ACT Writing Prompts, Tips, and Essay Samples


The ACT Writing section is a three-hour marathon of essay writing. You’ll need to answer six different prompts and write two essays for each essay prompt, with the total word count coming out to be about 3,000 words in all. It can feel like a daunting task at first glance, but it doesn’t have to be.

The best way to prepare for this exam is by outlining your essays beforehand and deciding what you want to include in them before you start writing. This will help save time on the day of the test when you’re under more pressure and are less likely to think clearly.

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What is the ACT, and What are its Benefits?

The ACT is a national standardized test designed to measure high school students’ English, reading, mathematics, and science abilities. It stands for American College Testing and was created by the Iowa-based company of the same name.

The ACT exam has four sections to it, although the writing section is optional. The other three test your math, reading, and science skills in different ways. It’s an important part of getting into college since many schools require or recommend ACT scores as part of their application process.

Benefits of ACT include:

  • The test is a good indicator of how well someone will do in college because it measures specific skills important for success.
  • It’s also helpful in measuring up students to one another since there’s a national average.
  • It’s a great way to get a general idea of what you’ll have to know in college, such as time management skills.
  • The ACT is available five times a year, making it easy for students to schedule an appointment around their busy lives.
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How to Prepare for the Test

There are several steps you can take in order to prepare for the ACT.

  • First, it’s best to review the practice test papers and see where your weaknesses lie.
  • Then, an excellent way to improve is by taking additional lessons in the subjects you feel less confident about and practicing with actual tests.
  • It’s also good to practice your time management skills since it’s important on the test day.
  • Finally, you can try to relax before taking the exam by preparing yourself as much as possible.

Examples of different ACT essay prompts

Sample prompt 1:

Nuclear power plants are beneficial in today’s society. However, nuclear accidents can be disastrous to the environment and humans. So far, there has been only one major accident involving a nuclear reactor that resulted in widespread panic and distress. This disaster was caused by a tsunami back in 2011 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.

Write an essay on this topic, presenting your point of view about the effects that nuclear power plants have on society. Be sure to support your opinion with logical reasons and examples from your studies, experience, or observations.

Sample prompt 2:

The current balance between males and females in college has shifted since the 1970s when many more women attended college than men. This has led to a new problem: too many males not having a female counterpart in their lives after graduating. As a result, there have been several different studies on gender imbalance and its effects on societal structures, such as marriage.

With this in mind, write an essay for this prompt. In your essay, be sure to discuss what you think about the effects of an unbalanced gender ratio in college and how it’s affected today’s society.

Sample prompt 3:

The characteristics of a prime minister are often quite vague; however, this can lead to different interpretations by various people. For instance, some prime ministers are known for their political savvy, while others are remembered for handling military affairs.

Explain what a modern-day prime minister should be like by writing an essay on this topic. Provide examples and reasons to support your position so that the reader will better understand your viewpoint.

Sample prompt 4:

Your high school class is going on a field trip in the near future, and you would like to join them. Although they have already chosen who will go, you feel that you deserve to be included as well.

Write an essay in which you convince your classmates that you should be allowed to attend this field trip with everyone else. Explain to them why you should go and how going with everyone else will be beneficial for you.

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Sample prompt 5:

In today’s society, people are always looking for ways to save time whenever they can. They do this by having fast food delivered or making their meals in bulk so that they have leftovers later.

Explain how the idea of saving time has impacted our society today by writing an essay on this topic. Give specific examples to support your position, and be sure to develop a strong thesis statement.

Sample prompt 6:

With environmental issues becoming more prevalent in recent years, many countries have begun taking concrete steps towards a greener future. For instance, many countries now participate in the growing trend of recycling and are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

Sample prompt 7:

Global warming is already having a major effect on our planet today, making it crucial that we change our habits immediately before it’s too late. However, some people find this idea difficult to implement in their daily lives, which means it’s up to us to educate them about this issue. Write an essay on how you can convince your peers and other people of the importance of global warming and its effects on our future.

Sample prompt 8:

In today’s society, a wide variety of careers are available for young adults who wish to start working early. In fact, many jobs will even pay their employees to attend classes while they are still in high school!

Write an essay on this topic, explaining why you think it’s beneficial for students to get a head-start on their careers before they even graduate from college. You need to provide two or more examples and be sure to develop a strong thesis statement.

Sample prompt 9:

While there are several different subjects that one can study, it’s often difficult to decide which one(s) to take during high school and college. As a result, many students switch their majors from time to time as they progress through their educational careers.

