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Suniti's Advice Corner

New ACT Essay: What you Need to Know

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Aug 28, 2015

The New ACT Essay Section: Your questions answered

Image Courtesy of David Coleman

The ACT is shaking things up by changing the essay section. 

Before you freak out, read this summary and wepromise you will feel better and more prepared! TestRocker Students: Once you have read the below, make sure you log back in to TestRocker and submit your two ACT essays (located in the Full Length Tests). We will send you feedback to help you improve. Essays must be submitted at least 1 week before your test date. Not a TestRocker student? Enroll now to take advantage of our essay grading/feedback service!

How is the ACT Essay section changing?

The ACT Writing section is changing in the following ways:

  1. Allotted Time

    You will now have 40 minutes to complete the essay. The old essay allotted time was 30 minutes. This is because you now need to spend more time to plan and compose your essay. 

  2. Topic

    The old essay topics were about controversies around school-related issues. Eg. School uniforms – should schools have them or not. The new essay topics will focus on contemporary real-world issues beyond school. Eg. Public health vs. Individual Freedom.

  3. Perspective/Reasoning

    The old ACT essay would prompt you to take a stance for or against the issue. The new essay will give you three perspectives about the issue and ask you to develop an argument taking these three perspectives into consideration, and to explain your perspective in relation to the perspectives provided. 

  4. Scoring

    The old ACT essay was scored on a scale of 2 – 12. The New ACT essay will be scaled, so you will receive a score out of 36 (like the other ACT sections.)

When will the new ACT Essay section replace the current one?

The old ACT essay is officially gone – so any of you taking the ACT with Writing from September 2015 onwards will see the new ACT Essay.

What does a sample prompt and example response look like?

Good question! We have created a Sample Essay Response to one of the New ACT Essay prompts. To download the attachment, simply click here:

View Sample Essay Now!


Tags: For Students

About Suniti

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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching students how to maximize their SAT and ACT scores, a method she has perfected through tutoring thousands of students globally for more than a decade. 

TestRocker is a one of a kind online SAT/ACT program that empowers students to take control of their test preparation. After taking our diagnostic test a customized study plan, individualized to students' strengths/weaknesses, allows them to track progress as they work through the program. Each of the 1,200 SAT & 2000 ACT questions on TestRocker are accompanied by video explanations from Suniti. Parents are able to track their child’s progress through biweekly reports.

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