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ACT Writing Essay

marjammarjam Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited June 2011 in ACT Preparation
I am a rising Junior. I plan to take the ACT essay in the fall. For those of you who took the June 2011 test do you have any suggestions or tips for writing a good essay? How hard are the topic questions?
Post edited by marjam on

Replies to: ACT Writing Essay

  • liv4physiczliv4physicz - Posts: 2,295 Senior Member
    the essay topics arent very "hard." in fact, the ACT intentionally chooses topics they believe any and all test-takers will have an opinion about. my question was whether or not it's acceptable for parents to keep track of their teens via the GPS in teens' cell phones. i also had one about talking on the phone while driving (whether or not this should be illegal) and whether or not there should be a legal age to drink caffienated beverages.
  • er111aer111a Registered User Posts: 161 Junior Member
    hehe I had the GPS one also :P
  • marjammarjam Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thanks for the info. The topics you mention sound easy, but how do they grade this fairly? It there a formula you can use for your writing structure that would include everything they are looking for? For example, with the gps topic, approximately how many reasons did you come up with to support your thesis? I assume they will want an introductory paragraph and then a solid conclusion. Are there any quidelines for how long the essay needs to be?
  • liv4physiczliv4physicz - Posts: 2,295 Senior Member
    actually, idk how it is for the ACT, but its been widely said that you can completely omit a conclusion and still get a perfect score on standardized-test essays. i only had time for 2 reasons, but they were solid. obviously, the more SOLID ones, the better, but i think theyd rather see a couple well-written, well-thought-out ones than a bunch of hasty ones. the topics generally arent going to be brain-teasers or anything like that.
  • volleyball13volleyball13 Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    The essay topic is not usually that difficult, and it always relates to teenagers in some way. The important thing to remember is that they are looking for you to take a clear position on the subject. However, you MUST include a counter argument. All the people I know who have done well, as well as my tutor, have told me that you should write about 5 paragraphs: an opening, two paragraphs each with a topic that supports your thesis, a paragraph that disagrees with your paragraph (counter argument), and a solid conclusion. My conclusion usually starts with the counter argument, then i say "however," and really nail them with the thesis. The most important thing is that you are persuasive.
  • JalliDalliJalliDalli Registered User Posts: 265 Junior Member
    Make sure you have a counterargument. They knock off serious points for that. It's kind of a gamble: if you write an academic essay (really structured, with obvious transition, basically a solid essay) you'll for sure get an 8 (maybe a 9 or 10). But if you want an 11 or 12, your essay needs to be loose and not too academic (and you should have tons of complex sentences with nice transitions). Check out the sample essays on the ACT websites, you'll see what I mean lol.
  • liv4physiczliv4physicz - Posts: 2,295 Senior Member
    ^ really? if it's more informal/conversational (without overdoing it), while addressing the other side of the issue and being persuasive, you're likely to get a perfect score?
  • JalliDalliJalliDalli Registered User Posts: 265 Junior Member
    ^yep. Just look at the 12 essays online. They're not really structured at all. The moe structured ones are 8s so I tried to take more risks this time around lol.
  • volleyball13volleyball13 Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    I have no idea about how structured you are supposed to have it but in a practice ACT booklet that I was given they show how to get a 6,5, etc and for a 5-6 strong development of the counterargument was made into a pretty big deal it seemed
  • liv4physiczliv4physicz - Posts: 2,295 Senior Member
    oooohhh, ill keep that in mind!

    when you think about it, the less-structured/more spontaneous ones are probably more interesting for the graders to read.
  • JalliDalliJalliDalli Registered User Posts: 265 Junior Member
    ^ yeah, the ones I read sounded like excerpts from a freaking novel!
  • liv4physiczliv4physicz - Posts: 2,295 Senior Member
    hahaha, so they were like loosely written and not focused on "trying" too hard, im guessing?
  • liv4physiczliv4physicz - Posts: 2,295 Senior Member
    "Unlike the SAT essay, which is an exercise in form and functionality, the ACT essay rewards creative/critical thinking and problem solving above all else."

    (just looked up "act 12 essay" on google and this is what came up)

    also, do you guys know if the graders are going to know if i made up a statistic? :) i know that for the SAT, smart CC kids do it all the time (as the graders have to read the essays so fast that they dont have time to check any facts) and score well...
  • JalliDalliJalliDalli Registered User Posts: 265 Junior Member
    yeah. They had transitions and counterarguments and stuff but they weren't like "First of all," or "For example" or "Secondly". The whole thing really flowed nicely.

    I think they may notice but they don't really care. And I've seen 12 SAT essays and they're the same as the ACT's lol.
  • volleyball13volleyball13 Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    I don't think that they would know if you made up a statistic unless it seemed totally unrealistic. They seem to pay more attention to your ideas and structure so they probably wouldn't notice:)
This discussion has been closed.