How the ACT is Scored in 2018

What are Good ACT Scores in 2020? ACT Score Guide

So you’ve just received your ACT scores and now you’re wondering, how did I do? Or maybe you’ve haven’t taken your ACT test yet and you’re trying to figure out what result you need to get into your college of choice.

You’re in the right place. This page will help give students a better idea of how they did on the ACT test, what the average ACT result is and what a good ACT result is.

Check our ACT Test Dates for 2020-2021

ACT Scores 101

As students probably know, on the four ACT test subjects: Math, English, Reading, and Science, they will receive a scaled score between 1 to 36. The average of these four scores will then be computed to get your composite score. These figures will be shown on students result reports. Obviously, like every other test you’ve taken the higher your ACT result the better.

Related Topic: ACT Registration And Requirements

What is the Average ACT Score

The average ACT score is 20.8. That means if students score range between a 20 and 21 on the ACT test this will put students right in the middle of the pack. Students result will be higher than 50% of other test takers but also lower than the other 50% of test-takers.

Visit our Free ACT Practice Tests 2020 – Full Length Practice Questions with Explanation

Average ACT Result by Test

Here are the average ACT result are broken down by test over the last 5 years.

The average English ACT Result is 20.3.
The average Math ACT Result is 20.8.
The average Reading ACT Result is 21.3.
The average Science ACT Result is 20.8.

Learn more: ACT Math Test Overview, Content Type And Tips To Score High

What is a Good ACT Result?

Although there are ACT results, what’s considered to be a good ACT result is that which corresponds to the requirements of students chosen college. The higher students result is, the more benefits they can enjoy. A high ACT result presents more options for students pertaining to being accepted in various prestigious colleges and universities.

The highest possible result for the ACT test is 36, and the current score for the same test is 21. Obtaining a score of 23 would deem you to be a strong candidate for many universities, particularly because it is above the range of the current national average. Then again, such a result may not render you qualified to enter more selective colleges. 

In the ACT test,  your result will be measured on a scale of 1 to 36. Each of the subjects in the test, whether English, Math, Reading, and Science will be scored out of 36 points. The total computed scores of each of these four sections make up your composite score. The following table indicates the average scores for every subject in the ACT in 2017, along with the composite score:

SECTION AVG ACT RESULT
English 20.3
Math 20.7
Reading 21.4
Science 21.0
COMPOSITE 21.0

Source:  ACT

Achieving these scores for all the four ACT subjects can have you accepted in many colleges and universities, but may have you unqualified for more selective schools.



Here is a quick break down of ACT Result percentiles:

35 and above ACT Result = Top 1%
31 and above ACT Result = Top 5%
29 and above ACT Result = Top 10%
24 and above ACT Result = Top 25%
21 and above ACT Result = Top 50% (reminder 21 is the average ACT result)
16 and below ACT Result – Bottom 25%

We have ACT Reading Test Basics & Practices to Improve Scores

Here are more details on ACT eesult percentiles.

ACT Result Percentiles For 2020

If students result reports falls on the 75th percentile (a composite score of 25 or above), that means they have a right result. This means students scored better than 75 percent of the test-takers. But if students result reports are lower than the 25th percentile average ACT result(a composite score of 16 or lower), then that means their result is poor and need to take steps to improve it, whether by taking ACT review classes or working on ACT practice tests.

Note that your basis for what a good score is should be based on your desired college or university’s ACT result.

Look into the ACT result of the students who got into the college or university of their choice. UCLA, for example, has an ACT result of 29. If you want to get into UCLA, you must need to have an ACT result of 29 or higher to improve your chances of getting accepted.

Percentile English Math Reading Science Composite
90th (excellent) 29-30 28 31 27-28 28
75th (good) 24 24 25 24 24
50th (OK) 20 19 20 20 20
25th (poor) 14-15 16 16 16-17 16
10th (very poor) 11 14 13 13 13

Sources: ACT 2017 National Profile ReportACT 2012 National Profile Report



We have ACT Prep Test that you can use: ACT English Practice Tests

When Will Your ACT Result Be Available?

How long do students have to wait to get their ACT resut? Not too long, actually. These results vary in release depending on various factors. However, for most students, availability of their ACT result comes in approximately 10 days after they have taken their test. 

Since the ACT  test is given on a Saturday, score reports for it tend to be accessible on a Tuesday or Thursday following 10 waiting days, typically at 1am Eastern time, or midnight at Western time or 10 pm Pacific time.

If within this time period, students scores haven’t been released yet, check for it on a weekly basis. All scores should normally be available within 8 weeks after the test. Scores are usually provided in two instalments, but colleges will not receive your result report for the ACT  test if all scores have not been released and finalized (both for the multiple choice test and the Writing test).

With students ACT result report ready, ACT, Inc. will then grant access to their official Student Score Report, their High School Score Report, and students College Score Report. Take note that a majority of test-takers will tend to receive their scores after 10 days of taking the ACT test, while a small number of them will access the same after one or a few weeks of waiting after the designated release date.

