Whats an Average ACT Writing Score


It’s about a month after your ACT test date. You receive your ACT score report, which includes your ACT Writing score. But what exactly does that number mean? Did you outperform the average? Worse? Is it exactly average? This article will explain what an average ACT Writing score is.

Meet average! is the credit for the featured image. by Maria Ly, licensed under CC BY 2.0 /Cropped and modified from the original.

What Is the ACT Writing Score Range?

The ACT Writing section’s scoring differs from the other test sections in three significant ways. Unlike your English, Math, Reading, and Science scores, your ACT Writing score…

  • Is on a scale of 2-12, rather than 1-36.
  • Is optional. You can take the ACT with or without Writing.
  • Is not included when calculating your composite score.

On your ACT score report, you’ll see subscores for each of the four domains (scored from 1-6). You will receive a total score of 12 in each domain because your essay is graded by two people. The average of your four domain scores is used to calculate your total ACT Writing score, which is also a score out of 12. Your essay will be graded on the following four domains:#1: Ideas and Analysis

What are your thoughts on the subject? [How] do you compare your point of view to at least one other point of view?

#2: Development and Support

Do you use logical reasoning or specific examples to back up and explain your ideas?

#3: Organization

Is your essay well-structured? Is each idea separated into its own paragraph? Is your writing also organized within each paragraph?

#4: Language Use

Do you write in standard English grammar? Are your sentences structured in a clear and varied manner? Do you employ appropriate phrasing?

To learn more about what factors into each domain score, read our article on the ACT Writing Rubric. Do you want to raise your ACT score by four points? Tired of wasting time prepping in ineffective ways? We have the best ACT preparation program in the industry. The program, created by Harvard graduates and ACT full scorers, learns your strengths and weaknesses using advanced statistics, then tailors your prep program to you for the most effective preparation possible. It is currently the best available preparation program. Best of all, we will refund your money if you do not improve your score by 4 points or more.

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What’s an Average ACT Writing Score?

According to the most recent ACT, Inc data, the average ACT Writing score is 6/12. A more detailed breakdown of Writing test percentiles can be found in the table below:

2-12 Score

2 2
3 5
4 15
5 28
6 51
7 66
8 90
9 96
10 99
11 99
12 100


Because your total ACT Writing score is the average of your four domain scores, the average domain scores (Ideas & Analysis, Development & Support, Organization, and Language Use) are also likely to be around 6/12, though ACT, Inc. does not provide specific information on the cumulative percentiles of the domain scores.

How Much Does My Essay Score Matter?

Is your essay grade even important? While many colleges require or recommend ACT Writing scores, the majority do not specify an ACT Writing score range.

Colleges may consider the English-Language Arts subscore, which combines scaled English, Reading, and Writing performance, for students applying to humanities programs. Your ACT Writing score may be used for freshman writing class placement at a few colleges (such as the University of Montana). If this is the case for you, your Writing score percentile should be close to (or higher than) your English and Reading score percentiles. In general, my best advice is to make sure your ACT Writing score percentile isn’t significantly lower (>25 percentile points) than your other ACT section scores—this kind of disparity may raise a red flag for admissions staff. Otherwise, colleges don’t give much weight to the ACT essay (especially compared to other parts of your application like your personal statement).

What’s Next?

What is a good essay score for you now that you know what an average ACT essay score is?

Learn how to calculate your target ACT Writing score in our article. What strategies can you employ to ensure that your ACT Writing score is higher than the national average?

Examine our in-depth examination of the ACT Writing scoring rubric.

How long should your ACT essay be? Find out how the length of your essay affects your grade here.

Confused about the domain scores?
Get the inside scoop on ACT Writing scoring with our comprehensive guide. Do you want to raise your ACT score by four points?

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