Essay Tips

<p>ACT (and SAT, for that matter) essays always seem to give me trouble. It's the time (or lack thereof)--I just can't seem to put together a great essay in half an hour or less. As a result, I ended up with a 34 on the February ACT (35 reading, 35 English w/o writing) but only a 9 on the essay.</p>

<p>I'm seriously considering majoring in English and I'm going to be applying to some pretty selective schools next year, so I'm retaking in April to try and boost the writing score.</p>

<p>Just for the record, I'd consider myself a (fairly) good writer. I regularly get 7s and 8s on our practice essays in AP Lang, but something about the standardized formats seems to throw me.</p>

<p>Do any of you 11/12 essay scorers have tips on how I can write something that'll appease the graders? Structure, saving time, that sort of thing?</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>I took it my first time in December and made an 11 in the writing.</p>

<p>For me, brainstorming is the key. You need to have an idea of where you're going with the essay, or else you'll run out of time. Aso don't be afraid to write something. You don't have enough time to ponder the perfect sentence for every point you want to address. For me, once I had my thesis and started each paragraph with my topic sentence, everything came naturaly. It helps to show emotion about the prompt, even though it won't be an exciting subject. Also, throw in a good vocabulary word but only if you're sure it fits with what you're talking about and won't make the graders think you're forcing it.</p>

<p>My best piece of advice: Just write. It'll flow if you map out the essay and really consider both sides of the argument in the beginning.</p>

<p>These are the comments on my essay that came on my score report: Your essay addressed the complexity of the issue by evaluating its implications. Your essay effectively supported general statements with specific reasons, examples, and details. Your essay showed a good command of language by using varied sentences and precise word choice.</p>

<p>I think I took the ACT April of last year and I got a 10 in the essay. I don't consider myself a very strong writer, but my writing tutor told me to plan ahead. Flowerchild is right, you should have a plan before you start writing. Make sure you have your thesis and supporting examples before you start writing. Also, don't think too much about the intro and conclusion because it might be to your advantage to fully support your thesis with strong examples and well thought out explainations in your body paragraphs.</p>

<p>I don't think having a profound idea matters as much as the lengh of your writing. </p>

<p>Write. Write. Write. Don't make grammar/punctuation errors!</p>

<p>My tips: sell your soul with vocab words, use complex sentence structure, write a lot, don't make mistakes (grammar, usage, mechanics).</p>

<p>Bear in mind though that colleges realize the quality of your writing on a standardized test is inherently different from that in a research paper or persuasive essay, and that graders are not exactly known for recognizing true talent because, well, they have standardized grading criteria. For an English major they will instead look at your recommendations and application essays.</p>

<p>D1 had boring prompt the first time..wrote well but not much. Got an 8. Next time had prompt on value of HS sports..she just wrote and wrote and wrote. Wasn't perfect but was passionate and had pages of info. Got a 12...mistakes were made and no time for conclusion but tons of info.</p>

<p>I got a 12 in October 07. For the ACT, you just need to write, write, write. I gave 6 examples on my essay, maybe one of them was decent, the rest supported it poorly and were badly written. Just overwhelm them with info. Make sure it supports your stance of course :) and of course I made grammatical errors...</p>

<p>I got an 11 in October. I never practised a single essay earlier. Just wrote what came to mind, and, hey, it worked! :D</p>

<p>on the ACT, volume seems to be key...i wrote a decent essay, plenty of info and vocab words, and ended up with a 10. write big if you can, and if you it 3pages you won't get less that a 10 at the very least.</p>

<p>also, i would avoid formulaic transitions (firstly, secondly, etc...) if you really want an 11 or 12...that will immediately give you a more impressive style</p>

<p>I got an 11 the first time I took the test, and I feel that I earned it b/c my essay had ideas addressing the prompt which the test graders weren't necessarily expecting. Don't get me wrong, your ideas and examples have to be relevant, but write about what you know. Make it stand out.</p>

<p>Lol...The day before I took my ACT w/ writing I simply read the Princeton Review's section for the writing test...actually, I just skimmed over it. I read how they structured each paragraph and read the sample essay. (Reading this info took like 15 minutes.)</p>

<p>, I'll go look it up for you.</p>

1. Intro - Frame the discussion and state your thesis clearly.
2. Body I - Attack the other position. "This example is true, but..."
3. Body II - State a relevant example and explain how it supports your point.
4. Body III - Same as Body II; just use a different example.
5. Conclusion - Restate the thesis and your main points quickly.</p>

<p>Other tips:
- Write as much as possible without being redundant or running out of time.
- Take a strong stance and use a good, personal voice.
- Make sure to mix in some good vocab. (I think it makes the graders think you are a more respectable writer if you can just use a couple good words appropriately. The same goes for using proper grammar/spelling/mechanics. These brownie points can take you a long way. Remember, the essays are graded holistically so giving the grader a good "feel" about your writing abilities is a major plus.)
- Manage your time wisely! Do take a couple minutes before you start to align your response with the paragraphing above. (side note for time management...I didn't leave time to proofread, instead opting to continue writing. I believe this is an acceptable method as long as you make sure you're writing is correct as you go along.)
- This may be the most important... Stay FOCUSED and use lots of specific support!</p>

<p>Anyways, that's what I did. Result: I got a 12 with what I felt was just a mediocre essay.</p>

<p>It's all about length. I got an 11 the first time I took it, and I'm sure it's due to length since my examples, while creative, were not very relevant to the prompt, and my handwriting is/was atrocious.</p>