SAT / ACT Tips and Tricks: Be Concise

Organized desk supplies are neat and tidy just like these ACT tips and tricksThere are many SAT / ACT tips and tricks that can help you out with the reading, writing, and essay portions. But one of the most important tips is to be concise.

SAT / ACT Tips and Tricks: Be Concise

The ACT writing test is a 40-minute essay in which your writing skills are tested.  The SAT writing test is 50 minutes long, and it assesses the same skills. Time is of the essence. Being clear and concise will help you answer the question and get your ideas across in less time, as opposed to wasting time on unnecessary words. This is not the time for your words or ideas to meander all over the page. Remember, you won’t get extra points for using additional words (especially if they aren’t relevant).

So what do we mean by being concise? 

  • Don’t use flowery language or use too many adjectives.
  • Keep adverbs to a minimum (or better yet, eliminate them entirely).
  • Say exactly what needs to be said; don’t get caught in the weeds on details.
  • Use transitions between paragraphs.

One of the best ways to prepare for writing in a more concise style is to practice.  Download and print samples of old ACT or SAT writing prompts if they are available and practice writing to the prompt to the best of your ability. If you have some scratch paper, try sketching a brief outline or making some notes prior to beginning your actual essay. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at writing a concise essay that will earn you a higher score.

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