SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

What Is a Good ACT Writing Score?

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Mar 26, 2017 6:30:00 PM

ACT Writing

As you study for the ACT, it's easy enough to calculate your ACT composite target score. But where does your essay score fit into all this? What’s a good ACT Writing score? Read on to find out how to figure it out!

Note: The information in this article was originally based on the ACT Writing test as it was scored September 2015-June 2016, which was on a scale of 1-36. The scoring of the ACT Writing test changed in September 2016 to be on a scale of 2-12 (with the total ACT Writing score being an average of the 4 domain scores), which means that data on percentiles and averages for the new out-of-12 scoring for different schools aren't going to be available for quite some time. We'll update this article as soon as that information comes out.

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The Ultimate ACT Writing Study Guide: Tips, Strategies, and Practice

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Feb 10, 2017 12:00:00 PM

ACT Writing


We've written the best study guide to ACT Writing section and the ACT essay available anywhere. 

This is a bold statement, but it's not an exaggeration. We have read many, many different ACT prep books and thoroughly studied ACT, Inc’s resources. Based on our research, we believe that this guide is the best resource available by far for ACT Writing.

In this guide, we cover each aspect of the ACT essay in detail, from what kinds of prompts you'll be asked to write about to the essential underlying skills the essay prompt is testing. You'll learn the best ACT writing tips and strategies as well as how to get the most out of ACT writing practice and prep.

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Complete List: Which Colleges Require ACT Writing? 300+ Schools

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Feb 1, 2017 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info, ACT Writing

You’ve just signed up for the ACT. But did you know that there is an optional writing test for the ACT? Do you know if your dream schools want to see it?

Check out our regularly updated list of schools to find out if the Writing ACT is worth your time and money. Then learn how you're going to ace the ACT Writing section.

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How to Write an ACT Essay: Step-by-Step Example

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jan 14, 2017 3:30:00 PM

ACT Strategies, ACT Writing

Sometimes writing—especially writing for standardized tests—can feel like something you "get" or "don't get." That's primarily because it's very difficult to explain and teach writing in a mechanical way, especially when you're up against time limits.

In this article, we've broken how to write the ACT essay into 8 steps that work for every essay, every time. Then, we show you exactly how to do it with an actual ACT essay example.

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How to Get a Perfect 12 on the ACT Writing Essay

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jan 13, 2017 4:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies, ACT Writing

There is no part of the ACT more mysterious to students than the essay, and very few people seem to know what exactly the ACT is looking for in a "perfect" essay (particularly since September 2015 was the new ACT Writing test's debut). Luckily, we've got the expertise to give you some insight into how the essay works and what you can do to push your score those extra few points up the scale.

Whether you're trying to impress your dream school or just want to boost your ACT score, the essay is a great thing to work on. Some of the tips below stand alone, while others are part of larger categories that have been assembled based our ACT expertise.

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ACT Writing Tips: 15 Strategies to Raise Your Essay Score

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jan 13, 2017 11:00:00 AM

ACT Strategies, ACT Writing

Whether you've never thought about ACT Writing strategies or have worked hard on the ACT essay, you can benefit from knowing more: about the essay itself, and what really matters when the graders are reading your essay. In this article, we offer a number of ACT Writing tips as well as a foolproof template for putting them into practice.

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(Updated) ACT Essay Scoring: Completely Explained

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jun 30, 2016 9:00:00 AM

ACT Writing

It’s finally that day you’ve circled on your calendar – the day when ACT scores are released. You log into ACTstudent and look at your essay score. There's an "8" for your overall Writing score as well as four different "domain" scores of 6, 8, 9, and 10. What does your ACT Writing score mean and how is your ACT essay scored? This article will shed some light on both of these things.

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Does Messy Handwriting Hurt Your ACT Writing Score?

Posted by Dora Seigel | Jun 24, 2016 6:00:00 PM

ACT Writing

Do you have messy handwriting? If so, trust me, you’re not alone. Given only 40 minutes to plan and write an essay, most students end up with at least slightly sloppy handwriting. How does bad handwriting affect your ACT Writing score? Can you end up with a lower score? Can you end up with a score of zero? I’ve got the answers to these questions along with more ACT Writing advice.  

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Is ACT Writing Important? Expert Guide

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 29, 2016 8:00:00 AM

ACT Writing

The Writing portion of the ACT has always been an optional portion of the exam. However, it was significantly revised in fall 2015 with the aim of better testing the kinds of analytical writing skills that are necessary for college work. Some colleges require or recommend that students take it for their application, and others don’t.

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Think Your New ACT Writing Score Is Wrong? Recent Issues, Explained

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jan 22, 2016 6:00:00 PM

ACT Writing

If you took the ACT with Writing in September, October, or December of 2015, you may have been taken by surprise by the change in the essay prompt (compared to previous ACT Writing tests). And when you got your scores back...well, you may have been even more confused.

While the change in the ACT essay format was announced ahead of time, the full explanation of how the Writing scores would be normalized was not made clear until after the first administration of the new ACT Writing test. Because of this, ACT, Inc. faced a bit of controversy about the scoring of the new Writing test. Now they've returned to a 12-point scoring scale, with a more transparent calculation system. Read on to learn what all this means for you. 

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Should You Take the ACT With or Without Writing?

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Oct 17, 2015 1:30:00 PM

ACT General Info, ACT Writing

Because ACT Writing is optional, many students are unsure whether they need to add the extra 40 minutes to the test. However, there’s a simple answer to whether you should take the ACT with writing or without writing: it depends on whether the colleges you want to apply to require a writing score.

This guide will talk you through how the ACT writing got started, how to determine whether you should take the ACT with or without Writing, and some other considerations you may want to keep in mind.

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ACT Essay Format and Templates You Can Use

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Oct 11, 2015 8:00:00 AM

ACT Writing

Most of the ACT is entirely multiple choice. All you have to worry about when answering the questions is that you’re filling in the correct answer bubble!

But then there’s that (optional) Writing section, which requires you to give your answer in words. How are you supposed to write a persuasive essay in 40 minutes? What format should your essay have? Is there an ACT essay template that can guarantee you a high score? We'll answer these questions in this article.

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What's an Average ACT Writing Score?

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Oct 10, 2015 8:00:00 PM

ACT Writing

It's approximately one month after your ACT test date. You get your ACT score report and see your ACT Writing score. But what does that number actually mean? Did you do better than average? Worse? Exactly average? Learn what an average ACT Writing score is in this article.

Note: The information in this article includes average scores both for the current ACT Writing test (on a scale of 2-12, where the total ACT Writing score is an average of the four domain scores) and for the ACT Writing test as it was scored September 2015-June 2016 (on a scale of 1-36).

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How Long Is the ACT With Writing?

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Oct 10, 2015 7:00:00 PM

ACT Writing

The ACT is a standardized test that requires endurance. You're asked to answer 215 multiple-choice questions subject area by subject area, a style of testing that causes fatigue for many students. The normal four-section (English, Math, Reading, Science) ACT is already lengthy, but how much longer does it get when you add on the Writing test? In this article, you'll find out just how long the ACT with Writing is, along with some actions you can take to deal with its monstrous length.

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How To Attack ACT Essay Prompts and Raise Your Score

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Sep 25, 2015 9:30:00 PM

ACT Writing

The update to the ACT Writing test has many students confused about how best to prepare. With so much more information to read before you start writing, the ACT essay's got to be more complicated right? Nope, not necessarily. Join me as I journey deep into the land of ACT essay prompts.

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