ACT Essay: Will You Try It or Skip It?

If a student decides to take the ACT in the process of applying to colleges, he or she will also get to choose whether or not to take the writing component of the ACT. This is an optional thirty minute section of the ACT that requires students to respond to a prompt with a written essay, which is quite similar to the structure of the essay section of the SAT. Students who opt to take the ACT with the writing section will get five scores in their test results, showing the score for this optional section, as well as scores for English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, which make up the core of the ACT.

ACT Essay: Who Should Try It?

Anyone who feels confident writing or has the time to sufficiently prepare for the ACT essay section may want to take the ACT Writing Test. Students who already perform well in essay writing should think of the writing section as an easy way to boost their ACT scores. For students who have the time to prepare for the essay section by practicing responding to prompts and by reviewing basic writing rules and strategies, the ACT writing section can still be a good choice. For students who struggle with writing and don’t have the time to practice building their writing skills, the best option is probably to skip the ACT essay section.

ACT Writing Test: How to Write a Good ACT Essay

The ACT essay requires students to argue for or against a prompt by creating a clear thesis supported by evidence. This means that students need to be comfortable formulating arguments and supporting their ideas with facts. Creating coherent, well-articulated theses can be one of the most difficult parts of writing, so students who have difficulty coming up with arguments might want to consider some private tutoring sessions to ensure that they have to skills they need to do well. Since the ACT only gives students half an hour to think about and write an essay, every second counts! It’s essential that students quickly move from reading the essay prompt to brainstorming to writing the essay. Every student is different, but on average a student should aim to spend 3-4 minutes on an outline, and the rest of the time on the essay itself. Always include an introduction and conclusion as well as 3-5 supporting paragraphs. Students should make sure they leave a minute or two at the end for reviewing and polishing the essay. Students need to feel confident that they have the writing tools to succeed, or else the writing section will be quite difficult. But if a student take the time to practice writing essays, builds up vocabulary, and goes into the test with an open, positive attitude, she or he has a chance to get a great score!