What is an Average ACT Score (Tips To Improve)

What Is An Average ACT Score - 2400Expert

Not sure about What is an Average ACT Score? Let me tell you. More than one million high school students take the ACT examination every year. 

ACT, or American College Testing, is a standardized test used for admissions to top colleges in the United States.  

The scores from ACT help the universities to compare the profiles of the students and help them to select potential students for admission. 

To learn more about the average ACT score, scroll down the article below. 

What is an Average ACT score?

The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, and the national average ACT score in the year 2021-22 was demonstrated to be 20.6.

The table below represents the ACT scores as per different sections for 2021 and 2022. 

SectionsAverage scores
Reading 21.1

Depending on the composite scores, the average score in English and Maths is high as compared to Science and Maths. 

Average ACT score as per state.

ACT score

The overall ACT scores might be lower in the States, where attempting ACT is mandatory as all the students take the test. Here are average ACT scores as per different states of the U.S. 

States with the Highest ACT Scores 

To know which U.S. state has students with the highest ACT scores, refer to the following table. 

StatesACT scores
Connecticut 25.9
New Hampshire25.7 
New York24.9
Rhode Island 24.8 
Illinois 24.7
New Jersey 24.4

States with Lowest ACT Scores 

lowest ACT scores

Given below are the top 10 States with the lowest ACT scores. 

States ACT scores
Mississippi 18.2
South Carolina 18.4
North Carolina18.8

Average SAT score According to Gender

Average SAT score according to gender

On the basis of the ACT report 2022, the average ACT score of female students was better than that of male students. To determine the ACT score depending on gender, go through the following table. 

Gender Composite score EnglishMathematicsReading Science
Females 2019.619.120.919.9

Even though women have outscored more than men, consistency is maintained by men to perform better in science and maths. 

Acceptable ACT Scores for Selective Universities

Acceptable ACT scores

To determine the average ACT score for different universities, below is a list of a few of them.

UniversitiesComposite score of ACTAcceptance Rate. 
Harvard College.32 to 355%
Columbia University.32 to 356%
Massachusetts institute of technology.33 to 358%
Princeton University.32 to 257%
New York University29 to 3332%
University of California, Berkeley. 29 to 3415%
The University of Pennsylvania.31 to 34 10%
Yale University.31 to 357%

Test Format of ACT

The ACT examination comprises four sections, i.e., English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science reasoning. The test scores for these subject ranges from 1 to 36. 

Here is the test format of ACT that you may check out.

SectionsNumber of questionsTime
English7545 minutes
Mathematics6060 minutes 
Reading 4035 minutes
Science4035 minutes
Writing (optional)1 essay40 minutes

English: This section covers sentence structure, rhetorical skills, usage/mechanics, etc. It consists of 75 questions, and the time allotted for this section is around 45 minutes. 

Mathematics: The maths section comprises 60 questions, and the time provided for this section is 60 minutes.

It covers pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and Trigonometry. The use of calculators is permitted for this particular section only. 

Reading: The reading section includes four subsections: three comprise one long prose passage, and one includes two short prose passages. It consists of 40 questions, and 35 minutes are provided to solve them. 

Science: It consists of seven passages based on data representation, research summary, and conflicting viewpoints. It has 40 questions and 35 minutes to solve them. 

Writing: This is the optional section and is administered at the end of the test. It consists of  essays that should be in response to the given prompt. 

The composite scores are not affected by the essay section. It is given as a separate writing score and included in the ELA score. 

Tips to Improve ACT Scores

To help you prepare for ACT and improve your scores, here are a few tips and tricks that you can go through. 

  • Get Your Baseline Score.

Before starting your ACT preparation, determine your baseline score. You can do it by taking the ACT practice tests. 

With the help of the score report, scan the baseline scores and determine the areas of strengths and weaknesses and what is the scope of improvement, etc. 

  • Set Goals And Expectations.

After you have determined your baseline scores, the next step is to set goals to improve the ACT score and make sure you work in that direction. 

  • Make A Study Plan.

Once you have set your goals and expectations, make sure you develop an effective study plan or schedule and stick to it. .

  • Practice More Often. 

In order to improve your score, determine the areas you are weak in and start practicing on them. Use ACT practice tests to understand the format of the test and explore different ACT preparation materials. 

  • Brush Up Your Skills In Maths.

Get your basic mathematical concepts cleared, which will help you to solve the maths section with ease. Pay more attention to the concepts from Algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability. 

  • Attempt All The Questions.

You can improve your ACT score by attempting all the questions, as you will get the point for each correct answer, and there is no penalty charged even if your answer gets wrong.

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Key Takeaways

Your ACT score can range from 1, which is the lowest, to 36, which is the highest, where the average score was demonstrated to be 20.6.

ACT examination is the best preferred for students willing to enter specific universities. To determine the average ACT score of the target university and start preparing accordingly to achieve the desired target. 

That is all about the average ACT score; go through the article, and if you have any queries, drop them in the comments section below. 


How long is ACT?

The duration of the ACT is 3 hours (technically, it is 2 hours and 55 minutes), and if you sign up for the ACT plus writing (optional essay), the test will take you around 3 hours and 40 minutes. 

What is the lowest acceptable ACT score?

A score ranging between 15 to 17 is the lowest acceptable score that is accepted by many colleges. 

How long are ACT scores valid?

The ACT scores are valid for a period of five years from the date of the examination.  

When are ACT scores available? 

The ACT scores are generally declared after ten days from the examination date. Sometimes, it may also take longer, up to 24 days.

How many times can you take the ACT? 

One can take the ACT examination up to 12 times. Most students take up the ACT examination 2 to 3 times even before applying for college, which may help them to improve their scores. 

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