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Test PrepACTWriting

ACT Writing

Should you choose to take the ACT Plus Writing Test, you will be given this test after you complete the four multiple-choice tests. It’s 30-minute long and consists of one essay prompt.

The Writing Test does not play a role in your ACT Composite score. Instead, you will receive two additional scores, a Combined English/Writing score on the standard 1-36 scale and a Writing subscore on a scale of 2-12. Comments will also be included. Your essay will be scored by two separate readers, each of whom will provide a score from 1 to 6. The two scores will be added together for your final Writing subscore.

The Breakdown

The ACT Writing Test is a short essay and that’s it. There are no multiple-choice questions or any other question formats.

The prompt will present an issue and two opposing views on said issue. You will have a choice of arguing in favor of one of the viewpoints offered or providing a different viewpoint. Your score will be based on your mastery of rhetorical skills. The viewpoint you take won’t impact your score; you are only being judged on how well you present and support it.

Strategy Talk

Your score will be based on your ability to express your point of view, maintain focus on the issue, provide support for your perspective and organize your thoughts clearly and logically as well as your use of clear and effective language in the time allotted. Pacing is key; you will only have thirty minutes and not finishing your essay will result in a lower score. One of the most important things you can do is to take some time at the beginning to draft a brief outline of your essay before starting to write. This will provide you with a roadmap to refer to while you write and help keep your thoughts focused.

You’ll also want to leave enough time at the end to read through your essay and correct any obvious grammatical and spelling errors. This will also allow you time to add in transitional sentences and address issues of continuity.

Preparation Tips

The best preparation is threefold:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the types of prompts you are likely to see.
  2. Practice outlining an essay in less than 5 minutes.
  3. Practice drafting short essays in 20-25 minutes.
Finally, we recommend reading articles and editorials/opinion pieces on current events. This will help you develop a sense of what makes writing effective and persuasive.



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Don Munce