you’ve spent months preparing for the exam, the results will still be reflected in the admissions officers’ decisions.

A student writing on a piece of paper.

This is a difficult pill to swallow, but you shouldn’t let it overwhelm you. There are plenty of setbacks you’ve experienced thus far in the college application process, and there are more than likely many more you’ll experience in the future. It’s all about staying focused on your ultimate goal and doing what it takes to get there.

We’ve personally seen many students fail to achieve a strong score on the ACT the first time around, and then proceed to get a near-perfect score on their second or third attempt. That’s to say that this isn’t the end of the world.

What percentile is a 12 ACT score?

A 12 ACT places you in the 7th percentile. What does that mean exactly? Well, that means you scored higher than 7% of all other test takers. While that sounds like a good result, a 12 ACT and anything below is actually a fairly weak score. Admissions officers are looking for the best of the best, especially when it comes to highly selective schools such as the Ivy League or Top 10 universities.

Think about how easy it is to sign up for the ACT, take the test, and submit an application to a college. There’s only a small little barrier of entry for performing these rudimentary steps. Just think of the sheer number of people who take the ACT every year.

When considering these aspects, it’s easier to understand why a 12 ACT score isn’t going to cut it when applying to the universities of your dreams. Outperforming all test takers simply isn’t good enough. You have to score better than the best in order to get into the top schools in the country.

Group of students taking an exam.


The ACT is such a reliable determination of an applicant’s ability to perform in college-level courses because of the material on the exam and the types of questions asked. This is why the ACT along with the SAT has become such a crucial metric for their admissions processes.

The results are clear. Strong scores indicate that a student will exceed in college while average and poor scores suggest an applicant might just get by or struggle in college. Admissions officers will always opt for the highest performers because they’re in charge of finding good matches for colleges.

Yes, there are several other components that admissions officers take into account when determining which students get accepted. However, few are as objective as the ACT which makes it a quick way for colleges to weed out the weaker performers.

Do you need to retake the ACT with a 12 score or lower?

Yes, you should definitely retake the exam if you received a 12 ACT score or lower. This is a relatively weak score that will preclude you from getting into many colleges and universities in the country. If you took the ACT far enough in advance, you should have more than enough time to prepare and retake it.

Luckily, there are plenty of locations administering the ACT at various times throughout the week, making it easy to find another test slot that works best for you. Before you jump back into taking the ACT, it’s important to prepare yourself in order to receive a higher score than last time.

A female student taking an exam.

The good news is that most participants receive their highest score during their second try. You’ll have more time to prepare yourself, you’ll be familiar with the test flow, and you’ll know what areas you should improve upon.

What should you do next?

After having gotten a 12 ACT score, it’s clear the result isn’t ideal. It can affect your chances of getting into the schools that you want to study. Now, it’s up to you to take the necessary steps to take to improve your score. But, before you go about actively trying to prepare for the test, there are some things you should do.

Go easy on yourself.

It’s hard to lower results than you were expecting, especially since you spent a lot of time and energy preparing for the test. However, even though a 12 ACT score isn’t great, it shouldn’t cause you to be too hard on yourself. Instead, try to focus on the positive of the situation: having another chance to score as high as you can.

An unidentified student writing in a piece of paper

Take a break if needed.

If you’re feeling like you need a break from the stressful process of preparing for the ACT, then it’s important that you take a break from the test to recharge and re-enter the swing of things. Although it’s important to take the test early, it’s also possible to avoid getting caught up in endless thoughts about it.

Gauge your initial effort.

When it comes to assessing your effort, honesty is important. The goal is to determine how hard it was to prepare for the ACT. If you didn’t study at all, then it’s clear that you need to improve your score in order to be successful in the schools that you want to study in. On the other hand, if you spent a lot of time preparing for the test, then it’s possible to identify the strategies that worked and which ones you should discard.

Pick a new test date.

The ACT is available in hundreds of different locations across the country, and it’s easy to find a time and a location that fits your schedule. However, it’s important to note that a new test should be scheduled as soon as possible to ensure that you have the necessary time to prepare. Just make sure to give yourself ample time to prepare between now and when you schedule the test.

Prepare yourself to retake it.

After receiving a 12 ACT on the first go around, it’s time to start preparing for this standardized test once again. Even though a 12 ACT score is a good indication that you need to improve in order to be successful in the schools that you want to study in, it’s still important to devise an effective strategy that will help you improve. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the strategies that will help improve your score on the next test.

How to improve your ACT score?

Take practice exams.

