If you are preparing for the ACT, you probably have a lot of queries regarding what is considered a good writing score on the ACT, exam pattern, and much more. To make things a little easy for you, we have your doubts covered. Before we proceed with the exam pattern, let us review it at a glance.

ACT is a multiple-choice test. It is a standardized test that evaluates a student’s ability, abilities, and knowledge in five subject areas. They are: English, math, science, reading, and writing. Admissions committees use this test to determine if a high school student is prepared to take on the rigors of college at their specific university.

It is optional to complete the writing section, which consists of an essay. However, if a student writes an essay, they will be given 40 minutes to complete the ACT exam. Do aspirants often wonder what is a good score on the writing ACT?

Read on to know more.

Is the Writing Part of ACT necessary?

Since the SAT essay is no longer required, many colleges and universities are rethinking whether or not they should force students to write an essay for the ACT. Schools generally like to have a consistent standard across the two tests. Some institutions do not require the ACT Writing section, while others do not consider it at all.

How is the Writing Score in ACT evaluated?

When taken together with your subject area scores, the writing test does not affect your overall composite score. However, if a student does not receive a passing score on the writing test, they won’t get an English Language Arts (ELA) score.

An evaluation for the essay is done based on the evidence that it gives of your ability to do the following tasks:

  • Clearly describe your point of view on the problem. Then, assess the relationship between your point of view and at least one other point of view (if applicable).
  • Reasoning and examples to develop and support your beliefs.
  • Standard written English requires you to: organize your ideas clearly and rationally and communicate your views effectively.

The Writing Rubrics of the ACT Exam

Before thinking of what is a good score on the writing ACT, it is important to know the rubrics, based on which essays are marked. The grader will mark your score following the rubric having different subscores. Here we have a table that will help you to understand the rubrics:

Components     What it comprises of How To Score Well
Ideas and Analysis Whether you construct an argument and evaluate others’ views? You will not get grades on whether or not you choose the “correct” answer. Instead, you’ll get scores on how intricate your responses are.
Development and Support Do you have any instances to back up your claims? Graders are looking for evidence that you can defend your position. 
Organization Whether you can logically represent your thoughts? Make sure that your article is well-organized. You need to use a separate Introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion for the essay
Language Use and Conventions Are you able to write clearly? Graders will examine whether you are good at grammar and spelling.

What is a Good Writing score on the ACT?

The ACT Writing Test is graded on a scale of 2 to 12 (lowest to highest). The average ACT Writing score is between 6 and a 7 on the scale. You will need a score of 8 or above for getting admission to selective universities—however, scores of 10, 11, and 12 stand out and present excellent writing abilities. According to the most recent data given by ACT, Inc., the nationwide ACT writing score percentiles are as follows.

ACT Writing Score Percentiles
Score Percentile
12 100th  (top 1%)
11 99th  (top 1%)
10 98th (top 1%)
9 95 (top 4%)
8 87 (top 10%)
7 65 (top 34%)
6 45 (top 50%)
5 23 (bottom 27%)
4 11 (bottom 14%)
3 3 (bottom 5%)
2 2 (bottom 2%)

So, if you are wondering what is a good writing score on the ACT, a score of 7-8 works well for getting admission to most colleges. Since a few schools currently require the ACT writing exam, the Department of Education no longer collects the data. Before 2015 when the ACT used a 12-point scale, many institutions included a writing score in their admissions calculations.

How Do You Know If You Have a Good ACT Writing Score?

  • First, see if the colleges to which you’re applying require ACT Writing scores.
  • Then, for those institutions that do require ACT Writing scores, determine the ACT Writing score ranges. To do so, check the school’s admissions website or the Common Data Set (if available) to determine if ACT Writing data is available, OR
  • Calculate the Writing score range based on the ACT composite score range for the school.

Tips for Achieving a High ACT Score in Writing

  1. Keeping it Interesting
    To ease the flow of your essay, work on your sentence structure. For example, you can go for a shorter, simple sentence rather than a long sentence with many modifiers and dependent clauses. It truly works.
  2. Have a Good Taste of Word Choice
    Sprinkle some interesting vocabulary words throughout your essay (but make sure you spell them correctly!). If you are unsure about the meaning or spelling of a term, avoid it. Instead, use a different word. When you misuse a significant term, you make a poorer impression than using a small word appropriately.
  3. Practice Reduces Imperfections
    Work on your weaknesses before beginning your ACT Writing preparation. If there is any part of the rubric chart that you are weak, devote extra time to practice. Face your mistakes head-on, and you’ll be able to learn from them.
  4. Pay Attention to Your Grammar
    Although English may be your first language, don’t let that fool you into dismissing this part. Don’t take English lightly because you believe it is the most simple section; grammar can lower your scores; revisit the grammar sections, be clear with punctuation, and practice reading more and more.
  5. Finest Handwriting
    Though neatness should not be considered by graders when calculating your ACT writing score, a neat, readable essay is simpler to read, and a contented grader is a good thing! So make sure to indent each paragraph and prevent untidy cross-outs for the paper that is truly simple on the eyes.
  6. Develop a Game Plan
    Appear for Mock tests before you appear on your ACT. Hope one can make a timetable for practicing Mocks and English writing.
  7. Seek Professional Assistance
    Every year, thousands of students take the ACT. There are numerous tutoring options available for the ACT. If you feel unprepared for the exam, consider signing up for one of these services.

Fact: Most Top Schools Do Not Require the ACT Writing

Surprisingly, the majority of top-ranked schools and universities waive the ACT Writing requirement. Many prestigious colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, and Brown, have eliminated the ACT Writing requirement in recent years. At the moment, none of the Ivy League schools need writing in ACTs. Numerous prestigious public colleges, including the University of Michigan and the University of Texas, have also eliminated the ACT Writing requirement.

Colleges That Require the ACT Writing

As of 2021, just eight colleges in the United States of America continue to need the ACT with Writing:

  • Martin Luther College (MN)
  • Molloy College (NY)
  • Soka University of America (CA)
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX)
  • United States Military Academy (West Point) (NY)
  • University of Montana Western (MT)
  • Yellowstone Christian College (MT)
  • Wyoming Catholic College (WY)

Currently, six schools specify on their website that they recommend scores for the ACT Writing test:
Bethune-Cookman University (FL)

  • Molloy College (NY)
  • Morehouse College (GA)
  • Hardin-Simmons University (TX)
  • Colorado School of Mines (CO)
  • Brigham Young University (UT)

You can still get into many schools even if you don’t take the ACT Writing test, although doing so will help your application stand out. If you’re worried about your prospects of getting into one of these colleges, a high ACT Essay score will help you stand out from the crowd.

Remember that your ACT Writing Test score contributes to a relatively tiny portion of your application. Your composite ACT score is more important than any other section of the exam. A successful application should include letters of recommendation, an impressive academic record, and significant extracurricular engagement.