What is the ACT writing test (and why should I take it)?

When you sign up to take your ACT® test, you have the opportunity to take the optional ACT writing test—a 40-minute essay test that measures your writing skills.

Some universities (or academic programs within those universities) require the ACT writing test for admission, while others do not. This is why ACT made the writing test the only optional section of the overall ACT test. If you are considering taking the writing test on your test day, your first priority should be to determine whether your top university choices require the writing exam. Keep in mind there is an extra fee to take the writing test, so finding the requirement before registration will save you money!

What does the test measure?

The writing test contains a single question describing a complex issue and asks you to share your perspective on that issue. Your score will not be affected by the point of view you take on that issue. The test measures:

– Ideas and analysis: Generating productive ideas and engaging critically with multiple perspectives on the given issue.

Organization: Arranging your essay in a way that shows relationships among ideas that guide the reader through your discussion.

Language use and conventions: Using clear language with proper grammar, syntax, wording, mechanics, and audience awareness.

How can I prepare for the writing test?

Read, read, read! Devour books, newspapers, magazines to build a foundation for your writing skills.

Practice writing. Stories, poems, plays, letters, journals—it all helps, especially if you write with many audiences in mind.

Use a timer. Remember, you will have 40 minutes to complete your writing test. Practice writing within that time limit. This is good practice not only for the test but for university-level learning and the workforce.

Take a ACT writing practice test by clicking here!

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