How to Write an ACT Exam?
Your high school GPA may play an important role in your college admission, but the ACT exam may have the final say. What is an ACT exam? The ACT is an entrance exam that most colleges utilize to decide on a candidate's admission. The main purpose of the writing test is to disclose and measure the applicants' readiness for college studies.
The admission officers review the test score along with your high school GPA to make their final decision. Of course, the classes that you took, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation from your teachers, and your application, where you discuss the high school experience from your own perspective, will be reviewed as well. While the importance of the ACT scores may vary from college to college, the higher the score, the more options for the college enrollment you have.
The ACT exam consists of four sections that include English, Reading, Math, and Science. Aside from that, the prospective candidates are given forty minutes to do the writing test. Writing an essay can be quite difficult; that's why you need to prepare for it. The good news is that ACT essay examples are available online, and you can view sample in this article as well. So, basically, that's what the ACT exam is about. But let's dive into the details.
What is the ACT Exam?
The ACT exam 2022 consists of several sections that reveal your knowledge of various school subjects. The ACT exam stands for “American College Test”. It's a multiple-choice test where you have a number of questions and several options of answers. And you need to be ready to give it almost four hours.
How long is the ACT exam exactly? You have two hours and fifty-five minutes for the multiple-choice test and forty minutes for the writing section. The ACT exam 2022 length gives you enough time to choose the correct answers and dive into your essay, which is quite complex. Basically, in the writing test, you will have to expand on the provided important topic and three different perspectives on it.
When writing a coherent essay, make sure that you show your abilities in several core aspects. You need to be capable of generating ideas and analyzing them from various perspectives. It's also crucial that you provide pieces of evidence that support your viewpoint. The essay must be organized logically, so the reader can easily slide through the narrative. Finally, proper written language use and conventions are also extremely important.
The Structure of the ACT Writing Test
If you are planning to pass the ACT exam 2022, you need to know the structure of the exam. First, let's look at the time you're given for completing each section, as well as the number of questions each ACT section has. What is the ACT exam, if not an exercise on time management? You have to plan basically every minute while you're taking it. Let's divide the ACT exam length for every section:
How to Write an Act Exam
All in all, you have 3 hours and 35 minutes for the ACT exam, meaning that you have just enough time to go through the test once and mark all of the right answers. Aside from it, students have a ten-minute break after the Math section and five minutes rest before they start writing the essay. Try doing an ACT practice exam and actually see when you might need breaks. You've already learned the most important aspects of the written ACT exam scoring. Now, let's take a look at each section of the multiple-choice test.
The ACT English test consists of 75 questions, and the 45 minutes given for it means that you'll have between 30 and 40 seconds for each writing. This section can be divided into three parts in terms of content:
Conventions of Standard English
This is by far the largest part of the test, as more than 50% of the test is devoted to the conventions. The questions focus on grammar, syntax, punctuation, and the correct use of words. Here you may be asked to choose the correct verb or tense. This part focuses on the general rules of English, so you don't have to write essays, sharing your own perspective on world problems or books.
Production of Writing
Around 30% of the test is devoted to the production of writing. Here, students are given passages from the various texts to check how good they are at seeing the big picture. You must choose the correct answer based on the tone or purpose of the passage. Questions in this section also concern the literary style and strategies used by the author.
Knowledge of Language
This is the smallest part of the English test, as its share ranges between 10% and 20%. This segment focuses on style, tone, and precision.
The Math test may seem to be a bit too easy at the beginning. But that's because it's arranged in order of difficulty. Basically, you can say that out of sixty questions; the first twenty are quite easy. The next twenty questions are of medium difficulty, while the last twenty questions are the most difficult ones. Check an ACT practice exam to see at what point you really start to struggle with the questions so that you have an idea of what to review. Now, let's see the percentages that each math topic has in the test:
- Pre-algebra - accounts for 20%-25% of questions;
- Elementary algebra - ranges between 15% to 20% of questions;
- Intermediate algebra - up to 20% of questions;
- Coordinate geometry - takes 15%-20% of questions;
- Plane geometry - around 25% of questions;
- Trigonometry - ranges between 5% to 10% of questions;
The good thing is that the ACT exam allows using a calculator, so you don't have to waste a lot of time if you are not the brightest in terms of calculation.
The reading test has a lot in common with the production of writing questions in the English test. In this section, students are given passages from texts and questions about the passages. You may be asked to identify the author's attitude toward the main subject of the passage. The meaning of this or that word in the context of the passage. The main idea of the body paragraphs. The meaning of the phrase or the function this or that sentence serves within the text. The important part is that you don't have to develop your unique perspective of the text - this is the part of the test that measures your ability to analyze given information without adding your own perspective on the issue.
The Science section includes topics like biology, chemistry, space and earth sciences, and physics. You may be asked to pick the right conclusion from the options you have for graphs and diagrams. The section includes questions on conflicting viewpoints. Here, students are provided with a description of a certain phenomenon with several hypotheses on its explanation. Then you need to choose which assumption reflects the notion provided in the questions.
How to Improve Your Writing Skills?
Considering the ACT exam dates 2022, you still have time to practice the ability to discuss ideas and convey arguments with clarity - improve your writing skills for the essay. You don't know the topic you’ll get, so browsing through 'write my paper for me' services won't be that helpful. But there are a few things that you can do to improve your writing for the ACT exam.
