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ACT Writing Test: What is it and should your child take it?

As of the February 2005 test administration, the ACT added an optional Writing section to the test. What's the ACT Writing section all about, and should your child take it?

What is the ACT Writing Test?

The optional ACT Writing test consists of one essay question for which students are allowed 40 minutes to plan, write, and edit their essays. The essay prompts address contemporary issues, such as the pros and cons of living in an increasingly automated society. After being provided with three diverse perspectives that encourage critical thinking about the issue, students are asked to develop their own unique perspective and explain the relationships among the varying points of view. As a whole, the Writing test calls upon tools of expository writing, evaluative argument, and rhetorical analysis.

Should my child take the ACT Writing Test?

You may be pondering the question of whether your child should register for the ACT Writing test. Before making this decision, check the testing requirements for the colleges to which your child will apply. Many competitive colleges require or recommend that applicants take the ACT with Writing. If that is the case, it's definitely in your child's best interest to register for and to take the Writing test. To find out whether a specific college requires or recommends the Writing test, utilize the ACT's Writing Test Search Tool.

If you're not yet sure which colleges your child will apply to, the best approach may not be clear. We suggest that all students register to take the ACT Writing test. Because a student cannot take the Writing test by itself, it's probably best to at least register for it. That way, if you realize that the colleges to which your child will apply require this portion of the test, he or she will already be registered for it.

Additionally, if you later determine that your child does not need to take the Writing portion, you can drop it up to a few days before the test and still receive your refund.

Related Topics

  • For information about the ACT English section, visit our ACT English page.

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