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Five Tips for the ACT Essay


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For the ACT Essay, students will have 40 minutes to analyze a complex societal issue and 3 given perspectives on that issue, as well as argue their own perspective. Essay scores will be based on 4 categories (Ideas & Analysis, Development & Support, Organization, and Language Use & Conventions) each on a 2-12 point scale. These scores will then be converted to a scaled score out of 36, just like the other four ACT sections.

See an official prompt and sample essays on the ACT website:

Here are some tips on how to successfully tackle these changes:

1. Spend 3-5 minutes outlining your essay. The new prompt gives you a page specifically for outlining, so it’s important!

2. Use specific examples to support or refute perspectives. If you’re at a loss for examples, refer to the ones given in the first paragraph of the prompt.

3. Address the three given perspectives clearly in your essay.

4. Choose one of the given perspectives as your own argument. This can save you valuable time, since you won’t have to address a fourth perspective too.

5. Spend 2-3 minutes proofreading at the end. Obvious spelling and grammar mistakes can lower your Language Use & Conventions score.

Good luck and happy writing!