How does your ACT score compare? When you receive your ACT score, you might wonder how your score compares to other students in your state or nationwide. So what is the average ACT score, and how does yours compare? 

Average Score on the ACT

The latest scoring data shows that the average composite score on the ACT is 19.5. By section, the national averages are:

English average score: 18.6
Math average score: 19.0
Reading average score: 20.1
Science average score: 19.6

This data can help you understand where your score ranks. If you score a 20, that means you’re slightly above the 50th percentile and roughly 50% of test takers scored higher than you and 50% scored lower. 

Average Scores by State

This chart shows the latest data for average ACT scores by state. An important factor is the percentage of students who take the test in a particular state. In a state where the ACT is mandated for all high school juniors, overall scores might be lower since everyone takes the ACT.  Whereas, in other states, students might only take the ACT to use their scores in college applications, or students in a particular state may primarily take the SAT instead. 

State % taking the ACT Average Score
Alabama 100 18
Alaska 15 20.2
Arizona 98 17.7
Arkansas 96 18.6
California 4 25.7
Colorado 9 24.5
Connecticut 8 26.4
Delaware 4 24.8
District of Columbia 17 26
Florida 46 18.9
Georgia 28 21.3
Hawaii 64 17.9
Idaho 23 23
Illinois 16 24.5
Indiana 8 22.9
Iowa 48 20.8
Kansas 74 19.4
Kentucky 100 18.7
Louisiana 100 18.2
Maine 2 24.8
Maryland 7 24.5
Massachusetts 8 26.4
Michigan 7 24.4
Minnesota 68 20.8
Mississippi 100 19.8
Missouri 66 19.8
Montana 98 19.3
Nebraska 96 19.4
Nevada 100 17.3
New Hampshire 5 25.7
New Jersey 10 24.6
New Mexico 14 19.8
New York 9 25.3
North Carolina 90 18.5
North Dakota 96 19.2
Ohio 82 19.4
Oklahoma 100 17.8
Oregon 13 20.9
Pennsylvania 6 23.9
Rhode Island 5 24.5
South Carolina 40 18.8
South Dakota 59 21.1
Tennessee 100 18.4
Texas 23 19.3
Utah 90 19.2
Vermont 6 23.6
Virginia 8 24.6
Washington 6 24.5
West Virginia 26 20.3
Wisconsin 93 19.4
Wyoming 100 19
National 37 19.2

Want to compare your state’s scores with another state? The most accurate comparisons will exist between states that have similar percentages of students taking the ACT each year.

Does the average ACT score matter?

While the average ACT score can be a good benchmark to help you see where you stand compared to other students, especially in your state, it shouldn’t be your goal. 

Start by looking at the colleges you want to attend. If the admissions requirement at your top school is a 22, then you don’t want to settle for an average ACT score of 20.3. Even then, that can only be your final goal if you are looking to pay full price for college.

Set a realistic but ambitious goal for yourself. For some, that might be the state or national average ACT score. Others might have higher goals. If your ACT score is too low to receive any merit-based aid at your dream school, add a few more schools to your list!

Remember that you are your own biggest competition. Your goal should be to work your hardest to get your best score. That means preparing well, taking practice tests, and taking the ACT multiple times. Don’t compare yourself to your classmates or siblings. 

Keep taking the test. Most people earn their best score the third or fourth time they take the ACT. So don’t stop with your first (or even second) score! Keep working hard and pushing yourself to see how you can improve. 

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Whether you’re looking to improve your below-average score to above-average or to get into your best-fit college (and win those scholarship dollars!), ACT prep can help. Learn more on our website.