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Top 9 Tips to Succeed on the ACT or SAT Writing Section

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• Tip #1: Do It!

This first tip may seem like an obvious one but it really is vital. Many competitive schools require it. We recommend you prepare for it and take it. This is a situation where it can only help you. If you don’t end up using the score, don’t fret! Becoming a better writer will definitely help once you get into college!

• Tip #2: Read the News!

Reading the news makes you a better-informed student. It also will naturally improve your vocabulary and understanding of written English.

• Tip #3: Get Organized!

Organize your ideas but get to writing quickly. Always use the first 10 mins of the essay to come up with an outline/structure for your essay. Make sure you have a clear thesis and topic sentences (main ideas) for each body paragraph.

• Tip #4: Use YOUR Vocabulary!

We all know that big words can make us sound smart. On the flip side, we must know that misusing big words makes us sound silly. Write confidently and use what you know. Don’t be overly careful but also don’t try to squeeze in big words just because they are big. You are being measured on your ability to think and write clearly, not to regurgitate elongated vocabulary units.

• Tip #5: Use the Right Structure!

Writing an essay is all about communicating. A clearly defined structure allows the reader to easily follow your argument and recognize the supporting ideas. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can still be creative within your structure. Just be sure it is easy to follow so you don’t lose your reader somewhere along the way.

• Tip #6: Support Yourself!

No matter what argument you make it needs to be supported. You cannot just make declarative statements. “Recycling is the best!”…okay, but why? Without evidence, you cannot persuade your reader. Each statement you make must be supported by evidence and examples.

• Tip #7: Engage Your Reader!

One reason people love the ocean is that it is always changing. No two waves look exactly the same. If the ocean just sat there like water in a bathtub it would not intrigue us to the same extent. Like the ocean, you should make your writing unique. Strive to vary your sentence structure so that your reader stays on their toes. Also, you must use transitions to ease your reader through the essay. Help your score by writing an essay that is both engaging and smooth.

• Tip #8: Learn From Others!

Both the SAT website and the ACT website have sample writing prompts and scored essays. This is an incredible resource. Look at the type of prompts you might get. Learn from their scoring examples. Sign up for an Attest SAT or ACT preparation course. Our proven test-taking strategies have helped thousands of students improve their SAT & ACT scores. Our live online SAT courses are taught by actual high school teachers who have scored in the top 1% of the SAT themselves, not just random instructors.  Ask yourself some questions. What score do you think you could achieve? Where can you improve?

• Tip #9: Time is Fleeting!

Planning and writing a structured essay in a short time period is a significant challenge. You need to keep an eye on the clock without being overly stressed about the time. It is a great idea to practice so you gain an understanding of how you need to pace yourself. The more you practice the better feel you will have for the time constraints.

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