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Are you taking the ACT with Writing? No need to stress! The ACT essay follows a predictable format, which means you can practice and prepare beforehand. Take a look at a sample ACT writing prompt and learn five key steps to penning a high-scoring essay.
Keep in mind: The ACT writing essay is optional. Currently, only 27 colleges and universities require the ACT with Writing. You can see the complete list here . If there is any chance that you might apply to one of those schools, you should register for the ACT with Writing. Not sure where you will apply? You should strongly consider signing up for the essay and keep your options open.
ACT with Writing: Sample Prompt
This example writing prompt comes straight from our book ACT Prep :
Education and the Workplace
Many colleges and universities have cut their humanities departments, and high schools have started to shift their attention much more definitively toward STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and away from ELA (English, Language Arts). Representatives from both school boards and government organizations suggest that the move toward STEM is necessary in helping students to participate in a meaningful way in the American workplace. Given the urgency of this debate for the future of education and society as a whole, it is worth examining the potential consequences of this shift in how students are educated in the United States.
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the shift in American education.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the issue of how schools should balance STEM and ELA subjects. In your essay, be sure to:
- analyze and evaluate the perspectives given
- state and develop your own perspective on the issue
- explain the relationship between your perspective and those given
Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different. Whatever the case, support your ideas with logical reasoning and detailed, persuasive examples.
How to Write the ACT Essay
Your job is to write an essay in which you take some sort of position on the prompt, all while assessing the three perspectives provided in the boxes. Find a way to anchor your essay with a unique perspective of your own that can be defended and debated, and you are already in the upper echelon of scorers.
Step 1: Work the Prompt
What in the prompt requires you to weigh in? Why is this issue still the subject of debate and not a done deal?
Step 2: Work the Perspectives
Typically, the three perspectives will be split: one for , one against , and one in the middle . Your goal in Step 2 is to figure out where each perspective stands and then identify at least one shortcoming of each perspective. For the example above, ask yourself:
- What does each perspective consider?
- What does each perspective overlook?
Read More: What's a Good ACT Score?
Step 3: Generate Your Own Perspective
Now it's time to come up with your own perspective! If you merely restate one of the three given perspectives, you won’t be able to get into the highest scoring ranges. You’ll draw from each of the perspectives, and you may side with one of them, but your perspective should have something unique about it.
Step 4: Put It All Together
Now that you have your ideas in order, here's a blueprint for how to organize the ACT essay. This blueprint works no matter what your prompt is.
Step 5: (If There's Time): Proofread
Spend one or two minutes on proofreading your essay if you have time. You’re looking for big, glaring errors. If you find one, erase it completely or cross it out neatly. Though neatness doesn’t necessarily affect your grade, it does make for a happy grader.
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2021-22 ACT Writing Practice Test Sample Essays
Welcome to Piqosity’s guide to the 2021-22 ACT writing practice test! Below are sample essays that illustrate how to (and how not to) answer the previously released 2021-22 ACT prompt, as found in the Writing section of the previously released 2021-2022 ACT exam (from “Preparing for the ACT Test” (form 2176CPRE)).
The full PDF of the previously 2021-22 ACT is available FREE from the ACT for download. The ACT Writing portion explained below begins on page 52.
You can find additional Piqosity guides with answer explanations for the previously released 2021-22 ACT Practice Test in this series of articles:
- English Answer Explanations from 2021-2022 ACT Practice Test
- Math Answer Explanations from 2021-2022 ACT Practice Test
- Reading Answer Explanations from 2021-2022 ACT Practice Test
- Science Answer Explanations from 2021-2022 ACT Practice Test
- Writing Answer Explanations from 2021-2022 ACT Practice Test (this article)
When you’re finished reviewing the 2021-22 ACT Writing Practice Test PDF and guide, keep practicing for the ACT with Piqosity! We provide 10 additional full-length practice ACT tests , 70+ lessons and tutorials, personalized practice, and more!
The 2021-22 ACT Writing Prompt & Sample Essays
Remember that you have only 40 minutes to familiarize yourself with the prompt, plan your essay, and write it out. It is recommended that you take no more than 10 minutes to plan your essay, so that you have the rest of the time to write and review it. The test booklet includes blank pages for you to use when planning your essay. These blank pages are not scored; only the lined pages on which you write your essay will be scored.
Well-Written Essay Sample
First, let’s look at a sample essay which would likely receive the highest possible score (a 6 in all categories, which results in a final ACT Writing score of 12). A top-scoring essay will align with the following ACT scoring rubric descriptions:
Many schools implement both academic and behavioral standards as prerequisites for joining an extracurricular activity. While this practice ensures that the students in a club remain accountable for their grades and behavior, it leaves out students who are unable to do so – particularly students who struggle with their grades. Students who struggle with their grades could still benefit from extracurricular activities, whereas students with unsatisfactory behavior would disrupt the activity and poorly represent the school. There should be behavioral standards for students that permit them to take part in extracurricular activities; however, academic excellence should not be a barrier between students and their participation in these activities. By withholding enriching opportunities from struggling students who don’t otherwise impede the experience of other students, schools actively inhibit their growth as individuals. Extracurricular programs, teams, and clubs are spaces where students can form relationships with other students, build skills that they wouldn’t have the capacity to otherwise, and develop responsibility, teamwork, and leadership – all skills that can enrich their future social lives, academic experiences, and employment opportunities. They also provide an avenue for students to develop their individuality; students must take generally the same courses during their K-12 years and often don’t have a voice in choosing those classes, so offering a way for students to decide their own path helps them develop their own agency. Naturally, many students have certain academic weaknesses; for example, while a student may thrive in History and English classes, they may struggle to grasp the concepts of Math or Physics, no matter how hard they try and how many hours of studying they pour into it. Thus, they may be unable to reach the academic standards for extracurriculars. To bar these students from thoroughly beneficial extracurricular activities is unnecessarily harmful, especially since unsatisfactory grades have no negative consequences for the activities themselves. By contrast, if school programs are open to students who disrupt the school environment, this would harm the success of the activity (such as distracted or irresponsible participants) and a negative representation of the school in off-campus events. Since it is very likely that disruptive students would behave similarly in a program outside of school hours, implementing behavioral standards for students and specifying that only students with good conduct are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities would improve student and school life. Encouraging excellent conduct by opening extracurricular activities to only well-behaved students also encourages the student body to improve their behavior as a whole – if a certain student has poor conduct of their own accord and wishes to join the debate club, for instance, they may work to improve their conduct in order to join the club. It is true that many students have behavioral issues at school due to circumstances outside of their control, such as issues at home or with their mental health. These students deserve the support of their school; however, allowing them to participate in extracurricular activities can disrupt and hinder the experiences of other participants and the success of the club. Alternatively, academic shortcomings have no effect on the club’s success nor the experience of other students. Some may argue that it is unfair to hold club participants to a higher standard than other students who are not interested in participating in extracurricular activities. But participation in extracurriculars is a privilege, and the disadvantages students with poor conduct are likely to bring to club activities and events justify a stricter standard of conduct that helps to protect this privilege. Extracurricular activities should be open to students that have good conduct, regardless of their grades. Holding students to a standard of excellent conduct in order to participate in these activities encourages the whole student body to improve their conduct and insulates the clubs from disruptive students, while including academically struggling students allows them to experience the many benefits of extracurricular activities and encourages their growth outside of the classroom.
Well-Written Sample Essay Score Explanation
Let’s look at how this essay aligns with the rubric descriptions for a score of 6 in each domain. Text in quotes comes from the rubric; italicized text comes from the student’s essay.
Ideas and Analysis
“The writer generates an argument that critically engages with multiple perspectives on the given issue. The argument’s thesis reflects nuance and precision in thought and purpose.”
The author’s thesis is easily located at the end of the first paragraph: There should be behavioral standards for students that permit them to take part in extracurricular activities; however, academic excellence should not be a barrier between students and their participation in these activities. This thesis – and the introductory paragraph on the whole – actively engages with the three perspectives laid out in the prompt, clearly states the central argument, and incorporates nuance by distinguishing between academic and behavioral standards.
“The argument establishes and employs an insightful context for analysis of the issue and its perspectives. The analysis examines implications, complexities and tensions, and/or underlying values and assumptions.”
The essay has a core idea that extracurricular activities are very beneficial (paragraph 2) and supports this idea with examples of how extracurriculars can enhance a student’s experience. It goes on to evaluate the potential reasons (bad behavior, poor academic behavior) for barring students from these experiences in light of which reasons have the potential to disrupt extracurricular activities for all involved. The writer supports the main idea further by evaluating counterarguments (paragraph 4). They address the idea that while both bad behavior and bad scholastic performance may be caused by issues outside of a student’s control, only bad behavior has the potential to disrupt extracurricular activities for others. The author clarifies that students with behavioral issues “ deserve the support of their school” but not at the expense of other students’ experiences.
Finally, the writer cinches their argument that participation in extracurricular activities should be open to all students, regardless of academic standing, by highlighting the importance of giving academically struggling students the opportunity to be well-rounded in an environment that is not disrupted by behavioral issues.
Development and Support
“Development of ideas and support for claims deepen insight and broaden context. An integrated line of skillful reasoning and illustration effectively conveys the significance of the argument. Qualifications and complications enrich and bolster ideas and analysis.”
