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While general discussion about the ACT test is allowed by ACT, discussion of test questions may violate your agreement with ACT. Please be thoughtful in your posts and replies.

ACT Essay vs. SAT Essay?

Sail0rSail0r Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
edited June 2009 in ACT Preparation
What's the main difference between these two? I know for the SAT essay you have to use examples to back up your thinking, but how's the ACT one? Is it just using logical thinking to prove your point with hypothetical examples?

I was looking through a couple of sample essays and they seemed much much longer than SAT essays (some over 2 pages long!)
Post edited by Sail0r on

Replies to: ACT Essay vs. SAT Essay?

  • ChasingStarlightChasingStarlight Registered User Posts: 545 Member
    you're right- length is more important on the ACT. Also, having a concession seems to be a must.
  • jamiroquaijamiroquai Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    ^Yeah from my study guide it seemed as though if you don't use a counter-example paragraph (recognizing the argument(s) of your opponent), you can't get better than a 8-9. So it's the same typical format: a 5-paragraph essay with 2 examples, 1 counter-example, introduction, and conclusion. Also, when going over example essays it seemed like the ACT might value "creativity" and special words, similes, etc. a bit more than the SAT graders. I thought that the "10" essay was perfect—but the ACT guide criticized it for being too "formulaic." And yeah, as you said I think hypothetical reasons are fine on the ACT but bad on the SAT essay, where you need literal names and examplestt to prove your point. Other than that... pretty much the same.
  • ShizzleShizzle Registered User Posts: 1,332 Senior Member
    I've only written about 3-3 1/2 paragraphs and gotten 10's. Would adding length bring me up?
  • kiterunner18kiterunner18 Registered User Posts: 1,394 Senior Member
    I don't think it's length that will bring you up. Substance is what matters.

    BTW, guys. I scored a perfect on my essay both times, and I didn't write a counter-argument paragraph. I did provide rebuttals to alternative arguments, but I worked these in with my main arguments. It was outlined like this. . .

    Argument One
    Argument Two
    Argument Three (if needed)
  • jamiroquaijamiroquai Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    ^ Thanks for the head's up—that's definitely comforting b/c a lot of the times the counter-argument paragraph sounds awkward and forced in my practice essays.
  • kiterunner18kiterunner18 Registered User Posts: 1,394 Senior Member
    np, Jamiroquai. I totally agree! IMO, they felt really awkward.
  • syc652syc652 Registered User Posts: 214 Junior Member
    is a counter example a qualifier? are you allowed to say, "although I agree with blah, >insert some negative aspect<" (kinda like AP Lang essays)
  • Wildcat343Wildcat343 Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    So could I use like F451 as an example for going against censorship if the promp had to do with schools blocking internet access to certain sites?

    or should I just discuss the topic and not have any literary or historical examples?
  • PINKequalsLoVePINKequalsLoVe Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    you can use personal examples.
    and you don't have to have an entire paragraph on the counter example, as long as you acknowledge the opposing viewpoint. i think you can use it to prove your point further.
  • kiterunner18kiterunner18 Registered User Posts: 1,394 Senior Member
    That's what I did on my essays, syc652.
  • rk33rk33 Registered User Posts: 494 Member
    So this is more of a logic essay rather than a grandiloquent, cite examples essay?
  • kiterunner18kiterunner18 Registered User Posts: 1,394 Senior Member
    Yeah, I think so. But anything to help support your claim (including examples) will help greatly.
  • jamiroquaijamiroquai Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    Another quick question: How much does it matter whether you use 2 body paragraphs (4 total) or 3 body paragraphs (5 total)? For the SAT I was always told to use 3 specific examples... but on the ACT can you get a perfect score with 2 thoughtful, well-phrased examples or reasons (along with an acknowledgment to the counter-argument thrown in somewhere)? Thanks again!
  • potentialitypotentiality Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    ^ Yes, as long as your two supporting or "body" paragraphs are sufficiently developed and well-thought out.

    The ACT essay graders pay a lot of attention to structure-- they like to see acknowledgment of the prompt (including both sides of the issue), contextual development (which means pick a "lens" through which to address the prompt, and stay make sure that it stays consistent), logical flow of ideas, good reasoning, acceptable transitions, and few grammatical errors. Stay focused on the prompt and your take on the issue, and be clear and logical. It's really not about flowery language. And differently from the SAT essay, they are not necessarily looking for examples taken from literature, real life, etc.-- it's a whole different animal. Be strong, focused, and relatively simple in the layout of your argument.
  • rk33rk33 Registered User Posts: 494 Member
    I wrote a 5 paragrapher today. I wrote why I supported my views from a psychological standpoint, from a personal standpoint, and than gave a counter argument.

    Btw, are we allowed to talk about the specifics of the essay or no?
This discussion has been closed.