There are plenty of resources online that promise to help you prepare for the ACT, but practice exams are more effective than the materials that most of the materials you can find on the Internet. By taking practice exams, you’re able to replicate the conditions of the ACT, which can greatly affect your performance.

There are various sample tests that are available online and in textbooks. However, it’s important to note that these practice tests should be taken as closely as possible to the real thing to replicate the actual conditions of the test. That means eliminating distractions, avoiding food and drinks, and setting timers.

Boost your vocab.

Most students underestimate the importance of vocabulary in the ACT exam. Without the proper knowledge of a tough word’s definition, it can make it hard to answer the questions correctly. One of the most effective ways to improve your vocabulary is by searching for ACT vocabulary lists online. There, you’ll find numerous resources that are specifically designed to help you improve your knowledge of the various words that are included in the exam.

Answer EVERY question.

Just like the SAT, the ACT allows participants to guess without penalization. There’s a misconception that giving an answer that’s not correct on the ACT is better than giving an incorrect one. In reality, giving an incorrect answer doesn’t count against you.

Since the ACT is a multiple-choice format, there’s no reason to leave a blank question. Since the questions are designed to have a variety of possible answers, you have a 25% chance of getting the correct answer. Even if you can’t come up with a good guess, make sure that you don’t turn in the blank questions. You’re essentially giving up points otherwise.

Make a practice schedule.

One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to preparing for the ACT is having a consistent studying schedule. Having a set schedule can help you keep track of what you’re working on and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your efforts.

It’s important to note that taking up too much time away from your day can negatively affect your academic performance. So, you need to make a study plan that leaves enough time to get everything done that you need to both in and out of school. If you need to study for 30 minutes each day or set aside a few hours on the weekend, it’s completely up to you. Just make sure you’re studying enough.

Don’t think about your previous score.

It’s easy to let your previous score keep you down when it comes to preparing for the ACT. However, you should try your best to avoid it. It’s important to remember that taking the test again will not affect your admission status.

Since the ACT is a multiple-choice format, your highest score will be the one that admissions officers will consider when they review your application. There’s nothing to worry about, as long as you’re focused on improving your score. Just try to make the most of the next opportunity that you have. The 12 ACT score isn’t going to follow you around forever. You got this!

Take advantage of ACT material.

ACT, the nonprofit in charge of creating and administering the standardized test by the same name, has several resources on its site to help students prepare for the ACT. You won’t find more official and accurate information anywhere else on the internet.

That’s not to say other resources aren’t helpful because they definitely are! It’s just that the official test designer will know more about the ACT than anybody else. Browse their site for just a few minutes and you’ll find more than enough material to keep you busy for days on end.

Scour the internet.

The internet is a treasure trove of helpful resources, tips, tools, and other handy things that can make your preparation for the ACT more successful and efficient. It’s nearly impossible to list all the available resources here because it’s literally endless.

Even a simple Google search for “the best ACT studying resources” will yield thousands upon thousands of results. Of course, you’ll have to do some due diligence to determine the efficacy and accuracy of each to determine what is actually helpful and what isn’t.

Still, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what kind of information is available online for free. Just make sure you don’t only rely on these resources. You should have a holistic and comprehensive course of action.

Work with a college admissions expert.

One of the most impactful ways to improve your ACT score is by working with a college admissions expert. This individual can help you identify areas of weakness that you can improve and provide you with the necessary strategies to boost your score.

At AdmissionSight, we’ve helped thousands of students improve their ACT scores and get into the country’s top universities. We’ll help you identify weak points and develop a personalized studying strategy for improving your ACT score. We’ll help you achieve your highest possible score.

Increase your chances of getting into the top schools.

Getting ready for college admissions can be a daunting process for many high school students. In addition to not knowing what to expect, many of them don’t have the necessary resources to prepare for the event. This is why it’s important to remember that it’s only a once-in-a-lifetime event and that everyone will feel the pressure.

Instead of entering this period of your life blind, it’s important that you have all the necessary resources and expertise to prepare for the event. This can be done through the help of college admissions experts. These individuals have extensive experience in the admissions process and can help students navigate it.

Over the years, at AdmissionSight, we’ve helped thousands of high school students successfully navigate the college admissions process. In almost 70% of our cases, our students end up getting into a Top 10 university. No matter where they want to attend, our experts can help them reach their goals.

We provide a wide range of services to help high school students get the most out of their college admissions process. We’re happy to talk to you about how we can help.

We’ll be happy to talk to you about our services and how we can help. We’ll also set up a free consultation so that we can answer all of your questions.



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