The ACT essay is an optional test but, it can be a criterion for admission in your selected list of colleges. The ACT writing test is optional, and your score is not factored into your ACT composite score.
However, it will be factored into your English-Language Arts’ sub-score, where your English, reading, and writing scores are averaged and rounded-up to the nearest whole number. So, if you are serious about the ACT essay, it is very important to know all about it for great scores to be achieved.
Once ACT receives your essay, it is scanned and uploaded to a grading program so that the graders can score it. Each ACT essay is scored by two different graders. ACT also sends an image of your essay to your high school and the colleges, along with your scores from the test date. Now let’s look into the four domains in which you will be marked for your ACT essay and understand how the score can be improved.
In the ideas and analysis domain, your different perspectives on the essay topic are checked. To score high marks in this domain, it is highly advised that you should have a clear idea about your essay topic.
Since you are writing a persuasive essay, it is necessary that you are sure your position on the topic is clear. Due to limited time and requirement for comparison with another perspective, you can choose one of the three perspectives given to you by the ACT. Failure to do so will lead to scoring not more than 2 or 3 in this area.
In the development and support domain, you need to develop your points with logical reasoning or by examples. Logical reasoning tends to be more abstract. In the case of specific examples, you should always provide credible ones.
To score a high score in this domain, you should discuss both positive and negative aspects of the perspectives of the other perspective, as well. This can be done by understanding the complexities of the issue at hand.
In the organizational area, you are scored on your essay’s organization of the overall structure as well as within each paragraph. You can do this by grouping your ideas logically. This allows essay graders to follow your perspectives, logical reasoning and examples. You should separate out ideas into different paragraphs or link different aspects of an idea in the same paragraph. In other words, try to make your paragraphs as easy as possible to follow your arguments.
In the language use area, your scores depend on your command over written English. The variety in the sentence structure and vocabulary is also rewarded highly. Being able to communicate as clearly as possible is a key skill for ACT, college and your eventual career. Basically, essay graders are more interested in the clarity of your thoughts than flowery words or phrases.
This can be achieved by proper usage of grammar and vocabulary. Also, re-reading and revising your essay helps in avoiding spelling mistakes and over-complex sentences when explaining your ideas.