One of the essay’s core ideas is that extracurricular activities are beneficial, and the author supports this idea by developing reasons why they are important: “ Extracurricular programs, teams, and clubs are spaces where students can [develop] skills that can enrich their future social lives, academic experiences, and employment opportunities… They also provide an avenue for students to develop their individuality… ”
The author also uses clear, intermittent examples of students engaging with school and extracurriculars to convey the real-life uses of their ideas: “… if a certain student has poor conduct of their own accord and wishes to join the debate club, for instance, they may work to improve their conduct in order to join the club. And, “… for example, while a student may thrive in History and English classes, they may be unable to grasp the concepts of Math or Physics, no matter how hard they try…”
Finally, the author draws a firm distinction between how academic issues and behavior issues might affect the success of students participating in extracurricular activities. They state that “ unsatisfactory grades don’t impact the activities…” but that “it is very likely that disruptive students would behave similarly in a program outside of school hours .”
“The response exhibits a skillful organizational strategy. The response is unified by a controlling idea or purpose, and a logical progression of ideas increases the effectiveness of the writer’s argument.”
The writer uses a five-paragraph essay structure, utilizing the first body paragraph to discuss academic standards, the second to discuss behavior standards, and the third to discuss counterarguments. The arguments logically build upon one another as the author develops support for their thesis, namely; extracurricular activities are important and should be available to all students who may benefit from them; implementing academic standards creates unnecessary barriers to well-behaved students who would become more well-rounded while participating in these programs; implementing behavioral standards protects said students from disruptive behavior and supports the continued success of the programs themselves. These ideas are then bolstered as the author refutes counterarguments.
“Transitions between and within paragraphs strengthen the relationships among ideas.”
By beginning with the phrase, “By contrast,” the topic sentence of the third paragraph simultaneously establishes a relationship between the ideas discussed in the second and third paragraph and while making it clear that the latter issue will differ in some way to the former. And this is, in fact, what occurs; the second paragraph concludes by stating that academic issues have “no negative consequences ” for extracurricular activities, while the third paragraph begins by stating that behavioral issues “ would harm the success of the activity…” The author also uses transitions within their paragraphs to help clarify their ideas, such as the use of “For example” in paragraph two to illustrate a point via a list of examples, and “Alternatively” in paragraph 4 to present a counter argument.
“The use of language enhances the argument. Word choice is skillful and precise. Sentence structures are consistently varied and clear. Stylistic and register choices, including voice and tone, are strategic and effective.”
There are no significant language or grammar problems. The author uses a wide range of vocabulary ( enriching, withholding, unsatisfactory ) and precise language. Throughout, the student also uses appropriate academic language and a formal tone. Sentence length varies; a wide variety of punctuation is used correctly. All of this indicates a strong command of written English.
Mediocre Essay Sample
Now, let’s look at a sample essay which would likely receive middling scores (a 3 in all categories, which results in a final ACT Writing score of 6). A mid-scoring essay will align with the following ACT scoring rubric descriptions:
Extracurricular activities should be open to all students who want to do them because it is fair to everyone and it is unfair to keep students from doing it, no matter what your point of view is. Banning any students that don’t have the best conduct or grades from them would make school unbearable for them and it wouldn’t help them do any better in school. Plus schools would lose a lot of opportunities that good student athletes or actors would give them by limiting who could be in these programs. Some people have a lot of trouble focusing when they’re in school because of problems outside of school or because they are being taught things that won’t matter in their lives. Trouble focusing leads to bad grades and bad conduct. If they couldn’t participate in extracurricular activities, school would become a terrible place for them. Think of all the times an athlete helped there school team win a game, or student musicians who finally learned to play that difficult note. These students don’t have bad grades or conduct on purpose so they are punished for things out of their control. Extracurricular activities help students become who they want to be in life. They let kids try new things, and find what they like. For example someone may be interested in sports and try out for soccer. Next thing you know, they go to college on a soccer scholarship and get on a really good team after college! Or there’s a student who’s always liked movies and plays who tries out for the drama club. Turns out, they become an A-list celebrity and actor in tons of hit movies! Even if students don’t end up becoming what they do as an extracurricular activity, it’ll still help them in the future. Like a student on the debate team can become a lawyer, or someone in band keeps playing their instrument for the rest of their life. Limiting the number of students who can do extracurricular activities won’t only make the lives of students more miserable, but it would hurt the school. Schools can get a lot of money for really good sports teams or other clubs. And think about how much people like the schools that a bunch of famous athletes, successful writers, or CEOs came from. They may have been students on the basketball team, book club, or business club. Schools get prestige from these kinds of graduates, which make them more successful schools. The solution is to make school itself a better place for students. Stop punishing students for misbehaving and doing bad in class. Give longer time between classes and for lunch so that they can relax and get energized for class. And continue offering extracurricular activities so that the students can have better lives and the school can have more success.
Mediocre Sample Essay Score Explanation
Let’s look at how this essay aligns with the rubric descriptions for a score of 3 in each domain. Text in quotes comes from the rubric; italicized text comes from the student’s essay.
“The writer generates an argument that responds to multiple perspectives on the given issue. The argument’s thesis reflects some clarity in thought and purpose.”
The student’s thesis seems to be Extracurricular activities should be open to all students who want to do them because it is fair to everyone and it is unfair to keep students from doing it, no matter what your point of view is. This thesis acknowledges the presence of multiple perspectives and is clear, but it dismisses perspectives it does not share without providing a counterargument.
“The argument establishes a limited or tangential context for analysis of the issue and its perspectives. Analysis is simplistic or somewhat unclear.”
There are a few claims in the body of this essay without adequate support, such as If they couldn’t participate in extracurricular activities, school would become a terrible place for them. Why would school become a terrible place? The conclusion consists of clear solutions to this problem, without a clear explanation of the problem: Stop punishing students for misbehaving and doing bad in class. Give longer time between classes and for lunch so that they can relax and get energized for class. And continue offering extracurricular activities…
The student doesn’t engage with perspectives other than their own past the thesis, and the essay doesn’t present nor refute the reason students may be barred from extracurriculars based on academic or behavioral status.
“Development of ideas and support for claims are mostly relevant but are overly general or simplistic. Reasoning and illustration largely clarify the argument but may be somewhat repetitious or imprecise.”
Throughout the essay, the student gives many examples to illustrate their point; though, they are somewhat repetitive: Think of all the times an athlete helped there school team win a game, or student musicians who finally learned to play that difficult note… For example someone may be interested in sports and try out for soccer. Next thing you know, they go to college on a soccer scholarship and get on a really good team after college!… And think about how much people like the schools that a bunch of famous athletes, successful writers, or CEOs came from.
The examples do illustrate their ideas well to the reader, but their repetitiveness and simplicity weakens the argument. For example, see the second sentence in paragraph 4: Schools can get a lot of money for really good sports teams or other clubs. And think about how much people like the schools that a bunch of famous athletes, successful writers, or CEOs came from. There is no explanation of how schools “get a lot of money” for this. Naturally, the student isn’t expected to understand the intricacies of something like this, but, since they plan on using it as a supporting idea in their argument, they should understand the basics to strengthen their argument.
“The response exhibits a basic organizational structure. The response largely coheres, with most ideas logically grouped.”
The student organized their essay into a traditional five-paragraph structure, with each paragraph having a generally clear purpose. However, each paragraph seems to stand alone. They do not build upon each other to create a convincing argument, nor do they present counter arguments.
“Transitions between and within paragraphs sometimes clarify the relationships among ideas.”
A few paragraphs are straightforward enough with their ideas that a clear transition isn’t integral to the flow of the essay. For example, the second paragraph’s end discusses the joys of extracurriculars that students may miss out on and the third paragraph begins with the clear benefits of extracurriculars, which are two overlapping ideas. A clearer transition, however, would have been beneficial between the third and fourth paragraphs, which jump from the idea of how limiting extracurriculars hurts students to the idea of how schools need extracurriculars to boost funding.
“The use of language is basic and only somewhat clear. Word choice is general and occasionally imprecise. Sentence structures are usually clear but show little variety.”
The author uses a limited vocabulary, with language that could be more refined and precise. For example, Schools can get a lot of money could be made more precise into “Schools can receive more funding” or a similar phrase, conveying how/why schools can “get a lot of money” or who/where it is from.
Sentence structure is clear, but generally the same throughout. Many sentences start with “like”, “for example”, “plus”, or a coordinating conjunction before proceeding to list an argument or example. The lack of variation between sentences loses the reader’s attention and creates monotony in the writing.
“Stylistic and register choices, including voice and tone, are not always appropriate for the rhetorical purpose. Distracting errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics may be present.”
The author’s language choices are overly colloquial and should be presented more formally, with an academic tone. For example the sentence, “ Next thing you know, they go to college on a soccer scholarship and get on a really good team after college!” would be more appropriate as: “ Participation on a school soccer team could open doors and create opportunities, from an academic scholarship to college to a career in athletics, personal training, coaching, and beyond.”
Some of the more language choices come across as hyperbolic, as they are presented without sufficient evidence and may even be perceived by a reader as contrasting with the primarily casual tone. Limiting the number of students who can do extracurricular activities won’t only make the lives of students more miserable or Banning any students that don’t have the best conduct or grades from them would make school unbearable for them … are two places in which a very strong adjective is used to describe how school makes students feel without sufficient reasoning to warrant this word use.
There are spelling and grammar errors throughout, as well.
- “There” in place of the correct “their”
- Missing comma after “purpose” before the coordinating conjunction “so”
- Extra comma after “things” before the coordinating conjunction – “find what they like” is a dependent clause so no comma is required
- Missing comma after the introductory phrase “For example”
Get More ACT Writing Practice Test Help with Piqosity!
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ACT Writing Prompts | Real World Examples
The best way to prepare for the ACT Writing section is getting an idea of what you’ll actually face beforehand. To make life easier, here are a number of previous ACT Writing prompts to practice with before test day.
