When you shake someone’s hand and introduce yourself, what are you trying to accomplish? Most people would say they are trying to make a good impression and communicate some of the basics about themselves to someone else. The same goals hold true when introductions are written as well. On your ACT Writing, you might not be shaking someone’s hand, but you should still be thinking about how to make that first great impression with your grader.
Even though your mind and your heart may be racing at the beginning, it’s important to keep three very simple goals in mind when writing your Introduction paragraph. If you can achieve all three of these easy things within your opening sentences, it’s going to make your ACT Writing grader like you a whole lot more!
1. Begin with an interesting Attention Getter = Yes, it is vitally important that you intentionally get your reader’s attention! Just think about how many introductions they read that are dreadfully the same. Then, when your essay shows up, it will be like a breath of cool air on a hot, balmy day. Make yourself sound unique, interesting, and worthwhile! Just like you would when you meet people face to face.
2. Explain the context of your specific prompt = You don’t want to jump to the thesis right away after the attention getter. That’s bad news. It’s like flirting with a girl, then trying to pick her up for a date, except you skipped that little part about asking her out. Prior to your thesis, explain how your Attention Getter is related to the prompt’s topic, then briefly explain the importance of the topic.
3. End with a clear, effective Thesis statement = The thesis is the most important sentence of your whole essay. Definitely make sure that you end your introduction by sharing your argument. Tell the reader where you stand on the issue and why you stand there.
So that’s three goals for your Introduction: Get attention, introduce the topic, give your perspective.
What’s especially helpful in knowing these goals is that you have a built-in structure that you can easily use for any topic. Just think: before you even open the prompt booklet and begin, you already know what you’re going to accomplish in the first few sentences of your essay. This will help you make the most of your 30 minutes, relax when you begin writing, and make an impressive first impression.