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

Dec 31

Is the ACT Writing Test necessary?

The Writing portion of the ACT was added in 2005.  The section remains optional and the student needs to determine whether he or she needs to take this portion of the exam.

What’s the Writing test all about?

The ACT Writing test gives students 30 minutes to complete one essay question.  Students are given a prompt to write about a social issue that may be relevant to teenagers.  Possible prompts include whether students should complete community service as a graduation requirement, whether students should have a certain GPA in order to obtain a driver’s license or whether schools should require dress codes.  Students are instructed to present their viewpoint and back that up with reasoning and specific examples.

Is it necessary?

The Writing section remains optional.  So it’s a good idea to check with the preferred colleges to which the student will apply.  The Writing section is a requirement for many colleges, but not all.  Keep in mind that the student cannot take the Writing portion alone. It’s a good idea to consider registering for the test with the option of dropping that portion if it’s determined to be unnecessary.  The Writing section does require an additional fee.  This is refundable if a request to cancel is received prior to the test.

For more information about which colleges require the Writing test, check out the ACT Writing Test Search Tool.

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