ACT Writing Score Breakdown And Criteria

ACT Writing Score Breakdown And Criteria

Are you awaiting your ACT results, or are you preparing for your ACT writing? Either way, it is time to keep calm and relax because we have got you covered with all your worries on ACT writing scoring criteria. 

The pieces of information provided here are updated and revised unlike many other platforms, so make sure to go through them thoroughly.

The ACT writing section is much different than the other three subjects. It is optional, not included in the composite score, and there is a slight difference in marking. But don’t consider it unnecessary because some courses do demand and prefer students who have written ACT essays.

We understand that it might be confusing and new to some people out there, at tychr we try helping out students, from our researches and understandings. So here we have made a non-confusing ACT writing score breakdown for you!

ACT writing score unlike the other subjects is scored out of 12. Two graders will be assigned who will be scoring your ACT paper separately on 6, which means each grader will have to provide you a score in 6, for every separate domain.

Which will then be converted into an average of 12! This was different a few years back, it was only from 2015 such a change was brought in order to reduce confusion.

Before we get back to the domains, let us just recap on the ACT writing in general. ACT writing is an optional and final test in ACT, the test will consist of one writing prompt that will discuss a complicated problem and give three distinct perspectives on it.

After that, you’ll be expected to produce an argumentative essay about the subject. All this within 40 mins.Note that there are no right and wrong answers here, the essay is supposed to be subjective in perspective, therefore, making it not that easy to grade.

This is exactly why they have introduced four domains or areas on which they will judge your writing.

Also Read: Stressed? Read These 5 Tips to Release All Your Worries!

Idea and Analysis

This domain concentrates more on your creativity and influence talent. For the essay to be more engaging and influential, you need to be very persuasive. Have a clear idea of your perspective which could lead you to a proper thesis statement (make sure to provide your thesis statement in the introductory paragraph).

Make sure it is comprehensible and crystal clear. Don’t merely agree or disagree with points of view; thoroughly investigate their strengths and flaws. You must “examine the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective,” according to the prompt.

It will be very difficult to get over a 2 or 3 in the Ideas and Analysis Domain if you fail to describe how your perspective links to any other position.

Development and Support

The title speaks for it, every statement requires plausible support for it to be qualified as a truly authentic perspective. Approach this through reasoning or setting examples . if you run out of creative examples, just provide faithful and sensible reasoning.

But if you are planning to go all artiste, use examples as a form of illustrations, make up a new one or draw it from real life. To score better make sure you don’t go full-on striking on the perspective. Give it a space for diplomacy, try pointing out both pros and cons to the perspective that you have chosen,


The essay that you write must be both clear and easy to read, so make sure to have your writing organized and structured.  By organizing it does not just mean your paragraphs but each and every idea you produce, your ideas need to have a standard clarity and purpose.

Logically group your ideas dividing them into distinct paragraphs, for example, placing each perspective in its own paragraph, or explicitly connecting different parts of the same concept in the same paragraph. Regardless of how you structure your essay, make it as simple as possible to follow your arguments.

Language Use and Conventions 

Use clear and beautiful language, and don’t confuse beautiful with complex. Our aim within this 40 minutes exam would be to present our thoughts properly, not complexly. Have good grammar and spelling throughout and if you want to be more decorative try including a variety of punctuations.

Never use internet slang even if it might be tempting. When it comes to sentences use short and long sentences but also keep in mind to spice up the starting words of sentences- nonrepetitive and catchy.

Now that you are clear with your doubts, it is time to put them into action. If you don’t want to straight away get into exam mode, prep yourself with a few free practice tips and papers that you can find here.

In conclusion

  • Pick a position
  • Stay focused to the point
  • Support your claims
  • Structure and organize well
  • Do justice to your language

Are you still worried about your marks?

Frankie says relax!

The average ACT writing score out of 12 is only 7 ! Most students score 7 and above in their ACT writing. There is very little probability that you would score less than 7 and with these amazing tips, you could even score a 12!

Here is an ACT writing score percentile table to make yourself feel better.

12 100th
11 99th
10 98th
9 95th
8 87th
7 65th
6 45th
5 23rd
4 11th
3 3rd
2 1st

Practice more and more until you get there, that is the only way to ace it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is the ACT Writing section, and how is it scored?

A: The ACT Writing section is an optional section of the ACT that requires students to write an essay in response to a prompt. The essay is scored on a scale of 2-12, with 12 being the highest score. The essay is scored by two trained readers, who each give the essay a score from 1-6. The two scores are then averaged to get the final score.

Q2: What are the criteria for scoring the ACT Writing section?

A: The ACT Writing section is scored based on four criteria: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions. Each criterion is scored on a scale of 1-6, and the two readers’ scores are averaged for each criterion to get an overall score out of 12.

Q3: How can I improve my ACT Writing score?

A: To improve your ACT Writing score, you should focus on the four scoring criteria: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions. Practice writing essays that demonstrate strong critical thinking skills, develop your ideas with specific examples and evidence, use a clear and logical organizational structure, and demonstrate mastery of standard English conventions.

Q4: What is the ACT writing score breakdown and criteria? 

A: The ACT Writing test is scored on a scale of 2-12 by two independent readers, who each assign a score from 1-6 based on four domains:

  1. Ideas and Analysis: This domain evaluates the clarity of the writer’s thesis statement and the effectiveness of their reasoning, evidence, and examples in supporting it.
  2. Development and Support: This domain evaluates the writer’s ability to develop their ideas coherently and logically, using appropriate organization, transitions, and details to support their thesis.
  3. Organization: This domain evaluates the writer’s ability to structure their essay in a clear and effective way, with a well-constructed introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
  4. Language Use and Conventions: This domain evaluates the writer’s command of language, including their ability to use precise and varied vocabulary, maintain an appropriate tone and style, and adhere to standard conventions of grammar, usage, and punctuation.

Q5: Should I take the ACT Writing section?

A: Whether or not to take the ACT Writing section depends on the requirements of the colleges and universities you are interested in. If the institutions you are applying to require or recommend the ACT Writing section, then you should plan to take it. If not, you may choose to skip the Writing section and focus on the other sections of the ACT.

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