Sample prompt 10:

Describe a person you admire. Explain why this person is important to you and how the things he or she has done have positively influenced your life. You need to clearly state who this person is, what has made them significant in your life, and any memories that are particularly meaningful to you.

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Sample prompt 11:

Not all people are born with the same amount of privileges, leading to a sense of inequality among them. This often leads to prejudice and other forms of discrimination where one person feels more important than others because they have better wealth or more power over a certain group.

Sample prompt 12:

Many people from different generations now feel that technology advancing to intelligent machines will have a major impact on the future of our society. However, many experts are now debating whether this will be beneficial or harmful to us in the long run.

Sample prompt 13:

If you were allowed to change something about yourself, what would you do? Explain your answer, and be sure to make a strong argument based on your position.

Sample prompt 14:

In today’s society, people have become more reliant upon technology than ever before. For instance, they rely on their devices to keep in touch with people, as well as for entertainment purposes. However, we have to remember that technology is not a permanent fixture in our lives and won’t be around forever.

Sample prompt 15:

People often argue that cell phones can cause safety issues, especially when it comes to teens who are driving. Some people go as far as to say that teenagers should not be allowed to own these devices under any circumstances.

Situation: You are at a time of day when you might be driving. Explain whether or not you think teens should be able to use their cell phones in certain situations, such as the times when they’re driving. Be sure to explain your thoughts on this issue and support them with reasons and examples.

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Tips on How to Write a Great Essay:

Writing an essay for the ACT is one of the most challenging things that high school students have to do regularly. While it may seem overwhelming at first, there are several tips you could follow to make your essay-writing experience easier and more enjoyable. These tips include:

• Always make sure you know what your prompt or task asks.

• Read and carefully consider all the examples, instructions, and information you are given.

Outlining your essay beforehand.

• Making a plan of what you want to include in it before writing.

• Having a clear thesis statement in mind.

• Writing your essay in point/counterpoint format.

• Starting with an introductory paragraph

• Explain your perspective on the issue and then support it with reasons, explanations, and examples.

• Having a solid conclusion that wraps up the topic of discussion.

• Using transition words such as “for example” and “moreover” to write a unified, coherent essay.

• Be sure to use good topic sentences for each paragraph.

• Maintaining a strong sentence structure.

Many students have difficulty writing great ACT essays because they don’t know where or how to start. This can be particularly challenging when you’re asked to write about a certain person or situation. As a result, you should never forget to clarify who this person is by providing their name and what they have done that has made them significant in your life. You should also talk about any memories that are particularly meaningful to you, as well as how they have positively influenced your life.

Because of the structure and format of the ACT essay, things can get a little tricky when you’re not sure how to organize your writing. Therefore, students need to keep in mind that they should always have a strong thesis statement ready before writing their essay. This gives them something that they can refer back to throughout their writing process, making it a lot easier to stay on topic with your ideas.

Another important thing that students should remember is that they need to make sure that each paragraph in their essay flows nicely from one idea into the next. Therefore, you should always make a point to use strong topic sentences, so you don’t get off track while writing. If you forget your current idea, it can be easy to stray from the main point of your essay and make things a bit confusing for the reader.

Ultimately, transitions should lead smoothly into each paragraph that follows, all while maintaining a clear thesis statement throughout. There are also some transitions that you should avoid using to create a professional-looking essay. These transitions include:

• “Firstly” and “on the other hand.”

• Beginning sentences with conjunctions such as “however,” “which,” and others.

• Repeating words or phrases without changing their meaning or context. While it may seem like an easy thing to do, it can often be quite tricky for students to write phenomenal ACT essays.

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ACT Essay Samples from Previous Tests:

To get a better idea of what it takes to write an amazing ACT essay, you should always be sure to look at the example essays provided on previous exams. These provide you with solid examples of what educators and readers want to see in your writing. As a result, you can make use of these sample papers as templates for your own essay.

The following is an example of a successful ACT essay (from the reading test):

Example 1.

“What does it mean to be patriotic? Think carefully about this question, and write an essay in which you explain your views. Support your opinion with reasoning and examples.”

While patriotism is frequently considered a positive attribute in people, that can only be true if the attitude of “patriotism” is based on knowledge and respect for the truth. For example, patriotism in Nazi Germany was not healthy because it was built on lies and deception. If a person loves their country, she will do everything possible to make it as good and productive as it can be.

In our country today, the lack of appreciation and respect for our history and traditions is a major problem. In particular, it has led to a dire condition in which many Americans don’t know what their country stands for. It has also led to apathy toward social responsibility and indifference to other less fortunate people than we are (especially those from different cultures and countries).