Here are some additional ACT Writing section hacks to help prepare you before test day.
The ACT Writing section is the only optional one on the test.
Students have 40 minutes to write one essay. Students will receive an essay prompt providing three different perspectives on a specific issue.
It is then up to the student to write an original essay that presents their own views on the stated issue. However, that view must relate to one of the prompt’s provided perspectives.
Once submitted, two graders evaluate the essay on a scale of 1 to 6 across 4 criteria:
- Ideas and Analysis
- Development and Support
- Language Use and Convention
Students receive a total writing score averages together these criteria subscores.
ACT Writing Prompts: Example 1
Intelligent Machines (source: ACT.org )
Many of the goods and services we depend on daily are now supplied by intelligent, automated machines rather than human beings. Robots build cars and other goods on assembly lines, where once there were human workers. Many of our phone conversations are now conducted not with people but with sophisticated technologies. We can now buy goods at a variety of stores without the help of a human cashier. Automation is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what is lost when we replace humans with machines? Given the accelerating variety and prevalence of intelligent machines, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of their presence in our lives.
Perspective One: What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.
Perspective Two: Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.
Perspective Three: Intelligent machines challenge our long-standing ideas about what humans are or can be. This is good because it pushes both humans and machines toward new, unimagined possibilities.
Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing presence of intelligent machines.
ACT Writing Prompts: Example 2
Public Health and Individual Freedom (source: ACT.org )
Most people want to be healthy, and most people want as much freedom as possible to do the things they want. Unfortunately, these two desires sometimes conflict. For example, smoking is prohibited from most public places, which restricts the freedom of some individuals for the sake of the health of others. Likewise, car emissions are regulated in many areas in order to reduce pollution and its health risks to others, which in turn restricts some people’s freedom to drive the vehicles they want. In a society that values both health and freedom, how do we best balance the two? How should we think about conflicts between public health and individual freedom?
Perspective One: Our society should strive to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. When the freedom of the individual interferes with that principle, freedom must be restricted.
Perspective Two: Nothing in society is more valuable than freedom. Perhaps physical health is sometimes improved by restricting freedom, but the cost to the health of our free society is far too great to justify it.
Perspective Three: The right to avoid health risks is a freedom, too. When we allow individual behavior to endanger others, we’ve damaged both freedom and health.
Write a unified, coherent essay about the conflict between public health and individual freedom.
ACT Prompt Example 3
Kid Stuff (source: ACT.org )
Toys are for children, right? Not anymore. In recent years, things that used to be considered “”kid stuff”” have grown in popularity among grownups. Nowadays, adults regularly play video games, watch animated movies and television show, purchase dolls and other collectible figures, and read comic books for their own enjoyment. Is adult enjoyment of children’s entertainment merely a sign of immaturity? In what ways can playing with kid stuff change the way adults understand today’s youth? Given that toys, games, and publications that used to be exclusively for children are growing in popularity among adults, it is worth considering the effects and implications of this trend.
Perspective One: It’s good for adults to be familiar with kid stuff. They’ll understand the lives of children better and be more responsive to their needs, interests, and problems.
Perspective Two: Adults need to be models of maturity and responsibility. When they act and think like children, kids have no one to look to for guidance.
Perspective Three: Children need their own cultural space—their own books, their own toys, their own movies—in which to explore their ideas. When adults start to take over the space, kids lose out.
Write a unified, coherent essay about the trend of adults playing with kid stuff.
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ACT Writing Sample Essay Topics
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*Please Note! This information relates to the old ACT Writing Test. For information on the Enhanced ACT Writing Test, which began in the fall of 2015, please see here!
The ACT Writing Test prompt will do two things:
- Describe an issue that's relevant to a high schooler's life
- Ask the writer to write about the issue from his or her own perspective
Typically, the sample prompts will give two perspectives on the issue. The writer can decide to prove one of the perspectives or create and support a new perspective on the issue.
ACT Writing Sample Essay Prompt 1
Educators debate extending high school to five years because of increasing demands on students from employers and colleges to participate in extracurricular activities and community service in addition to having high grades . Some educators support extending high school to five years because they think students need more time to achieve all that is expected of them. Other educators do not support extending high school to five years because they think students would lose interest in school and attendance would drop in the fifth year. In your opinion, should high school be extended to five years?
ACT Writing Sample Essay Prompt 2
In some high schools, many teachers and parents have encouraged the school to adopt a dress code. Some teachers and parents support a dress code because they think it will improve the learning environment in the school. Other teachers and parents do not support a dress code because they believe it inhibits a student's individual expression. In your opinion, should high schools adopt dress codes for students?
Source: The Real ACT Prep Guide, 2008
ACT Writing Sample Essay Prompt 3
A school board is concerned that the state’s requirements for core courses in mathematics, English, science, and social studies may prevent students from taking important elective courses like music, other languages, and vocational education. The school board would like to encourage more high school students to take elective courses and is considering two proposals. One proposal is to lengthen the school day to provide students with the opportunity to take elective courses. The other proposal is to offer elective courses in the summer. Write a letter to the school board in which you argue for lengthening the school day or for offering elective courses during the summer. Explain why you think your choice will encourage more students to take elective courses. Begin your letter: “Dear School Board:”
Source: www.act.org, 2009
ACT Writing Sample Essay Prompt 4
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires all school libraries receiving certain federal funds to install and use blocking software to prevent students from viewing material considered “harmful to minors.” However, some studies conclude that blocking software in schools damages educational opportunities for students, both by blocking access to Web pages that are directly related to the state-mandated curriculums and by restricting broader inquiries of both students and teachers. In your view, should the schools block access to certain Internet Web sites?
ACT Writing Sample Essay Prompt 5
Many communities are considering adopting curfews for high school students. Some educators and parents favor curfews because they believe it will encourage students to focus more on their homework and make them more responsible. Others feel curfews are up to families, not the community, and that students today need freedom to work and participate in social activities in order to mature properly. Do you think that communities should impose curfews on high school students? Source: The Princeton Review’s Cracking the ACT, 2008
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Overview of the act writing test, act practice writing prompts, tips for writing a strong act essay, how does the act impact your college chances.
Preparing for the ACT is a task that many high school students dread, as it requires hours of study and lots of practice before entering that testing room. One of the parts of the ACT that students have to practice for is the writing portion. Keep in mind, the ACT writing portion is actually optional, so you may only have to take it if your intended university requires it. Make sure to verify with your school.
Learn more about this portion of the ACT, how it can affect your score, and what elements you should include in your writing to achieve the best score you possibly can.
When you sit down to take the ACT writing test, know that it will be important to use your time wisely. You have 40 minutes to read through a prompt and three different perspectives of an issue. Typically, the three perspectives have a conservative view, a moderate view, and a progressive view. Note that this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily political in nature, but more of a view of how change may be positive or negative.
You’ll then assess the prompt, present your own perspective of the issue, and address at least one of the perspectives given to you in the essay. You must write your essay with a No. 2 pencil, so make sure you’re prepared.
The writing test is combined with your reading and English tests, and you must take the multiple choice portions before proceeding to the writing part of the exam. The test is graded on a score from 1-6, six being the best and one needing the most improvement. Your essay is graded by two separate people and they will combine those scores. So, you can reach a maximum score of 12.
When you get your prompt, it will be centered around an important societal issue. A great way to prepare for these types of prompts is to stay informed. That may mean watching the news, following news updates on social media, or even debating your viewpoints with others to practice.
Prompt: Many of the goods and services we depend on daily are now supplied by intelligent, automated machines rather than human beings. Robots build cars and other goods on assembly lines, where once there were human workers. Many of our phone conversations are now conducted not with people but with sophisticated technologies. We can now buy goods at a variety of stores without the help of a human cashier. Automation is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what is lost when we replace humans with machines? Given the accelerating variety and prevalence of intelligent machines, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of their presence in our lives.
Perspective 1: What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.
Perspective 2: Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.
Perspective 3: Intelligent machines challenge our long-standing ideas about what humans are or can be. This is good because it pushes both humans and machines toward new, unimagined possibilities.
How to Approach this Prompt
First, read through the prompt carefully to ensure you understand all aspects of the issue. After that, you need to read all three perspectives. Each will offer a different viewpoint of the situation or issue. Think about each one, decide your own perspective, and then determine which perspective or perspectives from the prompt that you’ll address in your writing.
After that, try to create a basic outline. Remember, you only have 40 minutes, so make sure to maximize your time. Your outline should have a thesis statement as well as some evidence to back up your viewpoint.
An essay with the top score of 6 would have insight, cautioning people to move slowly with adopting this kind of technology and addressing the potential economic and cultural implications. It would flow well, use advanced vocabulary, and display knowledge of proper grammar and spelling.
Public Health and Individual Freedom
Most people want to be healthy, and most people want as much freedom as possible to do the things they want. Unfortunately, these two desires sometimes conflict. For example, smoking is prohibited from most public places, which restricts the freedom of some individuals for the sake of the health of others. Likewise, car emissions are regulated in many areas in order to reduce pollution and its health risks to others, which in turn restricts some people’s freedom to drive the vehicles they want. In a society that values both health and freedom, how do we best balance the two? How should we think about conflicts between public health and individual freedom?
Perspective One : Our society should strive to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. When the freedom of the individual interferes with that principle, freedom must be restricted.
Perspective Two : Nothing in society is more valuable than freedom. Perhaps physical health is sometimes improved by restricting freedom, but the cost to the health of our free society is far too great to justify it.
