How to Write the Perfect ACT Essay

The ACT just released its newest revision: a  brand-new essay format. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any harder for your kids to get into a great college, this happens! It’s a little disturbing that the ACT barely publicized this change and thousands of high schoolers took the September ACT with little to no preparation. It’s almost as if they want to make it harder.

We’re here to help you figure out what the new prompts look like and exactly what the scorers are looking for. It’s a very basic recipe that will make writing the new essay a breeze.

Prompt: Intelligent Machines


Introduction

Many of the goods and services we depend on daily are now supplied by intelligent, automated machines rather than human beings. Robots build cars and other goods on assembly lines, where once there were human workers. Many of our phone conversations are now conducted not with people but with sophisticated technologies. We can now buy goods at a variety of stores without the help of a human cashier. Automation is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what is lost when we replace humans with machines? Given the accelerating variety and prevalence of intelligent machines, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of their presence in our lives.

The Perspectives

Perspective 1Perspective 2Perspective 3
What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.Intelligent machines challenge our long-standing ideas about what humans are or can be. This is good because it pushes both humans and machines toward new, unimagined possibilities.

Essay Task

Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the increasing presence of intelligent machines. In your essay, be sure to:

  • analyze and evaluate the perspectives given
  • state and develop your own perspective on the issue
  • explain the relationship between your perspective and those given

Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different. Whatever the case, support your ideas with logical reasoning and detailed, persuasive examples.

Essay Recipe


While the prompt above may seem confusing and excessively difficult, it’s actually very easy once you break down the elements needed to write a spectacular essay.

What You Need:

  •  Know your opinion
  • Know the opposite opinion
  • It’s important to note the role the Perspectives play. Students must include the perspectives in their analyses. The best way to do so is by literally referring to them as Perspectives One, Two, and Three in their argument.

That’s it. Students only need to know those 2 things to be able to write an amazing essay, and here’s why. The ACT has 6 essays available to read that received a score from 0-6. We broke down the top-scorer (6) and our analyses revealed an extremely easy recipe.

Intro Paragraph

  • 1st sentence: Start off with the good stuff. Make your hook really juicy and specific to attract your reader.
  • 2nd sentence: State the opinion that is the complete opposite of yours.
  • 3rd sentence: Open with a contrasting transition word like “while” or “however” to say that although that opinion might be right, yours is better (and state your own opinion).
  • Last sentence: write your thesis (your opinion).

Body Paragraph #1: Support the Opposite Opinion

  • 1st sentence: write your topic sentence
  • 2-6 sentence: use extremely specific details (like anecdotes or historical events) to support your idea. Remember to write about how you agree/disagree with the Perspectives.
  • Last sentence: restate your topic sentence as a closing sentence.

Body Paragraph #2: Support Your Opinion While Refuting the One You Just Presented in Body Paragraph #1

  • 1st sentence: write your topic sentence
  • 2-6 sentence: use extremely specific details (like anecdotes or historical events) to support your idea. Remember to write about how you agree/disagree with the Perspectives.
  • Last sentence: restate your topic sentence as a closing sentence.

Conclusion:

  • 1st and only sentence: rewrite your thesis.

 

Super easy, right? Like we said before, as long as the test-taker knows this structure, their opinion, and the opposite opinion, they’ll know where to put what information. We’d wish you luck, but you won’t need it with this recipe!

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