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How To Get a Perfect ACT Score?

Colleges are becoming increasingly selective, and it is getting increasingly more difficult for seniors to stand out among a sea of other applicants competing for limited spots.

In addition to having stellar recommendation letters, leadership roles in extracurricular activities, and a high GPA, one of the best ways for you to turn heads and get admissions officers to pay attention to your application is to earn a perfect ACT score.

If you earn a perfect 36 on the ACT, you will be in the 99th percentile on the test- meaning that you outscored 99% of students who took the test. 

Although this might seem unlikely or even impossible, it is not as hard to get a perfect score on the ACT as you may think.

This guide will give you some key tips you need to know if you want to ace the ACT.

Start preparing early

You are not likely to earn a perfect ACT score if you wait until a month or two before the test to begin studying.

Students who score within the 99th percentile have study plans that span 3, 6, or even 9 months.

To determine when they need to start studying, students often take practice tests and see how far away they are from their goal score.

As a rule of thumb, for every point they need to increase, students should spend 10 hours studying for the test. 

Keep this in mind for your specific goal: If you score a 26 on a practice test, you will need to study for 100 hours if you want a chance at a perfect score. If you score a 32, you’ll need to study for 40 hours.

Most students aim to study for only one or two hours a day to prepare for the test, so unless you have a score in the high 30s, you will need a couple of months to try to boost your score.

Don’t procrastinate and ruin your chances of getting a perfect 36 on the test, start preparing sooner rather than later.

Identify your weaknesses

To get a perfect score on the ACT, you have to eliminate all of your weaknesses on the test. Before you can get rid of your weaknesses, you need to be able to identify them.

Taking two practice tests under different conditions can help you identify your weaknesses on the test.

First, take an official practice test under the same conditions you will experience on test day. Adhere to the time limits set for each section of the test, and follow all of the instructions exactly.

On a different day, take another official practice test, but this time allow yourself all the time you need to answer each question and review your work.

Once you have taken both tests (because they are so long, I recommend taking them on separate days), calculate your scores. 

If you earned a high or even a perfect score on the second test, but a low score on the first, chances are that time management is one of your weaknesses.

If you earned a less than satisfactory score on both tests, this means that time is less of an issue than your understanding of the test material.

Your scores will also let you know which specific sections of the test are weak areas for you. Pay attention to the types of questions you miss and the test sections where you made the most mistakes.

Once you’ve done this, you can make a list of the specific weaknesses you need to address before test day.


While every student knows the value of taking practice quizzes and answering practice questions, many students don’t realize that reviewing their answers on these practice resources is just as important.

When they get practice questions wrong, many students are tempted to say things like “Oh, I knew that one,”  “That was just a dumb mistake,” or “I had that answer, but I changed it at the last second. I knew I should have gone with my gut.”

Even if these statements are true, they are ultimately just excuses that test takers make to explain or justify their mistakes.

The problem with statements like these is that it keeps students from reviewing material they don’t know.

It doesn’t matter if you feel like you knew the correct answer. The one you chose was wrong.  It doesn’t matter if you just made a careless mistake. You don’t want to make those kinds of mistakes on the actual test. It doesn’t matter if you were originally going to select the correct answer. Something made you change your mind and choose an incorrect answer.

If you want to get a perfect score on the ACT- say goodbye to these excuses and hello to review. 

For each question you miss on an ACT practice test, you need to spend time reviewing your mistake.

In a notebook, write out the following:

  • The question you missed and any related details
  • The correct answer
  • Why that correct answer is the only possible answer for the question

Reviewing your mistakes is the only way to learn from them and the only way to prevent yourself from making them again on test day.

Over time, you will have completed enough practice problems that you will know how to tackle every single kind of question you will see on the test.

If you want to ace the ACT, you can’t gloss over any errors you make when you practice. You need to take the time to review your incorrect answers thoroughly. 

Learn tips and tricks for the ACT

In addition to addressing your weaknesses and reviewing each of your mistakes, you will also want to know strategies that will help you get a perfect score on the ACT.

Study key ACT strategies for the test as a whole and for each individual section. When you know  how to answer questions out of order, memorize key grammar rules, write more than a page for your essay, and other important tips, you will be able to navigate the test with ease.

Get help from experts

Even the greatest athletes and musicians have coaches. If you want your performance on the ACT to be perfect, it’s a good idea to learn from someone who has already accomplished the goal you’re trying to achieve.

Hiring an experienced private tutor or taking a reputable ACT prep course with an expert instructor will help you gain the knowledge and practice you need to ace the SAT.

Private tutoring

Private tutoring is beneficial because it will give you the one-on-one attention you need to work on any weaknesses, further improve your strengths, and learn the strategies that will work best for you on the ACT.

You’ll be able to move at your own pace and work with an expert until you are able to consistently earn a perfect score when you take practice tests.

ACT prep courses

ACT prep courses will help you master the content that is covered on the ACT and teach you essential strategies that will help you reach your test taking goal. These classes are led by experts who know everything there is to know about the test, giving you an advantage as you study and prepare for the test.

Using both private tutoring and ACT prep courses will significantly improve your chances of getting a perfect score on the ACT.

See how the experienced instructors and tutors at Prep Expert can help you earn a perfect score on the ACT when you contact us today.

Prep Expert

Written by Prep Expert

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