Perspective Three : The right to avoid health risks is a freedom, too. When we allow individual behavior to endanger others, we’ve damaged both freedom and health.
How to Approach This Prompt
Remember, any essay you write needs to present your individual viewpoint and address at least one of the perspectives. Likely, this prompt was written before the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but if you were to get this prompt, you could address that in the essay and talk about how that has affected the concept of public health vs. freedom. This is a good example of why you need to stay informed in order to give the best argument possible in your essay, as you won’t know the prompt until you get there. That background knowledge could help you get a higher score.
Toys are for children, right? Not anymore. In recent years, things that used to be considered “kids stuff” have grown into popularity among grownups. Nowadays, adults regularly play video games, watch animated movies and television shows, purchase dolls and other collectible figures, and read comic books for their own enjoyment. Is adult enjoyment of children’s entertainment merely a sign of immaturity? In what ways can playing with kid stuff change the way adults understand today’s youth? Given that toys, games, and publications that used to be exclusively for children are growing in popularity among adults, it is worth considering the effects and implications of this trend.
Perspective one: It’s good for adults to be familiar with kid stuff. They’ll understand the lives of children better and be more responsive to their needs, interests, and problems.
Perspective two: Adults need to be models of maturity and responsibility. When they act and think like children, kids have no one to look to for guidance.
Perspective three: Children need their own cultural space—their own books, their own toys, their own movies—in which to explore their ideas. When adults start to take over that space, kids lose out.
This prompt asks you to contemplate whether adults should engage with kid’s toys and if the effects of engagement are positive or negative. Since there isn’t much robust data out there (that the wide public is aware of) the “data” you use to back up your opinion can come from your own experience as a kid, or as an adult playing with “kid’s toys.” To write a strong essay, remember to consider all three perspectives and anticipate arguments in favor of all three so you can pick the strongest one. If you are able to refute or acknowledge opposing or differing viewpoints, your essays will likely receive a higher score. Remember to organize your thoughts clearly, in paragraphs that flow from one to the next.
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While it is impossible to prepare for the exact prompt you’ll get once you’re seated in the testing room, it is possible to prepare yourself for writing an essay in a pretty short amount of time. The most important thing is to practice.
1. Practice, practice, practice.
Use the sample prompts above to draft essays and time yourself to see how long it takes. You’ll need to manage your time wisely, so practice is key to knowing how long you need on each step. Allot yourself some time to create a basic outline before you start. You want to ensure that your essay is as cohesive as possible.
2. Get organized now.
While you practice your essay, you may find that you tend to align with one perspective over the others. Use that to your advantage on testing day. The one you agree with will be the easiest to write about, and then you can combine the other two into one paragraph where you address why you don’t agree with them. If you head in with a strategy in place, it will make it a lot less difficult to construct your essay in the allotted 40 minutes.
3. Don’t spend too much time on grammar.
Yes, grammar is important. But, it’s not the end-all-be-all of your ACT writing test grade. Your time is precious, and you need to focus on getting your writing done in time. Instead, make sure you address all the key points and present a cohesive, strong essay with critical thinking demonstrated throughout. The same goes for vocabulary. Don’t spend time trying to think of a fancy word for “big.” Only focus on elevating your vocabulary after you have finished writing a cohesive essay.
4. Stay informed.
Stay up to date on current news events—and don’t just get your information from social media. According to Pew Research , people who get their news from social media are not as engaged and not as knowledgeable. You need to try and follow current events so that you can form an educated opinion for your essay. Those types of opinions, especially if you can back them up with facts, are the ones that are more likely to get you the top score of 5 or 6.
Along with that, you need to know basic history, too. The prompt may address how the world has changed or is changing in some way. You may need to mention events that have happened in the past, such as World War I, the Civil War, the industrial revolution, the civil rights movement, and others.
You may also need to use an example from your own life if your background knowledge ends up not applying to the prompt that you get. For example, think about what’s happened in your lifetime—when you were born, likely only a few people had smartphones. Today, almost everyone has one in their pocket with access to all of the information on the internet just a touch away. Sweeping changes that have occurred in your life could help you answer the prompt with substance and background.
Just like the SAT, your ACT score is influential in your college application. However, remember that not all universities require the ACT writing portion . If you’d like to find out your chances of getting into your dream school, CollegeVine offers a free chancing engine where you can input all of your information like GPA, AP classes, SAT/ACT scores, extracurriculars and more, to get an estimation of your chances. We even share tips on how to improve your odds.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, act essay format and templates you can use.
Most of the ACT is entirely multiple choice. All you have to worry about when answering the questions is that you're filling in the correct answer bubble!
But then there's that (optional) Writing section, which requires you to give your answer in words. How are you supposed to write a persuasive essay in 40 minutes? What format should your essay have? Is there an ACT essay template that can guarantee you a high score? We'll answer these questions in this article.
feature image credit: homework ritual by woodleywonderworks , used under CC BY 2.0 /Cropped from original.
What Does Your ACT Essay Need? 5 Key Elements
In order to do well on ACT Writing, your essay will need to have the following five elements (not necessarily in this order):
#1: An Introduction
The first thing the grader will see is your opening paragraph, so you should make a good impression. Don't just jump right into the meat of your essay— introduce your perspective (your thesis statement) and how it relates to the other perspective(s) you'll be discussing. You don't necessarily have to start out by writing your introduction (you can always leave a few lines blank at the top of your essay and come back to it after you've written your example paragraphs), but you MUST include it.
#2: Your Thesis Statement (should be in your introduction)
You must take a perspective on the issue presented in the prompt paragraph and state it clearly . I advise using one of the three perspectives the ACT gives you as your position/perspective; you can come up with your own perspective, but then you'll have less time to spend on writing the essay (which is not ideal with a time constraint). Your thesis statement (the statement of your perspective) should go in the introduction of your essay.
#3: A Discussion of the Relationship Between Perspectives
In your essay, you must discuss the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective . Make sure to discuss pros as well as cons for the perspectives you don't agree with to show you understand the complexities of the issue.
#4: Examples or Reasoning to Support Each Point
To support your arguments for and against each perspective, you need to draw on reasoning or specific examples . This reasoning should be in the same paragraph as the arguments. For instance, if your argument is about how globalization leads to greater efficiency, you should include your support for this argument in the same paragraph.
And it's not enough to just say "Because freedom" or "Because Stalin" or something like that as your support and leave it at that. You need to actually explain how your reasoning or examples support your point.
#5: Clear Organization
Avoid discussing multiple points in one paragraph. Instead, our recommended strategy is to discuss one perspective per paragraph . This organization will not only make it easier for you to stay on track, but will also make it easier for your essay's scorers to follow your reasoning (always a good thing).
ACT Essay Outline
The 5-paragraph structure might seem boring, but it is a good way to keep your points organized when writing an essay. For the ACT essay, you'll need an introduction, two to three body paragraphs (at least one paragraph for each perspective), and a conclusion . You should state your thesis in your introduction and conclusion (using different words in your conclusion so that you're not repeating yourself exactly).
So how do you write in this five paragraph structure on the ACT? I'll show you how to put the plan into action with an essay template that can be used for any ACT essay question. First, here's the prompt I'll be using:
Public Health and Individual Freedom
Most people want to be healthy, and most people want as much freedom as possible to do the things they want. Unfortunately, these two desires sometimes conflict. For example, smoking is prohibited from most public places, which restricts the freedom of some individuals for the sake of the health of others. Likewise, car emissions are regulated in many areas in order to reduce pollution and its health risks to others, which in turn restricts some people's freedom to drive the vehicles they want. In a society that values both health and freedom, how do we best balance the two? How should we think about conflicts between public health and individual freedom?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the conflict between public health and individual freedom.
Write a unified, coherent essay about the conflict between public health and individual freedom. In your essay, be sure to:
- clearly state your own perspective on the issue and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective
- organize your ideas clearly and logically
- explain the relationship between your perspective and those given
- communicate your ideas effectively in standard written English
Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different.
Next, I'll break down the ACT essay into its individual parts (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion) and give examples for what each should look like. Because I'm writing in response to a specific prompt, some of the information may not translate exactly from essay to essay; instead, focus on the structure of the paragraphs. I've bolded key structural words and phrases for you to focus on.
Introduction (2-3 sentences)
Begin your introduction with a general statement about the topic that draws the reader in; should provide some context for what you'll be discussing in the essay. Can be omitted if you're short on time (1-2 sentences).
As society progresses into the 21 st century, there are some pundits who create a false two-sided fight between individual liberty and complete dependence on the government.
Next comes your thesis statement that includes a clear position on the issue. For the highest score, you should also mention the other perspectives you'll be discussing in contrast to the position you've chosen (1 sentence).
While individual freedom is essential to society, the freedom to avoid health risks should supersede freedom of the individual when individual behavior endangers others.
Sample ACT essay introduction:
As society progresses into the 21 st century, there are some pundits who create a false two-sided fight between individual liberty and complete dependence on the government. While individual freedom is essential to society, the freedom to avoid health risks should supersede freedom of the individual when individual behavior endangers others.
Body Paragraph 1 (Opposing perspective) (5-7 sentences)
Open with a transition to a different perspective (1 sentence).
Perspective Two espouses the view that "[t]hose who give up freedom in order to gain security deserve neither."
Alternatively, if you don't want to name the specific perspective that opposes yours (or if you can't because you're comparing your perspective to a combination of ones given by the ACT):
Proponents of freedom of the individual above all else espouse the view that "[t]hose who give up freedom in order to gain security deserve neither."
