The writing section of both the ACT and SAT is optional—although we highly recommend you take it. All the same, just like with the test itself and the individual sub-tests, the written essay is scored and figured into the composite. So how does the average American student score on the essay portion?
ACT with Writing
Like with the rest of the sections, there is a total possible score of 36. The National average score for the 2015/16 cycle, however, was a 17. A lot of work goes into crafting a really good essay: a clear outline, good sentence structure, a persuasive argument, proper grammar and punctuation, and spelling are all key components.
SAT with Writing
With the recent SAT changes, the answer of score averages becomes a bit more difficult. Back in the “old” format, writing was mandatory and thus it was included in the Reading / Writing score of the test. Nowadays, however, the writing portion is optional and is graded separately. However, the College Board has not yet released SAT data for 2016. So we have no averages to report. The new SAT scores the essay in three categories: Reading, Analysis, and Writing—each with a score of 8. So, the perfect score would be 8/8/8. If we follow the ACT average’s example, we could estimate that an average SAT score would be about half of the best score possible—but that’s only speculation.
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