The first ACT exam of Fall 2015 is tomorrow! Good luck to everyone who is taking the test. Just a reminder, this is the first test that will implement the new essay. Instead of asking students to write about a school-related topic, ACT wants test-takers to respond to a prompt about a contemporary issue. Students must evaluate three perspectives on the issue while supplying their own viewpoint. Do the following to make sure you get a good score:
1) Have a clear perspective of your own about the topic.
You still need to argue your own viewpoint regarding the topic, so don’t just evaluate the perspectives. Your thesis should be sophisticated and as clear as possible (just like it always).
2) Be sure to directly address the perspectives in the essay.
Don’t simply hint at or imply how the perspectives relate to your argument. You need to state them as “Perspective 1,” “Perspective 2,” and “Perspective 3.” It may seem clunky, but that is the easiest and best way to get your points across.
3) Write a four-paragraph essay.
Your first paragraph is an introduction that shows that you understand the issue and have a clear argument. The second paragraph is the “con” or “counter-argument” paragraph. In this paragraph, show how the opposing viewpoint seems correct, citing which perspective(s) follow this mindset. The third paragraph is the “pro” or “your viewpoint” paragraph. In this paragraph, show how your viewpoint is actually more correct, citing which perspective(s) follow this mindset. Finally, conclude in a way that doesn’t completely repeat what your introduction says, but don’t make your conclusion longer than one or two sentences.
4) Use your extra ten minutes to brainstorm effectively.
You are given 40 minutes instead of 30 minutes. The length of the essay will not change too much, so you should spend that extra time making a compelling argument and structuring the information in the best possible way. Also, you are going to need good examples to support the ideas in each body paragraph. These examples should come from history or famous people (not celebrities). If you can’t think of specific events or people, then make up with detailed scenarios that are relevant to the topic.
Good luck on your exam and remember to keep calm and focus. Don’t spend all night studying. Get some rest and make your body as prepared as your mind for the test!