The New “Optional” Writing Test
The New “Optional” Writing Test
So let’s get straight to the big news. Beginning in February 2005, the ACT will offer what they are calling their “optional” Writing Test, placed at the end of the exam. The ACT Writing Test will present an issue pertinent to high school students and then ask examinees to describe their opinion on the issue. Students can write their essay in support of one of the given perspectives or develop their own unique perspective based on their personal experience. They will have 30 minutes.
The existing exam will remain unchanged, and even the scoring, for the most part, will stay the same. But the ACT felt pressure from colleges and universities, and probably from the SAT, too, to provide a “direct measure” of an applicant’s writing ability on a specific topic within a specific period of time. And so the “optional” writing test was born.
Optional, you say? Yes, optional, but make sure you read the fine print closely: The test is optional in the sense that institutions have the option of requiring it. You might not necessarily have the option of not taking it. The only way for you to get out of taking the Writing Test is to know well in advance that you won’t be applying to a school that requires it for admission. If there’s even a chance that you’ll want to apply to a school that requires the writing test, then you should spend the extra 30 minutes taking it. However, you can take the writing test separately at a later time if you’ve already taken the ACT and want to apply to a school that requires a writing score. Either way, this book will show you how to ace the new Writing Test. Check out the new chapter at the end of the English Review.
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