ACT Writing Test Tips

Writing Test-Taking Tips:

  • Plan
    • Budget your time. Determine how much time you will spend on planning, writing, and reviewing. Be ready to write directly from your outline since it is unlikely that you will have time to draft, review, and recopy your essay.
    • Understand the prompt. Before writing, carefully read and consider the prompt. Be sure you understand the issue, the different perspectives, and your task. 
    • Use the planning questions. Planning questions are included with the prompt and can help you analyze the different perspectives. Use these questions to think critically about the prompt and generate an effective response. (Planning questions are optional and not scored.) 
    • Structure your essay. Use the planning space in your test booklet to structure or outline your response before writing. 
  • Write 
    • Establish focus. Establish the focus of your essay by making your argument clear with organized ideas.  
    • Support your argument. Explain and illustrate your ideas with sound reasoning and meaningful examples. Discuss the significance of your ideas. Show why your argument is important to consider. 
    • Choose your words wisely. Use words that accurately and clearly communicate your ideas.  
  • Review
    • Check for errors. Take a few minutes before time is called to read over your essay and correct any mistakes. If you find words that are hard to read, rewrite them. 

Eliminating Wordiness

Get the ACT Practice Test!

Get a taste of the ACT test with practice questions (and answers) found in this free study guide.

Familiarize yourself with the instructions and format, then review, analyze, and answer the questions to see if you’re correct—and why.

Here's what you'll get:
  • An overview of the ACT test and what to expect on test day
  • A full-length practice ACT test (including writing prompt)
  • Answers and a scoring key for each test section
  • A breakdown of the content covered in each test section
  • General test-taking strategies
  • Ways to approach each section of the ACT

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Instructor Takeover: Preparing for the ACT

My Journey On-Demand Session

This session focuses on tips before and during the exam to help with studying and preparing for the exam, as well as how to combat anxiety that comes with standardized testing and tips to calm nerves.