What is the ACT Writing test? It is important to know valuable tips about getting a high ACT Writing score during your test prep period. Guidelines for writing an effective ACT essay are a major prerequisite if you’re planning to take it along with the other ACT tests. Obtain all the vital information that you can, along with taking online ACT Essay practice tests to condition yourself for such. No surprises come your ACT day means you are fully confident and ready to tackle this academic feat. But do it as calmly as possible, too. In which case, you should also be knowledgeable about overcoming ACT test anxiety. That’s what we’re here for- to help you how to effectively prepare for the ACT Essay Writing test sans the jitters and poor performance.
Guidelines For Writing An ACT Essay
The ACT test is an important feat for high school students who plan to apply to college. The test is mainly multiple-choice, particularly in the Math, English, Science and Reading sections that aim to evaluate students’ skills and knowledge in such subjects. There is a Writing section as well, albeit optional, and it is designed to test the students’ proficiency in writing an essay. If you are good in writing, you can take the ACT Writing test and distinguish yourself as an accomplished writer to your chosen college.
The multiple-choice tests in the ACT are pretty much straightforward. You can learn your score through basic methods. The Essay test, on the other hand, is rather tricky. How can you score a perfect 12 in the ACT Writing test? This article discusses pertinent tips and tricks to guide you.
The ACT multiple-choice tests are set in black and white. You primarily read the question and select the best answer from the list of options. However, the Essay test lets you go beyond this steadfast method of testing, and it allows you to expand your skills and knowledge. The ACT website in fact states that you ought to create a “unified and coherent” essay wherein you:
- clearly state your own perspective on the issue and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective
- develop and support your ideas with reasoning and examples
- organize your ideas clearly and logically
- communicate your ideas effectively in Standard written English.
Obtaining a high score in the ACT Essay test needs you to adhere to these guidelines.
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How Is An ACT Essay Scored?
Your ACT essay will be scored according to a scale of 1 to 12. Two different graders will read and score your written piece and render it a score that ranges from 1 to 6 based on four different domains. Your score will be anything out of the total 12 in each of these domains. Then your total average score will be obtained. The highest and perfect score for the ACT Essay is 12. How can you achieve a score as high as or close to that? Read on for more tips below:
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5 Tips About How To Write A Perfect ACT Essay
- Take a good look at and scrutinize a perfect ACT Essay.
What does a perfect 12 ACT Essay look like? You should know thus in order to emulate it. As part of your ACT prep, and weeks before you walk into your testing center, meticulously examine essays that scored a 12 in the test. Read as many of these sample essays as you can- they are available online. Do a quick search in Google to acquire these study resources. Nonetheless, make sure that your materials are current and in congruence to the structure of the recent ACT Essay prompt. The structure of the writing section has been altered in the Fall of 2015.
Other than looking at essays that scored 12, you should check pieces that scored in the middle and lower ranges. Decipher the lapses of the poorly scored works and what can be improved on those that scored in the middle. Then the perfect 12 essays- what made them successful? What made them stand out from the mediocre pieces?
If you can access the notes from graders as they evaluated the essays, pay close attention to these. You should try to figure out what the graders are looking for in an exemplary ACT Essay.
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- Choose a perspective and adhere to it.
Pertaining to the writing prompt, it has been cited in the ACT website that “The test describes an issue and provides three different perspectives on the issue. You are asked to read and consider the issue and perspectives, state your own perspective on the issue, and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective on the issue. Your score will not be affected by the perspective you take on the issue.”
You are at liberty to choose your perspective, and to be able to write a strong essay, you have to be capable of effectively supporting and defending it. Whether you agree or disagree, or are on the median on the issue is not important- what matters is your writing. Scorers tend to give high scores on an essay that has a strong and well-structured point of view.
Although personally, you might disagree in your chosen perspective, you should be able to exhibit that you can competently argue a point. At the same time, make sure that you correlate your perspective to any one of the perspectives that has been included in the prompt. If you contradict such, address your counter arguments in one of the body paragraphs. Make the perspective contrary to your personal choice as support. You have to be able to demonstrate your comprehension of opposing views.
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- Use definite examples.
One of the tricks of writing an effective essay is to ground it with concrete examples. You can, for instance, mention an event or fact in history or current events to support your point of view. It’s an impressive way to show your knowledge. When you include examples, you can narrate a personal anecdote, but make sure to keep it concise and relevant.
Incorporating examples in your ACT Essay ought to be seamless. Again, take a closer look at perfect 12 essays about how the writers go about with it. Don’t wallow in abstract arguments, but instead recount concrete examples to make your piece appear solid. No need to put in obscure trivia or facts about the issue.
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- Be confident in showing your language skills.
A successful essay exhibits adeptness in the use of language. To do so, you can sprinkle high vocabulary words in your piece. Whenever you have the chance, add in advanced vocabulary words. The rule of thumb is to use 1 or 2 of such words in every paragraph.
Scorers would want to see a skillful use of the English language when grading ACT essays. While you’re at it, take time to vary your sentence structures. Apply devices such as complex sentences and rhetorical questions.
Then again, be wary of haphazard knowledge. Graders will know if you’re being careless or oblivious. Make sure that you know what you’re doing when utilizing complicated sentence structures or vocabulary. Do you know how to use a semi-colon? And you do know that it doesn’t function in the same way as a comma, right? It’s best to stick to what you’re good at and what you know. Better to employ a less complicated sentence structure that adheres to grammatical rules than an advanced grammatical concept that is laden with errors.
Finally, remember to keep your writing real. Scorers would want to read a down-to-earth and sensible essay than one that simply wants to electrify or titillate its readers. Your ACT essay should reflect your real persona as a writer.
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- Be keen about your timing and energy level.
You will be given a time limit of 40 minutes to accomplish a well-written essay in the ACT test. To avoid being caught in a time crunch, you have to allocate the right amount of time for planning, writing and editing of your text. Constant practice will help you achieve this. Practice writing an essay (at home) using a sample prompt. Give yourself 1 hour for starters and gradually harness your speed until you can make it in 40 minutes. Observe how fast or slow you are in each of the steps of writing your essay and fine tune your flow. Do you need more time for planning than writing? How many minutes does it usually take you to edit your final work?
Take into account that the ACT Writing test is the last part of your test. You need sufficient energy to tackle the different sections of the multiple-choice tests, but see to it that you can muster your mental strength to accomplish your essay as well. In this case, maximize your break time by eating your snacks and drinking water to hydrate yourself. Go to the restroom when necessary to avoid getting distracted or uncomfortable in the middle of responding to your test.
There are instances when students are tempted to speed up and breeze through with writing their essays. But remember that you will not be allowed to leave the testing room until everyone has finished, so it’s best to make full use of the allocated time for completing the ACT Writing test.
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