ACT Write: The First Words on Essay Writing
The writing portion of the ACT is optional, meaning that you have the choice of spending an extra 30 minutes at the testing center. (How lucky for you!) Although it's optional, many colleges and universities require this section of the ACT, so taking this part of the test is in your best interest. After all, taking the Writing Test and assuming your college is going to require it is better than not having a score to submit. In other words, take the darn test. You have nothing to lose if your university doesn't want it and everything to lose if it does.
If you're already an excellent writer, which many of you probably are, this chapter gives you the added confidence you need to understand the ACT essay. If you're not the greatest writer, as many students aren't, don't despair. We're here to help. This chapter points out common pitfalls you need to avoid while writing your essay and explains the scoring system the ACT people use to grade your work. It then shows you how other people have tackled the ACT essay to make writing your own essay a little easier. We include sample essays with low scores for you to laugh at (don't worry, we don't include the writers' names) and essays with high scores for you to learn from. Generally, the test gives you a point-counterpoint topic and asks you to write about one side or the other.
Rattling Your Writing With Some Loose Screws
Relax. You've been writing since the first grade, you have something to say, and this test is your way to prove it. All you need is a quick refresher on the basics of essay writing, which, lucky for you, we cover in the following sections. Avoid the pitfalls we describe here, and you'll be well on your way to a winning essay.
Although you may be scared to death of putting your ideas on paper with your name clearly indicated at the top of the page (who likes to be judged, anyway?), stop worrying. Your name is only on the first page, and the ACT scoring folks don't know what you look like.
Writing Before you Think
If you have no destination, you're bound to get lost. The most important part of your essay is having a strong structure and a clear idea of where you're going. If you put your pen to the paper without knowing what the heck you're going to say, you can bet your bottom dollar that the ACT folks won't know what you're saying either.
Make a quick plan before you start writing, and you'll avoid an essay that wanders aimlessly.
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