Next, provide an example of how this perspective is somewhat true and explain why (2-3 sentences).
This perspective is true to some extent. For instance, in the Civil Rights movement, schools were integrated at the cost of both the mental well-being of racists, who had to deal with the blow to their world view, and the physical and emotional well-being of those being integrated, who had to deal with the abuse flung upon them by said racists. The freedom to attend any public school was deemed more important to society than the temporary mental, emotional, and in some cases physical health risks caused by that freedom.
Provide an example of how this perspective is mostly false when compared to the perspective you agree with and explain why (2-3 sentences).
However, Perspective Two[/this absolutist perspective] is not always a useful way to think about the world, particularly when life and death is at stake. During the Civil Rights movement, parents who were afraid their children might incur physical or even fatal harm from being forced to integrate still had the freedom to homeschool; the same goes for parents who were racist and did not wish their children to interact with children of "lesser" races. While the government pushed the issue of freedom of all people to attend all public schools, it could not make it mandatory for every child to attend a public school (rather than being homeschooled, or attending private or church school) and risk physical injury or worse.
Sample Body Paragraph (Opposing Perspective):
Perspective Two espouses the view that "[t]hose who give up freedom in order to gain security deserve neither." This perspective is true to some extent. For instance, in the Civil Rights movement, schools were integrated at the cost of both the mental well-being of racists, who had to deal with the blow to their world view, and the physical and emotional well-being of those being integrated, who had to deal with the abuse flung upon them by said racists. The freedom to attend any public school was deemed more important to society than the temporary mental, emotional, and in some cases physical health risks caused by that freedom. However, Perspective Two is not always a useful way to think about the world, particularly when life and death is at stake. During the Civil Rights movement, parents who were afraid their children might incur physical or even fatal harm from being forced to integrate still had the freedom to homeschool; the same goes for parents who were racist and did not wish their children to interact with children of "lesser" races. While the government pushed the issue of freedom of all people to attend all public schools, it could not make it mandatory for every child to attend a public school (rather than being homeschooled, or attending private or church school) and risk physical injury or worse.
Body Paragraph 2 (Opposing perspective) (5-7 sentences)
Same as above, except with another perspective you disagree with/don't entirely agree with. Make sure to use transition words so that the change of topic (from the previous perspective) isn't abrupt or unexpected.
To make your example of the Spanish Inquisition less unexpected, make sure to use transitions.
As of September 2016, the ACT no longer requires you to discuss all three perspectives in your essay; instead, you need only "clearly state your own perspective on the issue and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective."
If you've chosen only to discuss the relationship between your perspective and one other perspective, then this second body paragraph is optional . However, if you're limiting your analysis to one other perspective , then in order to fully explore the relationship between this other perspective and your own point of view you'll most likely need a second paragraph . In that case, this body paragraph should be similar in structure to the previous body paragraph.
Body Paragraph 3 (Your perspective) (5-7 sentences)
Acknowledge the value of the other perspective(s) you discussed, but affirm that your perspective is the truest one (1-2 sentences).
As can be seen from the examples above, sometimes the greater good means individual freedom is more important than personal health. For the most part, however, allowing individual behavior to harm others damages both freedom and health.
Provide one final example of why this perspective is true (3-5 sentences).
Some parents worry that vaccines contain toxic chemicals and so have fought for the right to not vaccinate their children against once deadly diseases like measles. By being allowed this freedom, however, these parents are not only putting their children at risk of catching these virulent diseases, but are risking the life of anyone with a compromised immune system who comes into contact with a non-vaccinated child. The results of the anti-vaccination movement can be seen in cases like the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland and the mumps outbreak at a New York City daycare company; both of these outbreaks unfortunately led to fatalities. When the health risks caused by personal freedom reach life-and-death stakes, it is necessary to restrict individual freedom in favor of freedom to avoid preventable health risks.
Sample Body Paragraph (Your Perspective):
As can be seen from the examples above, sometimes the greater good means individual freedom is more important than personal health. For the most part, however, allowing individual behavior to harm others damages both freedom and health. Some parents worry that vaccines contain toxic chemicals and so have fought for the right to not vaccinate their children against once deadly diseases like measles. By being allowed this freedom, however, these parents are not only putting their children at risk of catching these virulent diseases, but are risking the life of anyone with a compromised immune system who comes into contact with a non-vaccinated child. The results of the anti-vaccination movement can be seen in cases like the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland and the mumps outbreak at a New York City daycare company; both of these outbreaks unfortunately led to fatalities. When the health risks caused by personal freedom reach life-and-death stakes, it is necessary to restrict individual freedom in favor of freedom to avoid preventable health risks.
Conclusion (1-2 sentences)
Transition into restating your thesis, using different words (1-2 sentences).
Sample ACT Essay conclusion:
America was built on the idea that there is a fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—in that order. When individual behavior puts others' lives at risk, it must be curtailed.
Putting Your Essay Together
Here is my final ACT essay template (excluding the second body paragraph):
[Body paragraph two on the other opposing perspective would go here]
Even though there are some minor grammatical issues in this essay, because they don't significantly affect the readability of the essay they don't matter. There are also some factual inaccuracies in this essay (as far as I know, there haven't been any reports of a mumps outbreak in NYC daycare facilities), but that doesn't matter for the ACT as long as the facts are persuasive and make sense in the context of the essay . Adding false information about a mumps outbreak added to the persuasive impact of the essay, so I put it in, whereas I couldn't figure out a way to work dinosaurs into this essay, and so they were not included.
Next essay, my velociraptor friend. Next essay.
How Do You Write Essays In This Format?
Now that you have a structural template for your ACT essay, how and when do you use it?
An essay template is most helpful during the planning phase of your essay. Whether you're writing a practice essay or taking the test for real, it's important to take the time to plan out your essay before you start writing. I personally believe 8-10 minutes is a good amount of planning time to start out with, although you may get faster at planning as you practice, leaving more time for writing and revising.
It might be tempting to leave out this planning stage so that you have more time to read the prompt or write. Don't fall into this trap! If you don't take the time to plan, you run the risk of writing a disorganized essay that doesn't really support your argument or omits how one of the other perspectives relates to yours. If you're struggling with decoding the prompts, be sure to read my article on how to attack ACT Writing prompts ; it'll help you break down every ACT Writing prompt so that you can extract the information you need to write your essay.
In addition to using this essay template when you're planning out your essay, you also need to make sure you practice writing this kind of essay before you take the real ACT Plus Writing. Don't expect to just memorize this outline and be good to go on test day—you'll need to practice putting the template to good use. Practice with as many ACT Writing prompts as you can—our complete guide to ACT Writing prompts will get you started.
ACT Essay Format: A Quick Recap
Remember, your essay should be in the following format:
- Your point of view on the essay topic (easiest to choose one of the three perspectives the ACT gives you).
- Reason why it's true (with reasoning or examples for support)
- Reason why it's not as true as your perspective (with reasoning or examples for support)
- One last reason why your perspective is true (with reasoning or examples for support).
- Conclusion (with your thesis restated)—1-2 sentences
Want to learn more about how to write a top-scoring ACT essay? Watch as I construct an ACT essay, step-by-step .
Looking to put the icing on your ACT essay cake? Check out our top 15 ACT Writing tips and strategies .
Wondering how much you have to write to do well on ACT Writing? Read this article on essay length and your ACT Writing score .
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Our program is entirely online, and it customizes what you study to your strengths and weaknesses . If you liked this ACT Writing lesson, you'll love our program. Along with more detailed lessons, you'll get your ACT essays hand-graded by a master instructor who will give you customized feedback on how you can improve. We'll also give you a step-by-step program to follow so you'll never be confused about what to study next.
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Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.
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Dr. robert d. kohen, college admissions counseling & sat/act prep, ten new act essay question prompts.
The ACT recently changed the format of the optional essay, debuting the new essay on the September 2015 exam. From September on, all essay prompts will require you to not only respond to a specific question, but to also read and address three unique perspectives on the question.
While the new essay format is admittedly more complex than the earlier version, it’s still very predictable and you can do very well on it with the right preparation. For advice on how to approach the essay, check out my post How To Write the New ACT Essay .
Unfortunately, the ACT has only released a meager two sample prompts for you to preview. The first one is available on the ACT’s website here . The second is included in the most recent practice ACT the test makers have released, available as a PDF here .
In order to do your best on the essay, you’ll want to make sure you practice with more than just two essay question prompts. Here are ten additional new ACT sample essay question prompts I’ve written to help you prepare. You’ll have 40 minutes to complete each essay.
Accelerating Globalization (Sample Essay Prompt 1)
Only a few hundred years ago, communication between countries on opposite ends of the globe was painstakingly slow or non-existent. Most people knew little about distant lands, peoples and cultures. What they thought they knew was frequently erroneous or ill conceived. Within the past hundred years, however, the pace of globalization has accelerated rapidly. Today travel across the globe in less than 24 hours is a real possibility for many people. Individuals and nations can instantly communicate with one another across great distances. For better or worse, the world has become more connected than was ever imaginable before, and it continues to become more connected every day. Has globalization made the world a better or a worse place?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the effects of globalization.
Globalization, despite its lustrous promises, has created more problems than it has solved. It has allowed rich countries to get richer at the expense of poorer countries, and it has increased, not decreased, the number of armed conflicts in the world.
The world is undoubtedly a better place today because of globalization. It has allowed critical resources to be distributed to the governments and people that need them the most.
While I celebrate the productive exchange of cultures globalization has facilitated, I worry about how globalization is homogenizing those cultures. Take languages—do we really want to live in a world where one day everyone only speaks only one global language?
