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In 2015, the ACT introduced a new style of essay. The essay prompt came with three perspectives and the test taker was to evaluate each perspective, present his stance on each, and finally present his perspective of the issue. In September 2016, the ACT tweaked this plan of things, understandably generating a huge amount of confusion in the student community about what was required of them. For those confused about how to write the essay in 2017, here is a quick overview of how the essay stands today for test takers in 2017.

The first change to keep in mind is the scoring pattern. The score is based on a 12-point scale instead of a 36-point scale, and this 12-point scale is based on 4 rubrics – ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language usage.

The pattern of the question has also changed. There is still an essay prompt followed by three perspectives it, but the ACT has changed its policy in terms of what the prompt asks the test taker to do. Originally, the test taker had to respond to each given perspective. However, now he needs to respond to one of the three perspectives and craft a response supporting that one. This is a good move because initially, the students had to spend so much time analyzing each of the given perspectives that it was difficult to know their perspective. It was hard for students to present a cohesive essay when asked to address all three perspectives. Hence, the ACT has decided to reward students who pick a single perspective and make a more cohesive essay based on that point of view.

The best way to tackle the 40-minute essay is to pick one of the given perspectives that completely resonates your view and with which you wholly agree or pick a perspective that you half agree with so that the essay is an analysis of that perspective as well as an articulation of your explanation or point of view.

An excellent ACT essay approach includes preparing enough time to write and revise your introduction and conclusion paragraphs. Go with the usual five-paragraph essay with the introduction and thesis statement in the first paragraph followed by three body paragraphs, each giving a detailed explanation about the chosen perspective with relevant examples to support the perspective and a final paragraph for the conclusion, which must restate your thesis statement.

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