Most classes that required you to write an essay in one sitting at least give you a full class period. Usually that means students are accustomed to 50 or 60 minute time limits. So what’s the deal with ACT giving students only 30 minutes to write an entire ACT essay? That seems like such a small amount of time to actually try and compose something that’s good.
The truth is that the ACT Writing allots only 30 minutes is exactly because it’s a difficult task to do. Only the very best writers are able to compose something that has both a good argument and sophisticated language. During this time limit, average writers will write averagely, and poor writers will write poorly. It strips down each student’s writing to its rawest form.
It answers the question “What can a student produce when they don’t have loads of time to plan, draft, edit, or get feedback?”
So How Can I Write Well In Such a Small Amount of Time?
Stay focused and make the most of your time. The best writers are the ones who can actually compose a thoughtful argument that sounds sophisticated within that 30 minutes. If you plan in advance a basic strategy for what you will write, if you practice writing within only 30 minutes, and if you know how to quickly think, outline, and execute, then you will definitely be in a good position to write an ACT essay that stands out!
Does ACT Grade Like It’s Only 30 Minutes?
Yes, the judges are well aware that you only receive 30 minutes to write your essay, so there’s certain things that they don’t care about. They understand that you haven’t had time to do much editing, so small grammar errors and sentence flubs aren’t going to affect your score outcome that much. Of course, if you have lots of errors and your writing becomes difficult to read, then it certainly will have an effect.
But, the ACT graders are looking for you to write a decent argument within that time. This means that you need to fully articulate your point with good reasons, counterarguments, and stunning examples.
How Can I Prepare to Write for the ACT Essay?
Since the ACT Essay is such a unique task that you’re more than likely not going to get a chance to practice during class, you need to make time on your own to practice.
If you think of 30 minutes as a sprint, just like a running race, then you want to train in a similar way. You have to get used to giving it your all in that time limit. Start slow, practicing thinking through prompts, outlines, and essay strategies. Practice writing essays and getting feedback, and slowly but surely you’ll find that you’ve trained your mental muscles to exert themselves heroically during the 30 minutes of the ACT essay.