How To Practice for the ACT / SAT Essay Sections

Flickr user Leslie Richards

While the essay sections aren’t required by either the ACT or SAT, you may decide to take them anyway. Some students choose to do this in an effort to bolster their college applications or they have strong writing skills they’d like to put on display. However, when you’re studying, you may not know quite how to approach preparing for the writing sections. Here are some tips to get ready for your test date.

Read Over Examples of Questions

The essay questions given at the end of the SAT and ACT change every test. When you’re preparing for this section, it’s a good plan to read over several examples online that have been included in the tests over the past few years. You don’t want to write practice essays for every question you read, but this step can help give you a great idea of what they may ask about.

Read Over Examples of Essays

At the same time, read over examples of answers to these questions. Taking a look at others’ work that scored well will tell you exactly what to aim for, from argument to organization. You’ll know how to approach your own writing section after reading a few examples.

Take Practice Tests

When you study for the SAT or ACT, one of the best recommendations is to take practice tests. When it comes to the writing section, don’t skip it. Take it as though it was the real deal. Time yourself, don’t look at your phone or computer, and see how you can complete the section without any prior practice.

Once you’re done, read over your work and see what you would have changed. If you ran out of time, take a look at your approach and see if anything could be altered a bit to give you the extra you need.

Have Someone Review Your Work

While it’s easy to check your answers for the practice SAT or ACT exams with the key and see why you got it wrong, that is not the case when it comes to your essay. It can be difficult to review your own writing and be honest about what needs improvement or understand where your grammar or sentence structure could use work.

Take your essay to someone to have them review it. This could be a trusted friend or fellow student, a teacher, or someone else in your life who would be qualified to tell you what you did wrong, right, or what could use a bit of improvement.

Once you’ve had your work reviewed and understand what you could change, it’s time to tackle another essay. Try to improve your time while also working on your overall writing. Go over your essays in depth with someone you trust to ensure you’re approaching it the correct way while also putting your best writing forward. You don’t want to spend all your study time doing essay questions as it can be time consuming, but make sure you know what to expect and how you can do your best.

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