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CTY ACT Score Requirements

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You've decided that you want to take part in the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. Good for you!

Having made this decision, however, you probably have some questions about test score requirements—do you have to take the ACT in order to apply for CTY or its programs? What does taking the ACT qualify you for, and how well do you have to do on it?

I'll answer all of these questions for you in this article. Now, read on...

 

Do I have to take the ACT to take part in CTY at JHU?

Short answer: no.  You don’t have to take the ACT in order to qualify for CTY! CTY has multiple testing options for students between grades 2 and 12. Here are the exams you can take, based on your age, in order to qualify to participate in CTY and JHU: 


Note:
A remote version of the SCAT is available online for students who can't or would rather not take an in-person exam. To have access to the remote test, you must enroll in CTY's Talent Search. SCAT scores are accepted for nearly every CTY program (students in grades 2-12 can take it).

As you can see, you can take the ACT to qualify for CTY programs if you’re in the 5th grade or higher and hit the required score threshold for your age group.  

 

What does the ACT qualify me for at CTY?

So if you do take the ACT, what is your score relevant for?

The Center for Talented Youth was considerate enough to create an eligibility assessment tool for prospective students; plug in which test you took, your grade when you took it, and your score, and the website will calculate which CTY programs you would be eligible for.

This tool is great if you have already taken the ACT and have your score, but it's a little harder to use if you haven't yet taken the ACT; plus, it doesn't tell you what award ceremonies your score qualifies you for.

To address these issues, I will discuss the specific ACT score requirements for each of the programs and award ceremonies at CTY. If you only want to know about a specific program's score requirements, go ahead and click on the name below to jump to it.

 

Academic Explorations

Intensive Studies

Award Ceremonies

Grand Ceremony

 

Otherwise, keep reading for more information about what part of the ACT matters for CTY when it comes to score requirements (hint: not every section counts).

 

What Are the CTY ACT Score Requirements?

Despite what you might expect, CTY does not care about your English or Science ACT scores, or about your Writing subscore. All that matters for ACT score requirements are your Math and Reading scores. I do not know why that is—best guess is that CTY wants to make sure ACT requirements are equivalent to the SAT requirements, which also only involve Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores.

Currently, CTY has two levels of eligibility for its various programs: CTY-Level and Advanced CTY Level. Below, I've created four tables to show the score requirements for CTY programs (Academic Explorations, Intensive Studies, and CTYOnline), depending on what time of year you took the ACT. Additionally, I've created two other tables that contain information about qualifying for CTY's year-end Award Ceremonies.

 

CTY-Level Scores: Academic Explorations and CTYOnline

Academic Explorations courses are held at sites all over the US as well as in Hong Kong. If you're a 10th-12th grade student and meet the CTY-Level ACT requirements, your score also qualifies you for CTY's Princeton: Global Issues in the 21st Century program.

All Academic Explorations courses (including the Global Issues course at Princeton) and some CTYOnline courses require students to match CTY's "CTY-Level" eligibility requirements.

The scores needed for CTY-Level eligibility are relatively low. High Reading scores qualify you to take courses in Humanities and Writing, while high Math scores qualify you to take courses in Math and Science.

So are you eligible for Academic Explorations courses or CTYOnline courses that require CTY-Level eligibility?

If you took the ACT between July 1 and December 31 while you were in...

Grade And scored… You are eligible for courses in…
5* ≥ 9 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 12 on Math Math and Science
6* ≥ 11 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 15 on Math Math and Science
7 ≥ 14 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 17 on Math Math and Science
8 ≥ 17 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 19 on Math Math and Science
9 ≥ 20 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 22 on Math Math and Science

 

If you took the ACT between January 1 and June 30 of...

Grade And scored… You are eligible for courses in…
5* ≥ 9 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 13 on Math Math and Science
6* ≥ 12 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 16 on Math Math and Science
7 ≥ 15 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 18 on Math Math and Science
8 ≥ 18 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 21 on Math Math and Science
9 and above ≥ 21 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 23 on Math Math and Science

*ACT Testing is not offered for students in grades 5 and 6 through CTY, so these requirements are only applicable if you took the ACT outside of CTY.

Go back to the list of programs with score requirements.

 

Advanced CTY-Level: Intensive Studies and CTY Online

Similar to the Academic Explorations Program, CTY's Intensive Studies program also takes place across multiple locations, including Hong Kong.

Caution: while there are some sites where both Academic Explorations and Intensive Studies courses are offered, this is not true for all CTY Summer sites, so pay close attention when scouting out potential summer study locations.

All Intensive Studies courses and some CTYOnline courses require students to match CTY's "Advanced CTY-Level" eligibility requirements.

The Intensive Studies programs have more stringent ACT requirements than the Academic Explorations programs. What do I mean by this? Take a look at the tables below.

If you took the ACT between July 1 and December 31 while you were in...

Grade And scored… You are eligible for courses in…
5* ≥ 14 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 17 on Math Math and Science
6* ≥ 17 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 20 on Math Math and Science
7 ≥ 20 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 22 on Math Math and Science
8 ≥ 23 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 25 on Math Math and Science
9 ≥ 26 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 27 on Math Math and Science

 

If you took the ACT between January 1 and June 30 of...

Grade And scored… You are eligible for courses in…
5* ≥ 15 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 18 on Math Math and Science
6* ≥ 18 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 21 on Math Math and Science
7 ≥ 21 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 23 on Math Math and Science
8 ≥ 24 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 26 on Math Math and Science
9 and above ≥ 27 on Reading Humanities and Writing
≥ 28 on Math Math and Science

*ACT Testing is not offered for students in grades 5 and 6 through CTY, so these requirements are only applicable if you took the ACT outside of CTY.

