ACT Writing Prompts

While you won’t know the ACT writing prompt you’ll be getting ahead of time, there are definitely ways to practice for this section of the exam. There are several example prompts straight from the ACT so you may even get a real prompt that’s similar to your practice ones!

What is the ACT Writing?

Avoid these mistakes on the ACT writing section

Flickr user Kiran Foster

The ACT Writing is a section of the ACT that is optional. Students who decide to take this portion of the exam will be tasked with writing an essay within 40 minutes. Each student will receive the same writing prompt that describes a complex issue and contains three different perspectives. Participants should write their essay on the issue and their own perspective of the problem.

You are welcome to take any perspective you’d like on the prompt as you will not be graded on your point of view. The score is instead based on ideas, analysis, development, support, organization, and language use.

Tips for Taking the ACT Writing

If you decide to take the ACT writing portion of the exam, you should absolutely prep just as you would for any other section of the ACT! Practice will definitely help here, but you don’t have to write practice essay after practice essay. There are other ways to strengthen your writing including:

  • Reading more
  • Writing anything…not just essays! Get creative. Maybe a fiction story? Or poetry?
  • Write in different formats
  • Participate in clubs or extracurricular activities that involve writing
  • Put extra effort into your writing assignments
  • Have someone give feedback on your writing
  • Remember that writing is a process
  • Start with brainstorming and planning; end with editing
  • Ask your English teacher for help
  • Read (and write) example ACT Writing prompts
  • If you’re taking a practice ACT writing section, practice it as if it was the real deal. Give yourself only 40 minutes with no interruptions.

When it comes time to take the official ACT writing section remember to:

  • Take time to brainstorm – don’t rush in
  • Establish the focus of your essay early
  • Create a layout for your essay to help you stay on track
  • You should have three body paragraphs
  • Include a thesis
  • Read over your work

ACT Writing Prompts

One of the best things you can do is review (and possibly write) practice ACT Writing prompts. You don’t necessarily have to write out every single one as an essay. Instead, just reading them and thinking them over will give you a solid base to work from. You should try to write a couple, but brainstorming and planning will definitely be key here as writing every single essay will take a lot of time that could be used elsewhere for ACT prep.

There are several ACT writing examples available online, including from the official ACT website. In addition to ACT samples, the site also explains how scoring works and breaks down why a sample essay received a particular score.

If you do opt for the ACT Writing portion of the exam, it’s important to be prepared. Do you know what colleges are looking for in the ACT? Our College Match tool will help you identify schools’ expectations before you sit for your exam.

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