Date of publication: 2017-08-27 11:01
There's not a whole lot of information out there on how essay length affects ACT Writing scoring. Are longer essays better? But the essay scoring rubric doesn't say anything about essay length, so maybe it doesn't matter? Fear not - your questions will be answered in this article.
Choose an option below to learn about our essay formats. You will also find an essay evaluation grid, a list of SAT essay topics for you to practice on and two sample essays.
Reading: A successful essay shows that you understood the passage, including the interplay of central ideas and important details. It also shows an effective use of textual evidence.
I searched online to see if anyone had done comparable research on the ACT essay, but did not turn up anything, so I did a quick analysis of the word counts for the sample ACT essays. All the essays were written in response to the same prompt, and all received the same score across the 9 ACT Writing scoring domains (for more on this, read my article on the ACT essay grading rubric ).
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Why would you think that essay length even matters in the first place? As I said in the introduction, it's not as if the SAT essay rubric mentions essay length at all.
The SAT Essay shows how well you understand the passage and use it as the basis for a well-written, thought-out discussion. The two people who score your essay will each award between 6 and 9 points in each of these three categories:
Test takers must respond to a broad (and often rather lame) philosophical question ("Is it true that the best things in life are free?" or "Is optimism less valuable than hard work?"), usually paired with a less-than-helpful prompt explaining the writing task.
Then they'll sprinkle some literary "fairy dust" on top to make their essays fly: a smattering of big words, varied punctuation, a rhetorical question perhaps to rouse a drowsy reader, and some quotes or statistics for extra flavor.
No. The nasty truth is that, with only a few extremely rare exceptions, papers going under the suggested length appear lazy, careless, and under-wrought. Unfortunately, essays that are too short will often seem this way even if the writer has laboured with care to adequately explain the content of the essay.
feature image credit: 98 What's That? How Long? Sit On, It., Lindt Big Egg Hunt Covent Garden 76-8-7568 by Martin Pettitt , used under CC BY /Cropped and resized from original.
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It’s also my own personal experience that longer essays make it easier to score higher, as the 67-scoring essays I wrote as a high school senior were almost two pages long (on the SAT, you 8767 re limited to two pages at most).
Remember, any time you go over your limit, you’re imposing extra work on the person grading your paper. Some markers don’t mind the extra work, but some get very frustrated with it. It’s never wise to annoy your marker, so exercise caution.
If you 8767 re serious about improving your SAT essay, you need to get a copy of my two books on this topic: One on SAT Essay Evidence and the other on SAT Essay Strategy .