ACT scores can be intimidating for some of us out there. We may not necessarily be that great at writing or expressing our opinions, but there is always a scope for betterment.
By the end of this blog, you will be certain of a lot more things than you were. Consider reading this very paragraph as your first step at betterment. ACT essays need to be approached the same way we approach any other essays.
Then what is different here, one might wonder? Primarily, this is a common test that pushes you to stand out from the rest of the competitors, unlike, school essays where you are awarded scores with respect to only individual performance ( you will understand more about this in coming paragraphs on ACT writing score percentiles) and the secondary concern should be the time constraint, you have only 40 mins to write the whole essay.
As to structure the essay, stick with the old-fashioned division of paragraphs. Starting with an introductory paragraph followed by body paragraphs (each paragraph with separate ideas) and finishing with a concluding paragraph.
However, here are three major tips to keep in mind (or write it down, if you have a bad memory) :
Loud and Clear
First and foremost should be to make yourself Loud and Clear! Make your argument or thesis statement as clear or specific as possible. Most students make their arguments vague which gives a certain uncertainty to the whole essay.
As of the introductory paragraph, mention your statement as early as possible with full confidence. You may have unique points but it could be only understood on the other end if it is made clear. Open with your strong belief in the statement and then go forward with it thereafter.
Since you have provided your position clearly in the first paragraph, turn your focus on how to back up these statements. You could provide proofs as events, stories, examples, etc in an argument format. It doesn’t have to be as harsh as it sounds. Consider this a debate with your friend, you never just go on and on about it but give proof to support your points (here: arguments).
Think unconventionally on the way you want to put out the arguments, they could be kept simple and short in the beginning, then slowly work your way up to complex arguments which include stories/events, and finally with counter/contrariwise arguments which would bring light on false topics portrayed in the essay.
All you have to remember is to be creative and persuasive because this is your selling point in essays.
Also Read: Top 10 Free ACT Practice Tests
Judge the Book by its Cover
The essay needs to look neat and organized. It takes a lot of planning to bring in a perfectly structured and well-presented.
A bit more focus could be given to sorting and assembling each argument in a way that the first argument may come in handy for the rest of the arguments too.
This may take a lot of practice but don’t worry tychr has got you covered, check out the other blogs to get free tests and samples. These tips are not just to be remembered but also practiced.
These are some additional Dos and Don’ts for peeps who like the idea of taking a mental image :
|Keep it lengthy (2pgs)||Repeat points|
|Be original||Spend time on vocabulary|
|Have smooth transitions||Think too much|
|Revise||Forget to plan|
In the end, it is more about handling the essay in 40 mins than providing complex arguments.Let’s move into the statistical side of ACT writing scores to help you find the right approach.
ACT essays are graded by two graders, they will assign a score of 1–6 to the ACT essay for a total score of 2–12. So the ACT writing score range is from 2(lowest)-12(highest).
The average ACT writing score is 6.5 (2019-2020). With the tips provided above, it would be hard to get a score below the average, in fact, only 30% of people score below 5-6.
So what does this mean to you for applying for ivy league colleges? There is good news, the act writing score for ivy league is not presently under consideration however earlier they expected students with act writing score percentiles of 97% and above.
This means you would have to score around 10 or above in 12 to meet the requirements of the top-ranked universities. As you can see there is no pressure of scoring a 12 on 12 for the ACT writing, so focus more on the quality of writing with proper time management.
Please also note that the ACT Writing Test is only a small portion of your overall application. Your aggregate ACT composite score is more significant than anyone ACT section.