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the impact of globalization on the world. In your essay, be sure to:
- analyze and evaluate the perspectives given
- state and develop your own perspective on the issue
- explain the relationship between your perspective and those given
Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different. Whatever the case, support your ideas with logical reasoning and detailed, persuasive examples.
Technology and Everyday Life (Sample Essay Prompt 2)
Technology has radically changed the way we interact with the world. Not long ago, individuals who wanted to get in touch had to do so either by meeting in person or sending messages through postal mail. In order to perform most types of research, people were forced to visit physical libraries, bookstores or archives. Over the past two decades, technology has rendered many of these time-consuming tasks obsolete. Messages can be sent anywhere in the world via email in only a matter of seconds. All sorts of information is available with the click of a smart phone button. People can not only call individuals anytime, but they can also access their geolocation on demand. It seems like everyone is on his or her smart phone every waking minute. Has this increase in the power and reach of technology bettered out lives?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the presence of technology in our lives.
Today’s technology has greatly bettered our lives. Individuals are more connected to the information and people they want to connect with, and the result is smarter, happier and more fulfilled human beings.
Technology promises to “connect” us with one another. But look around and you’ll see how disconnected it’s made us—individuals no longer interact with one another because they’ve become so consumed by their phones and devices.
Technology may have made the world a better place for those who have access to it, but its prohibitive costs have made it inaccessible, and consequently unhelpful, to too many people.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the impact of technology on our lives. In your essay, be sure to:
College Sports (Sample Essay Prompt 3)
College sports have become incredibly popular in the United States. Big games air on the most coveted TV channels at the most coveted times. Teams are followed not only by loyal students and alumni but also by diverse fans from across the country. Major athletic programs bring millions of dollars to university coffers. Star coaches can often earn more than university presidents, making them the highest paid employees on campus. Full scholarships are awarded to star athletes because of their athletic prowess rather than their academic record. In some instances, athletes are even given fake grades to help them stay on the team. Given all of this, should colleges continue to support their sports teams?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the role of athletics at colleges.
Colleges should strongly support their sports teams. These teams not only generate millions of dollars for schools, but they also help sell prospective students on attending the college.
Sports have no official place in college. Colleges are institutions created for learning, not for athletics. College sports compromise academic standards and disadvantage students who don’t participate.
While college sports play a valuable role on university campuses, it is important for administrators to not lose perspective. That some football coaches earn more than university presidents, for example, is clearly wrong.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on college support for sports teams. In your essay, be sure to:
College Curricula (Sample Essay Prompt 4)
For years, American colleges have emphasized the liberal arts over more narrow technical and professional training. College students have been required to study a broad range of academic disciplines, such as literature, philosophy, history and mathematics. Today, however, a growing number of colleges and students have rejected the liberal arts in favor of what some consider to be more practical subjects, such as accounting, finance and nutrition. Global economic hardship has led many to question the value of a liberal arts education that, in their eyes, fails to adequately prepare students for the realities they will face after graduation. Is it important for colleges to promote the study of the liberal arts, or should they emphasize professional and technical training in its place?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about college curricula.
The liberal arts are essential to a quality education because they teach students how to think critically about a broad range of topics, thus preparing them to tackle any issue that might arise in the workplace.
It is time to bury the liberal arts model at our colleges. Reading Shakespeare and studying pure mathematics will not help anyone be successful in any sort of business.
Colleges should closely integrate the liberal arts with professional studies, as each can benefit from the other. Business courses, for example, are enriched by the philosophical study of ethics.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the relative importance of the liberal arts and professional studies. In your essay, be sure to:
Arts Funding (Sample Essay Prompt 5)
Government funding for the arts is commonplace in many countries today. In the United States, the government funds writers, musicians and visual artists through a variety of initiatives. Critics of this type of funding argue that the government has no place in the arts. Why should taxpayers, the majority of whom have no interest in the works being supported by such funding, be forced to pay for those works? Others, however, argue that government funding for the arts is critical to the wellness of our society. Given the dismal financial prospects in the arts, many artists would be unable to support themselves without the type of funding that the government provides. Should the government continue to fund the arts?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the government funding for the arts.
The government has no place in the arts because the government is not qualified to judge which projects should receive funding and which should not.
Without financial support from the government, many great works of art would never be created. Government funding is thus essential.
The free marketplace, not the government, is the best source of arts funding. If an artist can’t get any money, the reason is simple—her work is not very good!
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on government funding of the arts. In your essay, be sure to:
Corporate Responsibility (Sample Essay Prompt 6)
Large corporations make up some of the wealthiest entities in the world today. Some see these corporations as engines of economic development and progress, bringing better products at better prices to a wider range of people every day. Others, however, criticize corporations for their shortcomings when it comes to social responsibility: failing to assist the less fortunate in our society, including their workers, while focusing too narrowly on profits at the expense of social welfare. Should corporations do more than simply aim to improve their profit margins? Is it important for large corporations to set aside profits from time to time in order to donate to charities and to help the needy?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about corporate responsibility.
Corporations have only one responsibility: to make the greatest profit they possibly can. It is only by doing so that they can benefit their workers, shareholders, and society.
Profits often get in the way of doing the right thing. Large corporations should focus less on profits and more on developing meaningful ways of helping the disadvantaged.
It is important that corporations adhere to any and all laws that pertain to them. Beyond this, however, they are free to do as they please.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on corporate responsibility. In your essay, be sure to:
The Federal Government (Sample Essay Prompt 7)
The United States government is made up of various national, state and local governing bodies. Certain responsibilities, like the building of interstate roadways, are looked after by the national, or federal, government, whereas more local issues are often overseen by local government bodies like state legislatures or city councils. Many argue that states and cities in the United States wield too much power, power that they believe should belong in the hands of the federal government. Others contend that the federal government is too large and is unresponsive to the particular needs of states and cities; they would like to see local government overtake many of the responsibilities now delegated to the federal government. Should the federal government or local governing bodies have more power?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the role of the federal government.
States and cities are ill-equipped to handle most of their own governing. The federal government can do not only a better job of governing them, but a faster and cheaper one.
The federal government is too big to adequately address the needs of individual states and cities. States and cities know what is best for them, not the federal government.
Local government fails only when it lacks the backing of the federal government. The federal government should provide logistical and financial support to states and cities in order to enable them to govern themselves effectively.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the relative roles of local and federal government. In your essay, be sure to:
Religious Liberty (Sample Essay Prompt 8)
The relationship between religious liberty and individual rights has often been a problematic one throughout American history. Today, for example, many businesses feel compelled to refuse service to homosexuals because of the religious beliefs of the business owners. Some argue that this refusal of service constitutes unlawful discrimination. Public school boards are often uncertain which religious holidays to add to the academic calendar. Should a Christian student, for instance, have to miss school because of a Jewish holiday? How should the state balance the need to respect religious liberty with need to preserve the rights of all members of society?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about religious liberty and individual rights.
The state must accommodate all religions to the fullest extent possible. This means school days off for all major religious holidays and protecting the right of business owners to refuse service based on religious beliefs.
The government has no special obligation to protect religious liberties when they interfere with the freedoms and well-being of the public at large.
Government should seek, to the greatest extent possible, ways to accommodate both religious liberty and individual rights when the two find themselves in conflict.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the state and religious liberty. In your essay, be sure to:
Solving Society’s Problems (Sample Prompt 9)
The world today faces a wide range of challenges. Despite the great economic and scientific progress mankind has made, many in the world are still struggling to survive. Even in developed nations, individuals and communities face problems like poverty, disease and violence. Individuals and private organizations have done much to help alleviate many of these problems. Government have also played a role in addressing issues like poverty and public health. In your opinion, who has a bigger role to play in solving today’s problems: governments or individuals?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the role of government and individuals in solving today’s problems.
Individuals could not possibly hope to solve problems as large as the ones we face today. Only large governments with sizable resources can help.
Governments are, by nature, composed of individuals working as a team. Governments can solve major problems because they harness the power of individuals.
The best solutions to society’s problems always come from individuals, not governments. Governments lack the creativity and drive necessary to tackle major problems successfully.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the role of individuals and governments as problem solvers. In your essay, be sure to:
Avoiding Armed Conflicts (Sample Prompt 10)
Armed conflicts between nations have always been and remain, unfortunately, a constant fact of life. How politicians and governments seek to avoid of these conflicts, however, varies greatly. Many leaders and political thinkers insist on the importance of demonstrating military might in order to reduce the likelihood of such conflicts. Others argue that flexing military muscle is basically inviting armed conflict, and that the best way nations can avoid conflicts is simply by keeping an open line of communication with one another. When forced to choose between a strong showing of military might and diplomatic efforts, which should nations choose in order to avoid armed conflicts?
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about how military might and diplomatic efforts can prevent armed conflicts.
Without a strong showing of military might, a nation will lead its enemies to believe that it is weak and vulnerable to attack. The result is, inevitably, such an attack.
International conflicts can quickly escalate into full-blown armed conflicts unless the nations involved talk to one another and learn to settle their differences through words rather than bombs.
Demonstrating military might is always a better way to prevent armed conflict than diplomacy, because whereas military might is a deterrent to conflict, diplomacy rarely succeeds in resolving international disagreements.
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the respective roles of diplomacy and military might. In your essay, be sure to:
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ACT Writing Prompts: 5 Examples to Help Your Student Prepare
If your student is willing to do some work ahead of time, he can maximize his score on the ACT Writing section on test day.
Here is the lowdown on the ACT Writing section:
- Your student will have 30 minutes to read, plan, and write a response to a prompt about an issue relevant to a high school student’s daily life.
