When you read the act essay tips in this guide, you will see that there is no need to fear these essays, but you do need to be prepared. Of course, you may be at a loss to know how you are meant to have time to prepare for an ACT test while coping with other high school work.
ACT tests end with an “optional” writing section. The prompt you are given contains three very different “takes” on one central essay topic. Your task is to evaluate each of the three “takes” in the essay you write.
You are given 40 minutes only to understand the essay prompt, devise a writing plan, and then write the entire thing. It should come as welcome news to know that those who grade ACT essays are not too strict. They understand that test-takers are under a lot of pressure to get finished.
Additionally, the act essay tips provided here should help speed up the writing process for you. It is worth noting that the essay section is only “optional” in the case of certain colleges and for certain scholarship-awarding organizations. Essay scores are only applicable where candidates take the entire ACT test in one exam sitting.
Consequently, one of the best act essay tips we can give is to recommend you complete the ACT test with the writing section. You are unlikely to want the pressure of taking the entire test again simply to complete the essay part.
What Method is Used to Score an ACT Essay?
The act essay score is based on a scaling of 1 – 12. Essays are scored on a 1 – 6 scaling in four separate areas by two graders. Therefore, the test-taker is awarded an overall score out of a possible 12 in each one of the four areas. The four separate scores are then averaged to devise a final out-of-12 total.
Top Tips on Writing an ACT Essay
Begin by Creating a Plan
- Study the Essay Prompt
Whether or not you already know how to write act essay papers, we think it is worth stating the obvious by saying the first step involves reading the essay prompt in order to understand what is required. There are four different perspectives given, which you need to analyze and work out how they are related.
Of these perspectives, each has certain features that open up the topic and provide direction for your essay. Three perspectives are provided in the essay prompt and you will need to think about and analyze the fourth one yourself. It is permissible to devise one further idea with respect to the central topic but we do not recommend this since, due to the act essay time limit, it is best to focus on the four existing ones.
- Generate Ideas to Develop Each Perspective
Our next piece of act essay advice concerns the need to explain the relationship that exists between your own perspective and the ones given in the prompt. One of the pairs at least need to be compared. These perspectives need to be challenged and this requires a little research work. Every perspective and viewpoint needs to be supported with evidence.
A key element in writing a perfect act essay is locating and selecting as much useful, relevant and effective evidence as you can. Make notes of general evidence and then create a shortlist.
- Analysis of the Other Viewpoints or Perspectives
Once you understand how to write an act essay, you will know there is no single correct way for completing this task. Develop your essay according to your own experience and the research you do. The optional essay in an ACT test can take any one of a number of directions. The outcome has little bearing on your viewpoint of the topic. It may be that you agree with a perspective that others disagree with or where there are other viewpoints that support that perspective. You will then need to develop your essay based on the relationship that exists between whichever perspective you are in favor of and the others.
If it is the case you find plenty good evidence to disagree with one of the perspectives and zero evidence in the other case, it is best to avoid any discussion on it. The task guidelines allow for this. However, it is important in the case of your own perspective to have very sound evidence.
Structuring an ACT Essay
So, “What is a good act essay score and does the structure of your essay contribute to the score?” Yes, it does, and when you have collected all evidence and are ready to start writing, it is time to think about structure. Start organizing your essay and start thinking about every detail and transition. Think about developing an essay outline.
Begin at the introductory section by deciding on a thesis statement and then proceed to the essay’s body and concluding section. Sometimes, people like to start at the end, the closing section. This is often sensible, particularly if you are unsure how to begin the essay but are already clear about how you will end.
Writing ACT Essays and SAT Essays
Once planning is complete, writing can begin. Allow adequate time for writing. Even if you already know how to write a good act essay, allow yourself at least half-an-hour and do not delay in getting started.
- Introductory Section
It is here you set out your essay’s thesis statement - the central idea in your entire essay. It gives your work direction and starts it off correctly.
Develop some catchy element in this opening section. Use a “hook” sentence to get readers interested so that they will want to keep reading. Also offer a compelling peek at your central theme and overall direction. Keep your introduction brief and interesting with a clearly-worded thesis and compelling message.
- Essay’s Main Body
The classic structure for an essay involves just three main body paragraphs. However, a lot depends on the essay type. Still, irrespective of the number of body paragraphs, you should refer back to the central thesis in every one as a way of reminding readers of your viewpoint.
Additionally, each separate point or idea should be given a new paragraph. Everything is then summarized in the concluding paragraph.