Therefore, to be genuinely patriotic, we must spend time studying history to understand where we came from; and work hard on doing our duty as good citizens by supporting social institutions that are helpful in making our lives better. Above all else, this means treating people from other cultures with respect. Without a strong and sound sense of patriotism, there is no way that we can effectively build a strong nation.


This essay contains down-to-earth examples and is very detailed. This allows the author to grab the reader’s attention. The opening sentence, in particular, grabs your interest by stating how important patriotism is. It goes into detail on this subject by explaining more about this regard, which makes this topic more interesting and thought-provoking.

The thesis statement is also powerful and well supported. It grabs the reader’s attention right away as it gives a clear argument on patriotism, which is hard to deny after reading the essay. The idea of knowing our history and traditions is appealing because it shows that we can learn from the past and not repeat mistakes made by our ancestors.

As a result, the reader would be convinced to support the author’s opinion on patriotism.

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Example 2.

“Throughout history, people have believed many things without proof. Think about some of the strange ideas that you have heard, and discuss what makes them believable or not believable.”

Beliefs are something that we all take for granted. We believe in certain ways due to religion, upbringing, or just from plain common sense. However, it is important to realize that many of the things we believe are not necessarily true. In society today, there seems to be a lack of skepticism when it comes to believing things.

For example, people in the past believed the earth was flat because they had no way of proving otherwise. Some even believed that evil spirits caused diseases and that priests could cure diseases. We all know now, however, that these ideas are untrue and have been proven wrong through science. So why then do we still believe in things today without solid proof? It seems as if the more modern we become, the less skeptical our society is about believing in something without being able to prove them first.

To be logical thinkers, it is important for us to maintain an open mind when faced with new ideas and beliefs. This allows us to be objective in our thinking and not become biased by pressures from other people or society. Remembering that the things we believe are just opinions helps us realize that we do not have all of the answers and that there may be more than one possible explanation for something.

The author uses down-to-earth examples in this essay which makes it easy to follow along as the reader is able to relate to such examples when they see them on a daily basis.

The author also provides facts throughout the essay, which allows him to keep his opinion logical and backed up with evidence.


The author uses the first paragraph to explain what beliefs are and that we all have them, which is a perfect way of introducing his topic and keeping the reader interested. By using this technique as well as explaining why we believe in certain things without proof right away, it is clear that the author wants to make the reader think about their own beliefs and how they came to be.

The thesis statement is powerful since it clearly states the main idea at hand- that we need to be more skeptical when it comes to believing things without having proof first. It is hard to disagree with this notion because no one likes believing in something false, especially if it could be proven wrong in the future.

The argument is explained well throughout the essay, as it uses both solid examples of events in history that occurred from people believing false information and ideas. The author also provides evidence and facts to prove that we believe things without proof, making the argument much stronger.

The essay has a nice flow to it and is easy for the reader to follow since the paragraphs are only one or two sentences long on average. This allows for quick reading overall, which is important with an essay since there is a word limit.

The language used in the essay also helps make it very smooth and easy to read since the words are neither complicated nor fancy but straight to the point. The use of personal anecdotes throughout the essay and quotes from other sources keeps the reader interested and wants to know more about what the author is saying.

The essay has an excellent conclusion that wraps up the author’s argument nicely and leaves the reader with something to think about after reading it. This makes for a perfect ending to a strong piece of writing overall.

A very well-written essay. The choice of topic and how it was presented was solid, and it is evident that the author had put a lot of time and effort into writing this essay.

The Importance of Taking Practice Exams Before the Big Day Arrives

Taking practice tests will allow you to gain familiarity with the test and ease your nerves before taking it. Also, since there is no time limit on the ACT, you can take as long as you need to finish writing your essay.

The tips below will help make sure that your essay has all of the elements needed for a great final product.

  • The introduction of your essay is important to grab your reader’s attention right off the bat. It should be written in a way that will make them think and want to continue reading. Your thesis statement should also be included in either the introduction or the conclusion, not within one of the body paragraphs itself.
  • For each body paragraph, include one idea that you want to support, as well as one example of that idea. This makes it easier for the reader to follow what you are saying and write your essay faster.
  • Make sure to use proper grammar, spelling, and vocabulary while writing your essay for it to be convincing and clear. Not only will this show your readers that you have put a lot of time and effort into it, but it will also make them think that the whole essay is good.
  • When writing the conclusion of your essay, summarize all of the ideas presented and restate your thesis statement. Write this last so that you can go back and change or add anything before submitting it.

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