- Prompts can involve issues ranging from debates over school uniforms to the legal drinking age. Each prompt will instruct your student to “take a position” on one of two presented perspectives. Alternatively, he or she can craft an entirely new position to support. Remind your student that the ACT Writing prompt will be relevant to high school students, so there’s no need to fret over preparing answers for specific topics ahead of time. Browse through this helpful list of ACT writing prompts available on a high school’s website.
- The trained readers who score the essay are looking for the essay to be convincing, thoughtfully organized, and thoroughly developed; your student needs to be able to select a position and back up his or her argument with supporting examples. In addition, it is crucial that the student address and refute the counterargument in the ACT essay.
- There is no “right” or “wrong” position on the topic; more important is the student’s ability to grasp the prompt and craft a response that maintains a clear and well-reasoned position— using specific evidence and proper writing mechanics.
How Else Can Your Student Prepare for the ACT Writing Prompt?
Reviewing possible topics.
In order to familiarize you with the kinds of issues that are typically addressed in ACT Writing prompts, below are five prompt examples:
- The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires all school libraries receiving certain federal funds to install and use blocking software to prevent students from viewing material considered “harmful to minors.” However, some studies conclude that blocking software in schools damages educational opportunities for students, both by blocking access to Web pages that are directly related to the state-mandated curriculums and by restricting broader inquiries of both students and teachers. In your view, should the schools block access to certain Internet Web sites? ( Source: The Princeton Review’s Cracking the ACT, 2008)
- Many communities are considering adopting curfews for high school students. Some educators and parents favor curfews because they believe it will encourage students to focus more on their homework and make them more responsible. Others feel curfews are up to families, not the community, and that students today need freedom to work and participate in social activities in order to mature properly. Do you think that communities should impose curfews on high school students? ( Source: The Princeton Review’s Cracking the ACT, 2008)
- In response to articles examining sensitive topics such as dating and partying, many schools are considering censoring their newspapers. Some schools believe that these topics are not appropriate for student-run papers, while others believe that, as long as what is printed is true, student papers should have the same freedoms as regular newspapers do. What is your opinion on this topic? ( Source: The Princeton Review’s Cracking the ACT, 2008)
- Most schools have established honor codes or other rules to prevent students from cheating on exams and other school assignments. Many students admit to cheating, arguing that the practice has become so common—and is so rarely penalized—that it is the only way to survive in today’s competitive academic world. Educators, however, feel that such behaviors only hurt the students, and that cheating in school is just the first step to more academic dishonesty, professional misconduct, and unethical business practices in the future. In your view, should high schools become more tolerant of cheating? ( Source: The Princeton Review’s Cracking the ACT, 2005)
- In some high schools, students are required to complete a certain number of community service hours prior to graduation. Some people think community service is a good requirement because they think students will benefit from this experience. Other people think schools should not require community service because students will resent the requirement and, as a result, will not benefit from the experience. In your opinion, should high schools require students to complete a certain number of hours of community service? ( Source: The Real ACT Prep Guide, 2005)
While there is no way of knowing what essay topic will be presented on test day, remind your child that every question will identify an issue and provide two possible points of view to help kick-start the process.
Practice in a Test-Like Environment
One of the best ways to help your student prepare for the ACT Writing prompt is to create a test-like environment in which to practice. Set a timer for 30 minutes and hold your student to the time limit. Other students will be in the room on test day, so practicing alone in a quiet place may not be the best way to simulate the test-day experience. A coffee shop may have music, loud meetings going on, and chatty patrons—more noise than an ACT testing location would have. A good compromise might be to have your student write the essay in a library where there are some distractions, but not many. By practicing in a simulated test-like environment, your student should feel more at ease on test day.
Understanding ACT Essay Scoring Guidelines
Writing practice ACT essays isn’t the only way to prepare. Encourage your student to look at examples of scored ACT essays as well. This helpful post from GoodLuckACT.com shows six different sample essays written in response to the same prompt—and gives the reasoning for each score. Learning what components go into a well-written essay can help your student incorporate those factors on test day. ACTstudent.org has similar examples to help you understand how to earn the best possible score on the ACT Writing test. You may also want to read through the official ACT Essay Scoring Rubric .
By becoming familiar with the typical wording and content of ACT Writing prompts, simulating a test-like environment, and understanding how to approach the ACT Writing prompt to earn a top score, your child will feel more ready to conquer the ACT Writing test.
For information on how ACT writing prompts are scored, check out our sample graded essays with comments. If you are looking for one-on-one test prep assistance, remember that A+ offers personalized ACT preparation programs and free proctored practice tests that can help your student prepare for all sections of the ACT, including the ACT Writing section.
Also, this page has examples of ACT and SAT essays written by our students, as well as the comments they received from our expert online essay graders. All essays are graded according to the College Board and ACT essay rubrics.
Related Articles : Raise Your Confidence: Practice ACT Writing Prompts
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- ACT Writing Prompts With Sample Essays & Tips
ACT Writing Prompts With Sample Essays & Tips
Table of contents
The ACT essay is an optional portion of the ACT test that assesses a student's writing skills. It is a 40-minute timed writing task in which the student is given a prompt and asked to write an argumentative essay in response. ACT writing test is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills and ability to look at any topic from different perspectives.
Our guide will outline how to write an ACT essay and how to do your best on it. We will discuss ACT writing prompts and possible approaches. Also, we have new ACT essay examples you can draw inspiration from.
Let’s make this writing task a piece of cake for you! After reading this blog from our college essay services , we guarantee that you will become a rock star in ACT writing!
What Is ACT Writing?
First and foremost, let’s start with a definition of ACT writing and what you need to know about this test type. ACT writing portion is a 40-minute optional test that evaluates your ability to write and present 3 different perspectives on defined issues.
But why should you consider taking this writing part of a test if this task is not mandatory? The answer is easy – many universities still require students to take an ACT with writing. It depends on your future major and academic plans. For some admission commissions, the test without writing part will make you a weaker competitor.
This test assesses your skills in analytical thinking. In this essay, you must overview 3 sides of a debate topic, bring your approach, and point to reasonable evidence.
ACT Writing Test Overview
If you find a university you will apply to that requires an ACT writing test, don’t panic and start preparing. Our guide will go through each step of your writing and help you understand its basic principles. But first, let’s have a brief overview of this task and how it will be scored.
Critical points on your test:
- You have 40 minutes to write.
- You can use pen and paper only.
- Essay structure should be strictly followed.
You will structure your work this way:
- Evaluate 3 different angles of a prompt.
- Present your view or indicate which one you support.
- Explain the connection between your choice and other perspectives on a topic.
After you know what this essay includes, let’s discuss the scoring. What you should know about an ACT writing score? You will be evaluated based on 4 aspects:
- Ideas and analysis of a prompt Does your writing sample demonstrate clarity and provide an overview of all perspectives?
- Topic development How does your text develop and structure ideas in a coherent sample?
- Logic Does your text have a strong and reasonable structure that follows a logical flow?
- Language Does your essay contain grammar and spelling mistakes?
Two graders will evaluate your essay. Each one will grade your test on a score from 1 to 6. Finally, you will see the sum of those points from two graders, or in other words – a number from 2 to 12. An average score sum required by most universities is 8+. However, some Ivy League colleges may ask you to write your ACT essay with a 9+ score.
ACT Practice Writing Prompts
How to get the highest score on your test? Take any ACT writing practice test, understand your weaknesses, and continue training.
We prepared ACT writing prompts to illustrate how your essay can be structured, what templates to use, and how to succeed in this task. While looking for the best prompts, consider that this test was changed in 2015 and became a little more complicated. But we focused on the latest tests to give you the best possible examples and prompts.
Sample ACT Essay Prompt 1 & Analysis
In the following paragraphs, we will focus on an ACT writing prompt and how to ensure a successful essay score on a real test. Let’s choose one of the popular topics for your essay – Climate Change . We will show this topic's ACT writing test prompt and two essay samples.
We will also go through grading and explain why the first essay scored 1 and the second had the highest score - 6. These samples will undoubtedly inspire you and teach you how to write good texts.
Lately, a discussion around the urgency of action because of climate change has become one of the most popular. The data proves that governments of many countries failed to follow their agreement on reducing the negative influence on the environment. As a result, we all became affected by changing the weather, extreme heating, or heavy rain. Due to these changes, some countries, like Pakistan, have already lost territories and people. However, some scientists argue that climate change is a media topic that is not so urgent. Read carefully three perspectives on how important and urgent are climate change issues. Each of them outlines a specific view of the human role in climate change.
Essay task Write a coherent essay addressing what urgent climate change is and who is responsible for this situation. In your essay: 1. State your perspective and analyze how it connects to perspectives defined in a prompt. 2. Support your point with examples. 3. Structure your ideas.
❌ ACT Essay Example 1
The discussion around climate change has become very important in the last few years. However, the question is, how accurate is climate change? Maybe, it was fabricated by media and corporations to have an additional influence on governments. I believe that only people alone are responsible for climate change. This is our goal to make any changes. If we want to change this situation with climate change, we need to start with ourselves. And we need to start with an urgent alarm that will bring this topic to a higher level of discussion. My point is based on a few pieces of evidence. First, we know how many plastics are used by ordinary people. Even reducing plastic in everyday life can help to change something. Secondly, we can reduce the negative influence on the environment by changing our eating habits and moving to a vegetarian diet. My idea is mainly related to the first perspective described in the essay task. I believe climate change is the most urgent topic for now, but only humans can change something by doing even small steps. To conclude, I think that we need to bring more attention to the causes of climate change and focus on small things that every person can do.