- Read and write - if you do it frequently, you won't have problems with the test;
- Get familiar with current social issues and various opinions on them;
- Taking debate classes will prepare you for the essay;
- Try writing extracurricular activities, like creative writing clubs;
- Share your writing with others;
Basically, improving your writing can be shaped into a simple formula: read-write-repeat. Read how other people write and try writing yourself. That will master the style and improve your ACT exam scoring. You can try blogging to master your skills. As for the organization of your writing, you can always seek advice from your English teachers and generate productive ideas. Asking your classmates and friends what they think of your writing can also help greatly. Just remember that no one is born with perfect writing skills. You can achieve it only through practice.
How to Write an ACT Essay?
After all, despite the complexity of the ACT exam 2022 multiple-choice tests, the essay task remains the most difficult part of it. You might have checked ACT essay examples, but writing one yourself in a short time of 40 minutes can be quite stressful. You need to have a strategy for writing. So, here are the steps that can help you.
- Devote around ten minutes to planning your essay.
- Think of the way you're going to organize it.
- Read the one writing prompt and the multiple perspectives, and choose the one you're going to work on. If you check an example ACT essay, you know what to do.
- Brainstorm the ideas and analysis, as well as supporting pieces of evidence you can provide.
- Picture the structure of your essay, and then devote 30 minutes to writing it so that you will have just enough time on the test day.
ACT Essay Sample
Finally, we are getting to something you can build your essay on. So, you are to get a prompt with three different perspectives on it, and you need to choose which one of them you're going to write your essay, just like the example ACT essay. Let's imagine that the writing prompt you get will be on cancel culture, as shown in many of last year's ACT essay examples.
"Cancel or callout culture is a tradition of removing the support for certain individuals or their work based on their actions or opinions that can be considered objectionable. Traditionally, individuals are called out on social media, which leads to the general awareness of their perceived offense. In most cases, canceling takes the form of pressuring organizations to prevent the subject of the canceling from public appearances. When it comes to business, it can include boycotting their products" — that's what the writing prompt may look like.
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Now, let's check the three perspectives that you can be provided to defeat the ACT exam scoring system:
Cancel culture allows marginalized people to hold their tormentors accountable via public opinion when the justice system fails them. Movements like #metoo allowed numerous women and men to call out their abusers. The cancel culture leads to a safer world, free from abuse of various forms.
While the cancel culture allows people to call out their abusers, we cannot disregard the fact that certain people can use it for their own benefit. The culture leads to people being canceled based on proofless claims, which turns the anti-abuse campaign into witch-hunting.
Cancel culture may lead to a change in power but is ultimately unproductive when it comes to social change. As soon as it became big, it turned into simply casting stones at each other. While we may think that it leads to social justice, it's just engaging in the social media frenzy that doesn't affect real life.
So, here you have the complex issue and three perspectives on it. First, you need to analyze and organize ideas of everything you know about the cancel culture. Think about the examples that you are acquainted with well. Then, examine each of the perspectives presented to you. Think which one is closest to your own thoughts about the issue. Alternatively, you can choose the perspective that you can support with more pieces of evidence.
You start your essay with an analysis of the cancel culture as a whole. Then you should move to one of the perspectives given. There, you can expand and convey arguments on the topic by providing your own viewpoint. Your viewpoint must be supported by pieces of evidence. Regardless of the perspective you've chosen, in the case of cancel culture, the Harvey Weinstein and Depp vs. Heard cases will surely have something to do with it. Then you finish your essay with a logical conclusion.
Don't forget that there must be a logical transition between the passages of your essay. The next passage must expand on the information provided in the preceding one. Your viewpoint must be followed by the supporting evidence. Here’s a sample of an essay that uses perspective two as the foundation:
Here you go the ACT exam sample:
Is the ACT Essay Optional?
If you checked the ACT exam dates 2022, you have several months to prepare yourself. The first exam will occur on September 10, 2022, while the last one in the calendar year will be held on December 10, 2022. The biggest question that bugs students is whether the essay is optional. Yes, it is. Moreover, not every college requires applicants to write an optional ACT essay.
Another important thing is that the total ACT exam scoring is not affected by your essay score. Some colleges think writing the ACT test gives candidates a more rounded score. So, all in all, the essay score matters only together with your multiple-choice results. So, why bother writing the essay at all?
If you are highly competitive, you should try your hand in the ACT writing section. To prepare for it, you can follow the instructions given in this article and read through the ACT essay examples. If you are a mid-range student, you can opt for the writing test, but you should stress out about it, considering that many colleges do not require completing this section. Less competitive students should avoid the ACT writing test and stick to the multiple-choice test. The only reason they should take it is if the college board requires the essay for admission.
How to Pass ACT with Flying Colors?
Now that we have discussed the ACT exam meaning, you can realize that it is not an easy task, but it's not that difficult either. Given all the information provided here, you know what to expect from the multiple-choice test and the writing portion, and you already know the ACT exam scoring system. ACT exam dates 2022 are approaching, but there is nothing to be scared of. Check the ACT essay examples, read through test tips once again, solve a few training tests, think about the logical structure of your essay, and keep the scoring rubric in mind- now you are ready to go and take the test without fearing the final score!