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Turning Old ACT Writing Prompts Into New Ones

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As we’ve talked about before, the ACT Writing section has recently undergone a major revision. While a new version of the official ACT guide is due out soon, there are only a handful of official and unofficial practice prompts for new Writing currently available online. If you need more practice but can’t or don’t want to wait for the new guide to come out, you can turn the old prompts in the current guide into new ones with a minimal amount of fuss.


The three “perspectives” on the new Writing section following a relatively predictable pattern:

  • The first and second perspectives take binary positions (all for and all against) on the issue being discussed.
  • The third perspective presents a new way of thinking about the issue that breaks out of the either/or mindset of perspectives on and two.


Here’s how to craft new ACT Writing prompts from old ones:


  1. Download and review the sample prompt, sample essays, and new rubric from the official ACT site. Share these with whoever will be writing your third perspectives. (See step three.)


  1. Choose a couple of Writing prompts (preferably ones you haven’t done) from the official guide. These prompts always present topics in an either/or manner, so use these positions as your first and second perspectives.


  1. Ask a friend, family member, teacher, etc. to write the third perspective for you. You can write the perspective yourself if necessary, but it will make for a better approximation of the real exam if you have someone else do it. If you have a friend who is also studying for ACT Writing, you can write perspectives for each other. This will also allow you to grade one another’s practice essays, giving you a more objective assessment of your readiness for the new Writing section.


  1. Write your essays and have your ACT partner (if you have one) grade them according to the new rubric. If you must grade your essays yourself, try your best to be objective. Grade based only on what you actually wrote, not what you “meant” to write.


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