There are plenty of theories around how to score high on your ACT essay.
Some say you need to summarize the prompt.
Others say you should focus on making your points.
But it will prove challenging to nail it unless you understand what the ACT is looking for.
Here are some tips on how to score high on the ACT essay.
Understand The Prompt
The test booklet contains a prompt for your essay. It will present to you a controversial issue as well as some background about it. You will also be introduced to three perspectives on the issue.
Understand How You’ll Be Graded
There are essentially three criteria your essay will be graded on.
The first is how thoroughly you evaluate and analyze the perspectives that were introduced to you.
Your second task is to state and develop your perspective on the issue.
Finally, you’ll need to explain the connection between your perspective and the ones provided.
Outline & Plan Your Essay
The test booklet contains two pages for planning your essay.
Planning the structure of your essay is critically important to your success. It’s important to think about how you can add additional insights to the perspectives offered, the merits and flaws of each argument, what your view on the issues is, the strengths and weaknesses of your argument, as well as how you’ll build a case for your perspective.
Use Facts In Your Arguments, Not Generalizations
The above are general tips designed to help you score higher on your ACT essay.
But there is one critical truth that is perhaps more important than any other factor: facts come before generalizations. In other words, you need to prove your arguments.
Taking a stance on the controversial issue being presented is important. But your thoughts and opinions should also be well-supported.
The most important aspect of building a home is the foundation. If the house is built on a strong foundation, the rest almost takes care of itself. This is an analogy that can also apply to writing essays.
What To Do & What Not To Do
Generalizations tend not to help your arguments. Making broad, sweeping statements, such as “the wealthy are greedy,” are unfounded, at least without further evidence to build your case around.
The best way to provide proof is by offering compelling examples that align with your perspective.
Examples are harder to criticize than general statements. They demonstrate how someone thought and acted in a specific situation. The right or wrong of their decisions becomes irrelevant considering your citation of a case study. Someone acted the way you described, and in the mind of the reader, that leaves less room to poke holes in your argument.
There are few constraints and limitations as to what examples you can use. You can pull relevant historical examples, instances from literature, current events, science, and even examples from your own life.
You can recount a historical event to the best of your ability, but you can’t relate a story more vividly than the one you experienced, in some instances giving it more credibility.
There is so much more that could be said about nailing your ACT essay.
But in summary, the critical thing to remember is to plan well and to think carefully about how you’re going to support your arguments. The more detail you can offer, and the more supporting evidence and proof you can provide, the better.
This proof comes from examples. Examples can take many forms, and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong. The goal is to offer convincing facts and not just broad, sweeping generalizations.