Tip from Josie: How to approach the new ACT essay

Josie Francois2Hi everyone, my name is Josie Francois and I am a rising junior at Harvard College concentrating in Chemistry with a secondary in Economics. I have worked as a tutor at HSA Tutoring for a few years now and I really enjoy it. I want to help students perform to the best of their ability, whether in class or on standardized tests.

Today I will be providing information on the upcoming changes to the new ACT Writing Test, otherwise known as the ACT essay. In September, the ACT essay is changing. Nevertheless, the essay remains optional. Not all schools require the ACT essay, but many, particularly highly selective colleges, do. If you think you might apply to a college that requires the essay section, I recommend taking the test with the essay.

The new ACT Writing Test will be 40 minutes long, 10 minutes longer than the current one. Before, the ACT essay asked students to write a simple persuasive essay. Now, students will be asked to write an essay that is persuasive, expository, analytical, and argumentative. In short, the new ACT essay asks students to do a lot more.

Like the old essay, the new ACT essay will give students one prompt. As usual, there will be a paragraph that provides background information on the topic at hand and then asks the question that students are supposed to address. For the new essay section, students will also be presented with three different perspectives on the topic and asked to evaluate and analyze the three perspectives. In their essays, the students will also have to state and develop their own perspective and explain how their perspective is related to the three provided.

Scoring has also changed. Students will still get a single score, on the 2-12 scale, for the overall essay. On the new ACT Writing Test, students will also receive scores, on the same 2-12 scale, for four essay components: ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use.

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