The following list will guide you about the 2020 ACT test dates along with their ACT Score Release Dates:

ACT Test Date Multiple-Choice Scores Release Complete Scores (w/ Essay) Release
Sept 12, 2020 Sept 22, 2020 Oct 6, 2020
Oct 24, 2020 Nov 10, 2020 Nov 24, 2020
Dec 12, 2020 Dec 24, 2020 Jan 7, 2021
Feb 6, 2021 Feb 23, 2021 Mar 8, 2021
Apr 17, 2021 Apr 27, 2021 May 11, 2021
June 12, 2021 June 22, 2021 July 6, 2021
July 17, 2021 July 27, 2021 Aug 10, 2021



Knowing the scoring system for ACT test can give students an advantage as they prepare their study plan and goals. We will help students understand how the ACT is scored, with official ACT scoring charts so they can use this knowledge to assess how well they’d do on the test.

Visit our website to learn more review materials: ACT Science Practice Tests

The ACT Scoring System




ACT scoring system

What Scores Will You See on Your ACT Result Report?

  • Scaled scores for each subject
  • Composite score
  • Scores on the STEM (Science, Technology, and Math) indicators
  • Scores on ELA (English Language Arts) indicators
  • United States and State Ranks

Scaled Scores

On the ACT Result Report, what students will see are scaled scores for all the ACT subjects: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Every subject area has a scaled score between 1 and 36. Scaled scores do not reflect the actual number of questions students answered correctly, which is their raw score.

The scaled scores are based on students raw scores or the actual number of questions that they answered correctly on each of the subject areas. The ACT test scores are scaled to make it possible to compare students performance with other test-takers who may have taken an easier or more difficult test.

Visit our website: ACT Test Introduction, Registration & Dates

Here is a table from ACT.org for converting your raw scores to scaled scores:

Scale Score Test 1 English Test 2 Mathematics Test 3 Reading Test 4 Science Scale Score
36

35

34

33

32

31

30

29

28

27

26

25

24

23

22

21

20

19

18

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

75

72-74

71

70

68-69

67

66

65

63-64

62

60-61

58-59

56-57

53-55

51-52

48-50

45-47

43-44

41-42

39-40

36-38

32-35

29-31

27-28

25-26

23-24

20-22

18-19

15-17

12-14

10-11

8-9

6-7

4-5

2-3

0-1

60

58-59

57

55-56

54

52-53

50-51

48-49

45-47

43-44

40-42

38-39

36-37

34-35

32-33

30-31

29

27-28

24-26

21-23

17-20

13-16

11-12

08-10

7

5-6

4

3

2

1

0

40

39

38

37

35-36

34

33

32

31

30

29

28

27

25-26

24

22-23

21

19-20

18

17

15-16

14

12-13

11

09-10

8

6-7

5

4

3

2

1

0

40

39

38

37

36

35

34

33

32

30-31

28-29

26-27

24-25

22-23

21

19-20

17-18

16

14-15

13

12

11

10

9

8

7

5-6

4

3

2

1

0

36

35

34

33

32

31

30

29

28

27

26

25

24

23

22

21

20

19

18

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

Composite Score

The average of your four scale scores is computed to get your composite score, which also ranges from 1 to 36.

STEM and ELA

Both STEM and ELA reflect your performance on specific subject tests.

  • The STEM score shows your performance on the science and mathematics tests.
  • The ELA Score shows your performance on the English, reading, and writing tests.

source ACT.org

Unites States and State Ranks

The United States and State Ranks show the estimated percentages of ACT test-takers in the United States and in your state with scores that are the same or lower than yours. If students composite score is 28 and they have a rank of 70 for their composite score, that means 70% of students got that composite score or below.

Visit us here HERE 

Steps to Compute Your Average ACT Result

You can use your knowledge of the ACT scoring system to see how well you’d perform on your practice tests. Just follow these steps:

  1. Compute your raw scores for each subject.
  2. Use the table to convert your raw scores to scale scores.
  3. Compute your score reports on the four subjects to get your composite score.

Here’s a sample computation:

If students have scaled scores of 24 for English, 28 for Math, 26 for Reading, and 23 for their Science scores, the composite ACT score would be (24 + 28 + 26 + 23)/4 = 25.25, which is rounded down to a 25.

How the Writing Test is Scored

ACT writing test

Two checkers will read and result each student’s ACT Writing test essay based on four domains:

    • Ideas and Analysis
    • Development and Support
    • Organization
  • Language Use and Conventions





Each checker gives the essay a score ranging from 1 to 6 for each of the four domains, with 6 being the highest possible result. The two counts are added together to get a student’s writing subscore for each area, which can range between 2 and 12, with 12 being the highest possible result. If the two readers’ ratings differ by more than one point, a third reader will be called in to resolve the disagreement. The writing score is calculated from the domain scores and ranges between 1 and 36.

