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Know and Improve Your ACT Writing Section

Feb 29, 2024

Reaching prestigious institutions is the ultimate goal of thousands of hard-working, determined, and passionate students. Exams like ACT serve as a gateway to their aim. It includes four mandatory multiple-choice question-based tests and an optional writing section of ACT. Candidates opt for the option if their desired college requires it. If you are among the ones appearing for the writing test, detailed information on the same is compulsory. For the ones aiming to reappear for the test, improvement strategies are essential. Gather it here with insights into the measures to improve your score. 

What is the Writing Section ACT?

The writing section of ACT is a 40-minute assessment that requires candidates to write an essay. The test is taken in pencil and paper mode. It is accessible only after taking four multiple-choice tests in the same session. Candidates are offered a writing prompt encompassing the complex issue and three different perspectives on the same. They are required to write an essay indicating their own perspective and relate it with one or more than one of the provided perspectives. 


The perspective can either be the candidate’s own or derived from the given perspectives. The judgment will be over other domains rather than one’s perspective. Further, the scores in the writing section of ACT do not impact the scores in other subjects or the composite score. Not taking the writing test will be depicted on the report as no English Language Arts (ELA). 

How Do You Score in the Writing Section of ACT?

The writing section of ACT is scored in the range of 2 to 12. Two trained readers perform the judgment, and each of them assigns a score ranging from 1 to 6. These individual scores are then combined to give a total score between 2 and 12. Candidates get a single subject-level writing score and four domain scores depending on the analytic scoring rubric. The subject score is the rounded average of the four domain scores. The four domains assessed here are: 


Ideas and Analysis

Evaluators will judge you for productivity, relevance of ideas, and the ability to engage with different perspectives. They are also expected to exhibit their ability to understand the issue, deal with the audience, and clarify the purpose of writing. Try to include complexity and sophistication in the others and focus on the art of argumentation. 

Development and Support

It assesses the candidate’s ability to strengthen or support their argument, discuss the ideas, and present the logic. Proper explanation of ideas and countering the statements with examples is expected from the student. 



Candidates should express their ability to organize the ideas rather than just presenting them in a haphazard way. It should be properly arranged and clearly relate the different ideas and perspectives. Focus on the basic categorization and serve its purpose. The essay must have an introduction, a body with paragraphs, and a conclusion. Ensure the connectivity is constant while changing paragraphs. 

Language Use and Conventions 

The grammatical abilities are primarily checked here. The correct usage of grammar, spelling, word usage, syntax and mechanics, style, and tone concerning the audience is important in this domain. Slight errors are permissible; however, eliminate each one of them during the revision. 


How to Improve ACT Writing Score?

If you have appeared for the ACT writing section and wish to appear again for score improvement, the following strategies might be helpful for you: 


It is the most recommended and highly helpful method to score well. To alleviate the monotony of repetitive writing, consider exploring different formats and real situations. Diversify your practice by including letters to the editor or company, poems, journals, reports, and news articles. Also, cover all the ACT writing section examples and sample prompts during the practice. 


Expand Your Knowledge Base

Knowing more expands one’s perspective and analytical abilities and develops ideas. With a habit of the same, generating arguments and backing them with examples in the writing section of ACT will be comparatively easy. You will enhance your ability to think through the issues and develop communication abilities. Engaging in speech and debate classes is highly recommended. 

Pace Up

With only 40 minutes to do multiple tasks such as making the structure, analysis, developing perspective, relating the same with provided perspectives, and much more, there remains an important need to act on time. An active mind and rigorous practice help pace up. 


Look for Feedback

Critically analyzing your essays is important. However, feedback from readers, analysis of their perspective, and understanding of the shortcomings are also essential. Seek both professional help and assistance from people around you. Consider their expectations from the article, what you delivered, and what you excluded in writing and improve in succeeding act.


Preparation and improvement of the score are not limited to writing. Rather, you can also carry on the preparation by listening to analysis on the radio or TV and interacting in debates and discussions. They will build the foundation skills. Develop your analysis on the aspect. Listening and following the guidelines and advice of an English teacher is also necessary. 



The ACT writing section is an optional test to be taken if the university of interest requires it. With the total awarded score ranging between 2 and 12, the two different evaluators checked the offline test to remove bias in judgment. Constant practice, expanding one’s knowledge base and vocabulary, argumentation capability, and emphasis on analytical skills are the key elements to score best. Ensure that you keep the four domains of judgment criteria in mind while designing the answer. Remember that it does not impact the subject-wise or composite score of the ACT. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What other subjects are there in the ACT test?

The ACT encompasses primarily four multiple-choice tests. The subjects involved are English, mathematics, science, and reading.

What scores are awarded on taking the ACT test?

Excluding the writing test, the candidates are awarded scores between 1 to 36 on the ACT test. Here, the average score is 20.

Why is the writing section of ACT optional?

Postsecondary institutions decide for themself if they require a writing test for admissions or course placement purposes. Due to multiple institutions opting out of it, the test is optional.

Writing section of ACT


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