- Essay’s Concluding Section
In act writing essay and with most types of essay writing, it is here you summarize every point and/or idea and revisit your central thesis statement. Find a fresh way of presenting your key idea but avoid adding new ideas or directions.
Proofreading and Editing
Once the draft of your ACT essay is complete, it will need polishing.
Proofreading and editing is just as crucial as actually writing an act essay. Stay focus and take this stage seriously. Ready your essay aloud a few times to see how your words sound.
What You Should Not Do in an ACT Essay
Do not Try Repeating Ideas Instead of Developing Them
A common mistake among students is repeating ideas rather than developing new ideas. Students sometimes even repeat the exact words from a perspective and then reword this several times to make up a whole paragraph.
Certainly, a perspective needs to be restated somehow. But originality is essential and so is maintaining the writer’s own voice rather than mimicking text from the test’s instructions. Copying text directly and attempting to explain it in slightly different words repeatedly will not help you get the best score. It is also essential for test-takers to develop a perspective as well as putting it into their own words, which involves more than merely explaining a viewpoint.
It Is not Necessary to Agree With Every Perspective
This means the three perspectives. Prior to 2016, test-takers were asked to respond specifically to all three perspectives. Consequently, a lot of ACT test prep materials advised students (and some still do) that the best structural approach means beginning with an introductory section followed by three main body paragraphs with each one focused on a single perspective (i.e. cover perspective number one in the first body paragraph, perspective number two in the second, and so on), and end with a concluding paragraph.
The serious problem with this approach and its associated structure was realized. Students were attempting to discuss everything to the point it was difficult to decipher any clear perspective. The ACT essay prompt was revised in September of 2016 so that students now only need to respond to a minimum of one additional perspective rather than all three!
How to write ACT Essay (Sample ACT Essay Writing)
You need to write an ACT essay but you do not even know how to start? Read our professional sample ACT essay and learn the key details that should be included in it. Use your imagination, creative thinking, and analytical skills and you will be able to discuss even the most controversial topic from different perspectives. We assure you that by using our sample ACT essay as your source for ideas, you will be able to reach the desired outcome!
Discussion question: Year-round schooling is a particularly controversial issue nowadays as there is no clear viewpoint of what is wrong and what is right for children`s mental and physical development. In some states, the schools have already changed their educational calendars and transformed into year-round schools. The advocates of such a tendency claim that the traditional summer pause is no more than just a waste of time and this period is maximally effective for the children to study new materials and obtain new skills. Their opponents claim that the students are already overburdened with numerous assignments and need this pause to relax and forget about stresses related to the school assignments. State your position providing solid arguments.
“Summer break!” How many of us feel pleasant emotions of joy and happiness when hearing these words? Those words are a symbol of warm summer nights and funny activities with friends and family. This phrase is usually associated with the taste of freedom for many people as summer is the time when the cherished dreams come true because one is not limited by a tight schedule. Unfortunately, not many people realize that such a long pause is not very useful for a child`s development. Not all students can accept this fact, but having a few extra months could help them reach their long-term goals more quickly. Undoubtedly, having a few more months for obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills would be a great investment in the future. The colleges that applied a new tendency critically evaluated the students` performance and found out that time constraints did not allow some students to complete their goals in full. Therefore, they have decided to provide the children with such an opportunity and give them more time on the educational process. With all the pressures on the contemporary student, he/she finds it difficult to cope with all the challenges and, therefore, fail some of the courses. Having twelve months to study, the students would forget about the hard choices between the interesting courses. Having the opportunity to take some extra courses, they would find it easier to choose the right career path. Undoubtedly, understanding the importance of education for the person`s life, the answer to the question of year-round education becomes obvious.
In conclusion, it should be said that the school is the starting point in the life of every individual. It can be both the beginning of a successful life or a struggle with time and deferred dreams. A few extra months of education would positively contribute to the children`s development. However, at the same time, children need to understand that nobody wants to overburden them with the extra work. Having a few extra months, they would just have more chances to build the foundation of their successful future.
When writing our sample ACT essay we wanted to help the students think in a non-standard manner, use their imagination, and critical thinking skills. Push the limits and achieve excellent academic results!
Some Final Thoughts
Writing an ACT essay is not an especially easy task. It takes time but there is a simple way of getting it done properly. The expert writers at Essays-leader.com are on hand to provide you with a high-score essay and it will be delivered to you on time.