Let’s examine an ACT essay score and analyze why the sample above will get the lowest score. We will go through each point for grading.
Here you can see that based on all 4 grading points, the essay sample will get the lowest score. However, the same topic can be developed much better, with real examples and more substantial argumentation. It is possible to score your essay with the highest grade even by choosing the same perspective.
✓ Essay Writing Sample 2
There is no shortage of opinions on how emergent the climate change issue is and what the way to solve it is. In the essay task, we found three different perspectives on this topic. The first one is to stand on the position that climate change is the most urgent topic for humanity, and even small steps by ordinary humans can change the situation. The second one pointed out that there is no such issue as climate change, and the media and marketers created it. And the last one, and most realistic in my opinion, is that climate change is a problem, but only governmental politics can make a difference in it. A bunch of facts and evidence support my point of view. First and foremost, we need to evaluate the number of considerable productions in each country. Manufacturers make up 75% of the pollution, which definitely relies on government regulations. It means we can not change the situation significantly only by ourselves. Secondly, we need to analyze the biggest causes of climate change. One of them is fossil fuel and deep ocean mining, which governments lead. I also believe no evidence proves climate change is a myth. We can see how devastating rain is in Pakistan - the first country heavily damaged by climate change. It is a real case, not just a conspiracy belief. To conclude, I would suggest activists put more effort into pushing governments to act to stop climate change.
This essay is much more logical and well-structured and definitely will get the highest score. Let’s look at each ACT essay scoring section to understand what makes this text better and more effective.
The second essay is more robust and better for students who need high grades. However, the structure of each essay is the same. If you find the best structure for you, there will be no problem with any topic for such a task.
Sample ACT Essay Prompt 2 & Analysis
You may think that an essay topic can influence ACT essay prompts. However, we are talking about standardized tests. You can complete excellent writing on any topic if you learn how to structure your text and what will make your test better. But you need to practice! Here is another example with a detailed analysis to illustrate the possible development of a topic and underline essential tips to make your paper better graded. Let’s look at the essay on paid/free medicine.
There is a belief in a lot of countries that medicine should be free for anyone. The topic of paid medicine has become one of the most discussed in recent years. For example, the United States is a well-known country with paid and expensive medicine. However, in many European countries, like Germany and France, people can get quality medical help without any payment, as they have already paid taxes. Read carefully three perspectives on paid medicine. Each of them outlines a specific view on how much people should pay for medical support, and it is possible to make the medicine entirely accessible to anyone.
Essay task Write a coherent essay addressing the discussion of paid instead of free medicine. In your essay: 1. State your perspective and analyze how it connects to perspectives defined in a prompt. 2. Support your point with examples. 3. Structure your ideas.
❌ Writing Essay Sample 1
One of today's biggest discussions is about paid medicine and how it should be developed worldwide. While there is a lot of support for the third perspective, described in a task. People believe they should not pay for medicine, as this is a basic need for everyone. However, I disagree with this point, as I support a capitalistic point of view. I believe people need to pay for quality medicine help, which is the only way to build an effective medical system in any country. That is why I have this point of view. First, we need to learn from the best world examples. This is definitely the US. Doctors in the US are very prestigious professionals, and they need to put a lot of effort into working in a clinic. Also, the best surgeries and innovators live in the US. It became possible to launch complicated research only because of funding. This is why I believe we need to pay for quality help, as this is the only reason to develop the system.
Clearly, this essay is not bad, but not the best one you can create. Applying an ACT writing score range, we would say this one about medicine will be in the middle. Detailed analysis of its pros and cons will help you improve your writing piece.
In general, this is a good example of an essay for a score of 3. It is not too simple and unstructured to get 1 or 2. However, there are a lot of improvements that can make the text more readable.
✓ ACT Writing Sample 2
There is no single opinion on building the country's best medical system. While some people believe that the best way is to make medical help paid, others think that the government should cover all medical expenses for people. I personally stand on the position that medicine should be free for everyone. I believe paid and partly-paid medicine discussed in this task is not a way to achieve transparency and democracy. First and foremost, paid medicine will divide people into groups - those who can pay and get qualitative help and those who will die because of no money. Let’s look at death statistics in the US, the country with paid and costly medicine. Almost 40% of people died last year because they could not pay their doctor or ask for help. The idea of developing a medical system based on money clinics get from patients is dangerous. People pay taxes anyway, and these taxes should be invested into building a clinic of the future. For this reason, I believe the only way to make any nation healthy is to pay for medical help from taxes, not from additional citizen payments.
Essay Scoring Analysis
You can see that the second essay looks stronger. We will analyze it based on an ACT writing score scale to illustrate what makes the text better. Let’s discuss each of the four aspects of scaling the writing sample.
This essay will get the highest 6 scores from graders.
How to Write the ACT Essay
Next, we will learn how to write an ACT essay step-by-step. You can see different samples and understand how your work will be scored. But how to write an essay and get the highest grade? Let’s go through each stage of ACT writing essay creation and clarify the importance of each step. Finally, our goal is to make you a proficient writer who is ready to work on any task without worrying about any topic.
1. Brainstorm the ACT Writing Prompt
Research is an essential step in creating an advanced essay. First, you must analyze act writing prompts and find as many arguments for your text as possible.
Look at the selected ACT essay prompt from various angles and try to understand why this topic became part of the discussion. Refrain from sticking with the first idea you will have. Analyze all three perspectives and understand which will be the most successful. Identify all viable arguments for each stand.
It is better to spend more time brainstorming than re-write the whole essay when you understand you have limited argumentation for a selected position.
2. Carefully Consider the Perspectives
You will have three different perspectives in your ACT prompt, and you need to analyze each before defining your line. Choose the perspective that will help you to create an excellent ACT essay.
Usually, one perspective will support a topic, one will be against it, and one will be in the middle. Which one to choose for your test? First, define what each perspective considers and how you can develop this line. Second, think about possible argumentation you can use. You need to choose the one you will feel confident about.
3. Come Up With Your Perspective
After analyzing three topic perspectives, choose one for your essay. Remember that your attitude should be unique. It means you should not select one angle from the given task and state it. Try to combine ideas, and include a brief analysis of them from your point of view. If you want the highest score, your line and argumentation should not copy the one from ACT essay prompts.
Writing the ACT essay is simple if you use unique ideas for the structure. Reread the topic and define which line is not represented in given perspectives.
If this task is challenging, consider to pay someone to write your essay at StudyCrumb .
4. Write Your ACT Essay
You analyzed all perspectives for discussion, chose a unique line for your argumentation, and are ready to start working on ACT writing. What is next? The next step is working with an ACT essay format and structure.
Create an outline of an essay. It means you must define what you will discuss in each section.
Your text structure will be simple:
- Essay introduction : Identify your perspective and briefly point to each perspective from the task.
- Body paragraphs : Start with a topic sentence followed by your argumentation to support and explain your position. Make 2-3 paragraphs.
- Essay conclusion : Provide your final summary.
ACT Essay Template
Here, you can find a template that is applicable to any topic. You can memorize or save it for your test practice.
5. Proofread Your Writing
Like any other type of writing work, an ACT essay should be proofread before submission. You will have only 40 minutes to write 300+ words using a paper and pen. You need to have sufficient time at the end of your test to check spelling and grammar mistakes. An ACT writing section can be stressful, as you have limited time and must clearly illustrate your ability to think and analyze. You may write your essay in a rush and make some mistakes in spelling words. Plan around 5 minutes for essay revision .
ACT Writing Tips
The best way to ensure a high score on your exam day is to write an ACT practice essay and analyze your text based on a scoring system. Clear structure, advanced essay template, and robust perspective analysis for your statement are critical for scoring.
However, there are a few more ACT essay tips for your test day:
- Start with research and analysis.
- Create an outline before starting to write.
- Mention all 3 perspectives, especially the one that opposes your statements.
- Use a unique statement for your essay.
- Always proofread – it is better to submit clean text without mistakes that write more words than needed.
Bottom Line on ACT Writing Prompts
You are at the end of a detailed guide sample ACT essay writing. In a few paragraphs, we shared with you a few ACT prompts and identified critical steps in creating advanced writing. Remember that this task is not mandatory for test takers.
But if you are already here, your University may require it. Do not panic! This is a standard test, and you can do your best by learning from ACT writing examples and focusing on templates we prepared for you. Be clear with your idea, analyze other topic perspectives, be unique, and use advanced vocabulary for this test! And you will succeed!
If you found our blog post on the ACT essay helpful, you may also need a guide on how to write an SAT essay .
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FAQ About ACT Writing Prompts
1. how long is the act with writing.
An ACT essay is only a 40-minute test, and it will present one writing prompt that describes a complex topic and provide three perspectives for analysis in your writing section. You won’t be able to write more than 250-300 words. Focus on test quality, not the number of words.
2. What is a good ACT writing score?
An average ACT writing score is 6.5 and above. It will work for a lot of Universities. However, you may need 8 or more on this test for highly competitive schools. If you apply to a top university or Ivy League, a good score is 10, 11, or 12.
3. Does the ACT essay affect your score?
No, this section does not affect your subject area scores or Composite scores. ACT essay scoring is essential only for a few Universities. And if you are unsure if you need it, it's better to take it. It won’t change your general test scores. Do not be worried about this section a lot!
4. What is an average ACT writing score?
Two graders will grade your work, and each one can grade you in four categories from 1 to 6. This is how you can get from 2 to 12 points in each category. In sum, you will have a score between 2 and 12, which is your average ACT writing score.