A student’s ACT English, Reading and Writing scores are scaled to create a student’s combined English Language Arts (ELA) score. Choosing to take the ACT Writing test does not impact students composite score or subject area scores, but without the Writing test score, no ELA score will be reported.

Related Topic: How ACT Reviewers And Guides Help You Boost Your ACT Score

ACT Score Reports

The ACT organization initially prepares three different reports for each student who tests—the Student Report, the High School Report, and the College Report. If you took the ACT test with writing, an image of the essay you wrote might be available to the high school and colleges that receive your score report. See more details in this chart:

Type of Report Where It’s Delivered When It’s Delivered What It Reports
Student Report Your online ACT web account About 2–8 weeks after the test date ACT scores, college, and career planning information
High School Report Your high school About 2–8 weeks after the test date ACT scores, college, and career planning information
College Report Each valid college or scholarship agency code you listed and paid for when you registered or tested (up to six) Varies based on college and when ordered Everything on the Student and High School Report, plus the grades you reported in up to 30 high school courses; it may also include predictions about your performance in specific college programs and courses

To learn more about their scoring process, check the guide from the ACT website.

How To Receive Your ACT Result

You will not receive your ACT result personally via email. What you have to do is to look it up online in the official ACT, Inc. web site by logging in to your account. This can be done at about 10 days after taking the ACT test (for the multiple choice test), and two weeks following that to access your result for the Writing test. Individual people check the Writing test (not machines), that’s why it takes longer to release the scores. 

All scores are expected to be posted on the ACT Inc., web site eight weeks after the corresponding ACT test. If you live in a location outside United States or Canada, your result might arrive later than this time period.

Although some test-takers might deem it necessary, there is actually no way to prioritize or speed up the releasing of ACT result. The ACT Inc., web site may feature a priority report option, but it does not refer to that. What it does instead is prioritize sending reports to colleges and not obtaining result reports faster. Your full ACT result report (including your Writing score- if you took it) has to be fully processed before they are sent to your selected colleges.

Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your ACT result:

The first thing that you should do is to log on to your account in the ACT website. Use the user ID and password that you have created when you initially signed up for an account. In case you forgot your user ID or password, click on the “Forgot password” or “Forgot User ID” links to be able to retrieve those details. 

When you have successfully logged in, the ACT student home page will appear. You will find your test registration dates summarized in the page. Go to the left column and select “Your Test Dates and Scores” to be able to be directed to your ACT scores:

You will then be taken to a page containing a table that indicates all your ACT test dates and the types of tests that you took (whether ACT or ACT Plus Writing). Next to it, you will find a link where you can view your scores. Note that you may find some test dates that you have signed up for canceled later, such as the September 2009 test listed on the screenshot:

Click on the “View Your Scores” option:

A prompt will ask you to enter your password again. It means the password that you used to log in:

You will finally arrive at the page that contains your ACT result. Here, you’ll be able to view your composite score (36 at most), as well as your section scores and subscores. The subscores are particularly useful because they indicate specific information about your performance in each subject area:

In the same page, you’ll see a “Download student result report PDF” link. If you click on it, you’ll be able to obtain a PDF report that features more information, such as your percentile scores and potential areas that you must need to improve on along with other details that you can use to boost your result in the ACT. 

Now that you’ve seen your ACT result, what you should do? 

Have you met your ACT goal result? You have probably an idea of what a right ACT result is, and if you have achieved it, you can proceed with your college applications. Otherwise, your next best option could be to retake the ACT test. 

Scholarships You Can Get According To Your ACT Result

Having high expectations for your ACT result can be stressful. You know you have to get a fine result in order to gain admission to the school of your choice, and more so, to get a scholarship. There’s pleasing news for that, nonetheless, because even real-world ACT result within the low 20’s range can qualify you for a grant.

Basically, scholarships are tend to be given based on ACT result ranges. Other than achieving the proper result, you also have to take into account other requirements for eligibility. In fact, you can even find scholarships that don’t require ACT test scores. For those that do require fine ACT test scores, however, some will give money for scores that range between 20 to 24. Some scholarships would want to see scores that range from 25 and above, while those that are more competitive entail scores of 29 and higher. 

You have hundreds of scholarships to choose from, and it’s best to think in terms of score ranges instead of exact scores when it comes to obtaining these. 

At the very least, you must need to get a score that ranges within the low 20’s to have some chance of getting scholarships that entail ACT result. Although you can barely gain admission to a promising school with these scores, just getting accepted would be enough to render you eligible for a grant. If your result is within the range of 20 to 26 and your GPA is 3.0, you can be qualified for $1,000 to $2,000 worth of scholarships from Mississippi State. In the same way, you can be considered for a scholarship from the University of Reno Nevada if your ACT result is 22 or above.

Find out more about Scholarships by ACT Score and work on achieving your target result with the help of a credible and effective online ACT study guide.