ACT Writing Tips: 10 Strategies to Raise Your Essay Score

The ACT writing section is an important part of your ACT score, so if you want to increase your score, you’ll need to do better on the essay. The following tips will help you write better and will help you understand the ACT writing format.

Key Elements of ACT Writing

1. Include examples. Each point of view you describe will need a very specific example to illustrate it for your audience. This wins you points on the ACT essay, so be sure to include them for each perspective included.

2. Use transitions. Do not abruptly switch between paragraphs and topics. It makes your essay look disjointed and poorly written. A transition will refer back to the previous paragraph. Phrases such as, “Unlike the previous perspective, my perspective . . . “or “This brings us to my next point” are useful in transitioning between paragraphs.

3. Choose your thesis statement first. Once you have this in your mind, you can write everything else to support it. The thesis statement will be in the first paragraph, but will determine everything in your ACT writing.

4. Match your thesis and conclusion. The first paragraph and last in your essay need to sound very similar in that they state the same points. Keep everything cohesive, so it doesn’t read as a choppy, broken piece of text.

5. Choose an existing perspective. You’ll be given three perspectives in the prompt. You are given the choice of presenting a fourth option, but this tends to use up more time. Stick to arguing for one of the perspectives that is already laid out and you will be able to write faster.

Hidden Secrets of ACT Writing

Not sure your ACT writing is up to snuff? These tips will give you the hidden strategies needed to get a solid score.

6. Longer is better. You won’t find a specified length in the instructions for the ACT, but anything under two pages usually gets a lower score. Include all the details and be sure your idea is fully explained in order to land those top marks.

7. Begin and finish strong. The most important parts of your essay are the beginning and the end. These are the paragraphs that the reviewers weigh most heavily, so make them count. The two should include the same point, stated in a different way.

8. Include words from the prompt. A quick and easy trick to help cement your essay in the mind of the reviewer is to use some of the same wording from the essay prompt. It is immediately obvious that you are following their requirements. However, you should avoid copying entire sentences. Just use some of the same words.

9. Mix up your sentences. Your writing style will also be judged, aside from the actual content of the essay. Ensure that each sentence has a purpose and is clearly written. A good rule of thumb is to delete anything that doesn’t further your point. You should also vary the length of the sentences, while avoiding run-on sentences.

10. Cover all three perspectives. In the prompt, you’ll see three different perspectives and while it’s possible to write about just a couple of them, you can impress the reviewers by including all three viewpoints in your essay. It’s an easy way to boost your score.

The ACT writing format is pretty simple to master, but practice is the best chance you have of getting a high score. You will need to write well, cover all the subject matter required and use the tips given in this article to ensure you boost your chances of getting a perfect ACT writing score.


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