Recommended Step-By-Step Approach To The ACT Essay

follow the recommended step-by-step approach

follow the Recommended Step-By-Step Approach To The ACT Essay

The whole challenge of the ACT essay is to write an essay in 30 minutes that includes the features that tend to appear in top-scoring ACT Essays. As I’ve said repeatedly, there are a few different ways to do this, but I find the following Recommended Step-By-Step Approach To The ACT Essay the easiest and most straightforward. After we go over this process, I’ll write a sample essay using these guidelines in the next section. Finally, we’ll finish our discussion of the ACT Essay by analysing the example essays from the Red Book, to see how they demonstrate the concepts we’ve discussed.

Before reading about the steps to the ACT Essay, get familiar to the Unwritten Test Design Rules of The ACT Essay

1. Watch The Clock, one of the Recommended Step-By-Step Approach To The ACT Essay.

stay focused

stay focused

You only have 30 minutes, so losing focus for just a few minutes could really harm your score. Do your best to stay focused and keep writing until you’ve made it onto the third page of writing room and finished your essay—for most people, that will take up practically all of your 30 minutes.

2. Read The Prompt And Pick A Side.

pick your side

choose a side

The prompt will address some issue related to the everyday lives of high-school students, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to decide how you feel about it—or at least to pick a side that you can support.

Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer to the prompt, and the grader isn’t allowed to penalize you or reward you based on whether she agrees with your position. So just choose the side that seems easiest to support.

Moving to the 3rd Recommended Step-By-Step Approach To The ACT Essay

3. Come Up With 3 Reasons And/Or Examples To Support Your Side in the ACT Essay.

support your side with an example

support your side with an example

You’ll need these reasons or examples to fill out your essay and support your thesis. Remember that one of the most important things about your essay is that your reasons or examples must clearly support your position. Also remember that the reasons and examples don’t have to be true or academic—they can be true or academic, or both, if you want, but the graders aren’t allowed to care either way. The only thing that matters is that your reasoning and examples would support your thesis if they were true.

4. Write Your Introduction, Including Your Thesis Statement.

always have an introduction

start with an introduction

Now that you’ve picked a side and thought of some ways to support it, start writing.

Remember that this is a 30-minute essay test, and length counts more towards your score than any other single thing. You don’t want to waste time.

Your introductory paragraph should include your thesis statement. In addition to your thesis statement, you just want a few sentences related to the topic to fill out your essay.

You can fill out the rest of your opening paragraph by referring to the examples you’ll be using, like the 5-scoring essay does on page 133 of your copy of the Red Book. Or you can just write filler material on the general topic of the prompt, like the 6-scoring essay on page 137 of the same book does in its opening paragraph. The most important goal to accomplish with the introductory paragraph is to state your thesis clearly.

5. Write Your Supporting Paragraphs, Using Examples And/Or Reasoning.

Once you’ve finished your introduction, you’re ready to write your supporting paragraphs. This is the bulk of your essay, and length counts. I recommend one paragraph per example or reason, so if you have three examples to write about, you’ll end up writing three paragraphs.

Three isn’t necessarily the magic number of supporting paragraphs. You could do just two if you expanded on them enough to fill out more than two pages in total, or you could do four or five if you could think of that many ways to support your position, and if you could write about all of them quickly enough to finish on time. In general, though, I find that three supporting examples or reasons is the best number for most people.

follow the structure below

follow the structure below

Each support paragraph should more or less follow this structure:

·  General statement that introduces what that paragraph will be about

·  3-5 sentences describing your reason or example

·  1-2 sentences relating this reason or example to the thesis.

Once you’ve written a paragraph like this for each example, I recommend you address counterarguments.

6. Address Counterarguments, as mentioned in the Recommended Step-By-Step Approach To The ACT Essay.

address counterargument

address counterarguments

You’ve got most of your essay written by now, and you should be around halfway down the second page, or possibly even further along than that. Now you need to address counterarguments.

Your counterarguments paragraph should indicate that you’re aware of reasons why someone might disagree with your answer to the prompt, but that people who disagree with you simply aren’t aware of something that makes your position best. For examples of this type of paragraph, see my sample ACT Essay on the next page, as well as the sixth paragraph of the “perfect” 6-scoring ACT Essay that starts on page 137 of the Red Book.

7. Conclude The Essay.

conclusion starters

conclusion starters

At this point, you should be near the bottom of page 2, or even starting on page 3. It’s time to write your conclusion and finish your essay.

Start with a couple of sentences reasserting the position you took in the beginning of the essay. Then, in another couple of sentences, re-summarize your reasons and examples, and wrap up your thoughts. If necessary, you can draw this summary out to get to the third page (remember that the length of your essay is the single most reliable indicator of its score).

Now that we’ve discussed this Recommended Step-By-Step Approach To The ACT Essay in abstract, let’s take a look at some examples! On the next page, you’ll see me construct a sample ACT Essay using this process. After that, we’ll analyze the exemplar essays in the Red Book to see how the top-scoring ones follow the principles we’ve been talking about.

Know the ACT Essay Writing Tips!

Example ACT Essay