How would you rather have a date with a cute guy or girl end? Would you rather the last thing you remember be a hot, steamy kiss? Or would you prefer a confusing, awkward goodbye full of mixed signals and disappointment? Or would you prefer no goodbye at all?
When choosing between a memorable kiss or disappointing confusion, most of us would choose the kiss. Right? And this is true for so many other endings as well: just think about movies, boxing matches, and concerts, to name a few. Aren’t these the most impacting and memorable when they end with a BANG! rather than a fizzle?
The truth is that the best endings are the most powerful. The same is true when it comes to conclusions for your ACT writing. You have to end with a powerful, meaningful conclusion that really “packs a punch” and makes you stand out.
Most students end up doing the opposite. They put a conclusion at the end of their ACT essay because they know they have to. Beyond that, they have no clue what they’re doing. Ultimately, their conclusions turn out to be boring, repetitive, and a waste of space. If that ACT writing grader is waiting until the very end of your essay to decide what grade to give it, a weak conclusion will certainly not give them a reason to give it a top score.
You have to end your ACT writing with a BANG!
First, here’s what NOT to do:
1. Do NOT just summarize your essay. Think about it: the grader probably took about 4 minutes to read your essay. Do you think after only 4 minutes they need a reminder of what was in it? No way! This would be a great way to insult your grader.
2. Do NOT skip out on the conclusion. Since you only get 30 minutes, it can be tempting to put all your time into the body paragraphs and blow off this obligatory burden. But make sure that you leave yourself about 4 minutes to craft a few sentences that finalize your paper.
3. Do NOT come up with a new idea, argument, or piece of evidence. All of your arguments are in the body. That’s what body paragraphs are for: arguing. Your conclusion should not surprise readers with a twist or new idea.
Here are some tips on how to really end your ACT writing with a good, memorable conclusion:
1. Remind us of, complete, and/or add meaning to your Attention-Getter. Remember that super-effective attention-getter you started your paper with? Well, you can end your paper with the same kind of image. This technique gives a sense of completion to essays and stories (lots and lots of movies use this technique!)
2. Show us the importance of your topic. What’s really at stake with the issues you discuss? The specific issue in the ACT writing prompt probably isn’t a huge deal in the big picture, BUT if you can show how something important is at stake, then you’ve got our attention and respect!
3. End with a “clincher” sentence. Good movies, songs, stories, and performances make the most of those very last moments. Use your last sentence as your chance to say something dramatic – something that will get us thinking and feeling.
If you follow the basic structure of a Conclusion and stay focused on ending with a bang instead of a fizzle, there’s a really good chance that within 3 or 4 minutes you’ll be able to write a few sentences that will leave a lingering impression on your reader. Don’t be boring!