Go back to the list of programs with score requirements.

 

High Honors Award Ceremonies Eligibility

The top CTY students who participated in the Talent Search are honored at regional Award Ceremonies in multiple locations in the US and China.

How do you know if you qualify? CTY states that students who achieve Advanced CTY-Level eligibility in either Math/Science or Humanities/Writing (or both) will receive High Honors.

Specifically...

If you took the ACT in… And EITHER in Math scored… OR in Reading scored…
7th Grade July 1-December 31 ≥ 22 ≥ 20
January 1-June 30 ≥ 23 ≥ 21
8th Grade July 1-December 31 ≥ 25 ≥ 23
January 1-June 30 ≥ 26 ≥ 24

 

…then you will be honored at an Award Ceremony with a medal and recognition of your achievement.

Note that Awards ceremonies are only open to students who achieved their high ACT scores through participating in the CTY Talent Search, so students who took the ACT after 8th grade (or before 7th grade) are not eligible.

Go back to the list of programs with score requirements.

 

Grand Ceremony Eligibility

CTY's Grand Ceremony is an international award ceremony, held once a year at Johns Hopkins University. The students honored at the ceremony are a selective subset of all students who qualify for the regional Award Ceremonies.

So how do you know if you qualify for the Grand Ceremony? CTY notes that students who achieved scores that are among the highest of all CTY Talent Search participants will receive Grand Honors.

Unfortunately, CTY no longer publishes specific score thresholds for award eligibility, so we’re making an educated guess based on eligible scores from past years. Below are our best estimates:

If you took the ACT in… 7th Grade 8th Grade
And EITHER in Math scored… ≥ 31 ≥ 33
OR in Reading scored… ≥ 28 ≥ 31

 

…then you will likely be honored at the Grand Ceremony with a medal and recognition.

 

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Go back to the list of programs with score requirements.

 

CTY ACT Requirements: Some Logistics

If you're taking the ACT as part of the Talent Search, you need to register for the ACT with very specific information. Use CTY's "Before The Test" information to make sure that your scores will be sent to the right place.

What if you took the ACT on your own, without being part of the Talent Search, and now want to apply to one of CTY's summer programs, or take a CTYOnline course? Don't worry—you can still apply to summer programs and CTYOnline—you just need to make sure that you submit a copy of an official score report with your summer program or CTYOnline application.

 

How Do I Meet The Requirements? 5 Points To Keep In Mind

#1: Spend time prepping. Yes, the test is being used as a sorting tool by CTY, and when you're taking the ACT as a 7th or 8th grader you don't have to worry about getting the score that will get you into college. But let's be realistic: you'll need at least some test prep.
  • This in no way means that you should invest in any kind of ACT prep course—just that, at the bare minimum, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the ACT's structure and timing.

  • You should take a practice test to gauge where you are, then use this information to determine the amount you have to improve to meet the qualifications for your desired program.

  • Know how much time you have to study so you can plan your prep accordingly. If you only have a few weeks before the ACT, you'll want to study more hours per week than if you have several months left.

  • For more advice, read our articles about taking the ACT in 7th and 8th grade.

 

#2: Take the ACT as early as you can and still feel prepared. If you take the ACT earlier on, you have a lower score threshold to meet (compare the 7th grade vs 8th-10th grade requirements for Academy Explorations and Intensive Studies courses).

  • In general, older students know more than younger students (stop rolling your eyes, younger siblings), but if you've spent time prepping, it's worth it to take it sooner rather than later.

 

#3: Building off of the above point, make sure you take the ACT early enough during the school year to qualify for CTY programs.

  • If you're at all interested in CTY's summer programs, you should try to test by early January of that year at the latest; otherwise, you may have difficulty getting into the programs.

  • If you want to be honored in the Spring Award Ceremonies, you must have tested by the end of February. Otherwise, you will get rolled over into the next year's Award Ceremonies.

  • Of course, in either case, you can retake the ACT if your score is too low to qualify you for the program or the award ceremony you want, since CTY will only consider your highest score; in fact, this makes it even more important to take the ACT earlier in the school year, so that you have a chance to retest if necessary and still be eligible for summer courses and spring award ceremonies.

 

#4: If you have a standout test section, focus on it. CTY is unlike most colleges and universities in that you can get into its programs even if you only do well on one section of the ACT.

  • If you find that you're getting in practice scores of around 16 on Math but 25 for Reading, own it.
  • In the above example, you're better off putting in the time to make sure you can consistently get above the score threshold for Reading than you are trying to bring up all of your section scores. And for Intensive Studies courses, a really stellar Reading score can make up for an abysmal Math score (or vice versa)—check out the Intensive Studies score requirements discussion above if you don't believe me!

 

#5: Know the ACT strategies that are appropriate for your level. Advice for getting a 36 on a section will not necessarily be relevant if you only need to get above a 23.

  • One example of this is that if you're aiming for a 26, you can skip the hardest 20% of questions entirely and just focus on answering as many of the easier questions correctly as possible (although since the ACT does not penalize for wrong answers, make sure to leave no space blank, even if you end up choosing "B" every time).
  • We have more useful information like this in our articles on how to guess correctly on the ACT and how to prepare for ACT English, Math, Reading, and Science.

 

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What's Next?

Curious about the SAT requirements for CTY? Read my comprehensive article on the different SAT requirements for various CTY programs.

Want to know more about CTY at JHU? I go into more detail on the CTY Talent Search and what programs and resources you gain by participating in CTY in this guide.

What are some other programs for gifted/talented students? Find out more about Duke TIP, Northwestern CTD (formerly known as NUMATS), the Summer Institute for the Gifted, and Stanford EPGY.

 

 

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Laura Staffaroni
About the Author

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.



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