How To Write A Killer ACT Essay

If you are a strong writer, and looking for one more factor to help boost your ACT score, you may want to consider taking the writing portion of the ACT.

The ACT writing portion is an optional 30-minute exam to test your writing abilities. A prompt is provided for you, and often calls upon you to write an argumentative essay about a current social issue. The grading scale ranges from 1-6, 6 being the highest achievable score.

The writing portion is no breeze, though. While 30 minutes sounds nice because it’s short, that very factor is what makes it so challenging. To be successful in the ACT essay, you must be a concise writer who has mastered time management.

There are many adequate ways to prepare for this portion of the test if you choose to take it. My advice is to take it, because it has a chance to improve your composite score.

However, writing a great ACT essay isn’t necessarily easy, but there are certain tricks many people might not think of to make your essay sound more accurate and intelligent.

I took the ACT three times including the writing portion, and my writing score improved each time.

Cite Personal Examples

One of the tricks I used to increase my score was to cite personal examples in my essays. Using examples from your own experience demonstrates you are a multi-dimensional student with worldly experiences.

Personal accounts make  you sound more credible as a first-hand witness and ultimately more intelligent.

Calling on  personal examples to provide social commentary shows you are well-rounded and give insight to your personality. Finding ways to constantly display your diverse set of experiences can never hurt the college admissions process.

Practice Makes Perfect

Another tip I can offer to improve your scores is simply practice.

The best way to master the time management required to be successful on this exam is to conduct time trials at home first. There’s various resources online that offers practice tests and prompts. Gather a few and time yourself writing about the given topics, seeing if you can constantly improve.

Along with practicing writing essays from old prompts, an additional way to familiarize yourself with the test is to read old essays that received good scores.

Old essays can also be found online with scores. Read them over a few times and try to pick out what makes them unique.

Increase Your Vocabulary

The last tip I can offer to perform well on the writing portion of the ACT is to constantly increase your vocabulary.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to use a thesaurus during the exam, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with synonyms of commonly used words before the test.

Try learning one new word per day. Do this either by literally reading a dictionary, or through online resources. Either way, widening your vocabulary will make your essay sound more intelligent and sophisticated.

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Madeline Fetchiet

Madeline Fetchiet

Madeline Fetchiet is a sophomore at Michigan State University, studying journalism and philosophy of law. Aside from reporting, Madeline enjoys tae kwon do, reading, writing, researching and traveling, and can be considered a music enthusiast. Madeline currently works as an intern for, and is a banquet server at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, MI. Perfecting the storytelling side of reporting is something she looks forward to in her future career as a journalist.
Madeline Fetchiet

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