ACT Write: Example Essays and Their Scores (page 2)
The ACT essay receives a score from 1 to 6. The lowest score you can achieve is — get this — a 1, and a 6 is the highest score. One of the best ways to avoid the common mistakes associated with receiving the lower scores is to read examples of all possible scores, which is where this section comes into play. Here we explain what you need to do to get the highest possible score on your essay by beginning with an example of an essay worthy of each score and then explaining why the sample deserves that particular score. Feel free to laugh at the ones with lower scores. We did. After reading these examples, you'll have a much better idea of what to avoid in your writing.
Here's the long-winded ACT prompt that all six of the sample essays were based on:
In some high schools, many teachers and parents have encouraged the school to require school uniforms that students must wear to school. Some teachers and parents support school uniforms because they think their use will improve the school's learning environment. Other teachers and parents do not support requiring uniforms because they think it restricts individual freedom of expression. In your opinion, should high schools require uniforms for students?
In your essay, take a position on the question. You may write about either one of the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
Remember that it doesn't matter which side you choose to write about. Picking one or the other won't matter in the ACT graders' eyes. All that matters is that you pick one side and support your opinion.
1 — 1 is the Loneliest Number: How Not to be a 1
I think students should have uniforms. There is a lot of gangsters at my school that where there pants to low and I don't really like it. If we had to where uniforms they wouldn't be allowed to do it. Girls should be able to wear shirts that show their stomach though since it looks good and everyone else likes it. There should also be a uniform against really stupid fashion. This should be imposed on teachers too. And principles. I think this is only fair. Why should we have to be the only ones who who have to have a uniform.
Being number 1 may be great for high school football, but it isn't great on your ACT test. This writer answers the question and chooses a side, but she doesn't support or back up her thesis. Not only does she fail to support her position, but she also goes off on a tangent and wanders throughout the essay. Her lack of focus, irreverent examples, and writing style merit a 1. Oh, and by the way, the number of spelling and word errors distracts the reader from her ideas and negatively influences the way the graders look at her essay.
2 — 2 Little 2 late: Steering Clear of Coming in Second
I don't agree with the teachers and parents who think we should have uniforms. Our style of dress is what makes us individuals and sets us apart form each other.
At my school students who dress in certain ways find others who are like them. You always know who is interested in the same stuff as you by what they wear. Imposing a uniform doesn't allow us to make friendships with people you are like ourselves.
Uniforms would make people mad. Teachers would find it hard to control all their students because students would want to rebel. Kids wouldn't be able to find friends who are like them and this would cause them to rebel.
These are just a few reasons why we should not have a uniform at school. There are many more reasons then just these but these are the most important.
To ACT graders, a 2 means you show weak skill in writing the essay. At least they think you have some sort of skill, but you can definitely improve it. This writer answers the question and shows that he can support his point of view, but his lack of organization leaves readers' heads spinning. The writer has paragraph structure in this essay, with an introductory para graph and conclusion, but he's missing clear transitions between the two body paragraphs. His simple sentence structure lets everyone know that his writing skills may not be as high as they should be. A 2 may be better than a 1, but it isn't a score you should strive for.
3 — Still Finding Yourself on the Wrong Side of the Tracks
In my opinion, kids should not have a uniform because it takes away freedoms that they should have. There are some clothing styles that teenagers wear that are not appropriate like tight revealing clothes. But to make students buy certain clothes like blue pants and white shirt infringes on their rights.
In America freedom of expression is very important and by forcing us to wear certain things schools are taking away one of our rights. If they start taking away this right, they might start taking away other ones too.
Uniforms are unfair because some families cannot afford them. Many kids would need a whole new wardrobe and their families would have a hard time buying this for them. Not only would they need clothes, but they also need clothes for outside of school. For poorer families this would be hard.
A uniform would take away some of our freedom of expression and it would be a financial strain for poorer families. I think that there should be no uniforms.
A 3 is almost a reason for celebration. Almost. This writer answers the question, gives reasons to support her ideas, and advances her argument. The essay maintains a semblance of structure. She presents a clear point of view with two supporting points that address the language presented in the prompt. Her sentences are more complex than the ones written by most eighth-graders, and she presents a clear conclusion that sums up her points.
However, she's still hanging around on the wrong side of the tracks. The ACT folks are starting to recognize her developing skill, but she still has room for improvement. Her essay would be better if she included a discussion of the counterargument and more fully developed her ideas. Her paragraphs aren't complete, and she doesn't include transitions to link her ideas and increase the essay's flow. Plus, she makes numerous punctuation mistakes. With a little work, this essay could make it to the right side of the tracks.
4 —Reaching 4 a Better Score
I believe that it would be a good idea for our schools to adopt uniforms. Some people argue that it would restrict student's freedom of expression, but I do not agree with this position. It is important that we have a right to express ourselves, but our society does not allow us to have unrestricted freedoms like this all the time. It is important to learn discipline, show respect for other's feelings and learn how to be successful operating in the real world. School uniforms create a better learning environment and also helps students prepare for their futures.
The most important benefit of imposing dress codes would be creating a better school environment. Students who are trying to concentrate and learn would be unfocused because of inappropriate clothing. Small clothing, tight tops, and sagging pants might be okay for after school but not appropriate for the classroom. Certain types of people might find profanity and obscene images offensive. Art and creative writing are better ways to express your creativity rather than on your clothing. Less distractions in the classroom would help a student to get a better education.
Another important benefit of having uniforms would teach students how to dress properly for different occasions. Clothes that you would wear to a party would not be appropriate for a dinner with your boyfriends parents. Likewise, you wouldn't wear your work clothes on a date. Some jobs in society require people to wear uniforms. Uniforms in schools help students to realize what the world is like and get ready to enter it.
Another important concern for students is trying to fit in. Uniforms take the emphasis off what you look like and put more emphasis on learning. In conclusion, it is important for schools to require uniforms. Getting an education is the most important thing about school and uniforms take away distractions. Learning how to dress for the real world is also important. And it helps with the pressures of trying to fit in.
A score of 4 would make anyone want to run and frolic through green pastures because the ACT folks think you have adequate writing skills. You may not be the best, but at least you're average and your score is respectable. This writer takes a stance and acknowledges counterarguments. He maintains focus throughout the essay, and he supports each idea in the well-defined paragraphs with specific examples to make the graders happy. This writer demonstrates a simple organizational structure that works; it properly includes an introduction that sets up what the writer talks about in the body paragraphs and a conclusion that sums up his points without word-for-word repetition. This essay shows that the writer has learned adequate writing skills in school, even though he hasn't mastered perfect punctuation or impeccable word choice. On the second paragraph, less distractions should be fewer distractions, and switching back and forth between third and second person isn't stylistically pleasing).
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