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Demystifying the Optional Writing Test


The ACT offers an optional writing exam for students.  This exam consists of a single essay to be written in 40 minutes.  Most schools do not require this portion of the ACT; however, it would be helpful to check with all the colleges you plan to apply to regarding their requirements.  If even 1 school requires it, then you need to take this exam.  Additionally, many colleges recommend taking the essay test even if it is not required.  A strong essay score can boost your college application package.


The essay test requires that you consider a socially relevant prompt and three perspectives on that prompt.


Your essay will be scored by two graders.  A score of 1-6 will be assigned to four areas according to a scoring rubric.  These categories are: ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use and conventions. These scored will be averaged for a total combined score of 2-12.


The essay score does NOT factor into your composite score.

Identify categories were your strongest and weakest on your baseline practice test and record them in your journal today.