Act Style Essay

ACT Sample Essays: Tasting Tests

So what have we learned here so far? We know what the ACT Writing Test is and how it's scored. We know some solid strategies for practicing, planning, and writing a top-scoring essay. We know what the test graders want to see and what they don’t want to see. But what does a 6 essay actually look like? What about a (gasp) 1 essay?

Here is a sample essay, which obtained the score 6 (aww yeeah!) and here is the prompt for the Essay

The idea that technology makes the world smaller is a familiar one. Cell phones, text messaging, email, products like Skype, and social networking sites like Facebook connect people and ideas from around the globe. Ten years ago, a social network as complex and omnipresent as Facebook would have been unthinkable; now, especially for young people in developed countries, it's hard to imagine what life would be like without technologies of this kind. But are technologies that allow constant, effortless communication ultimately a good thing? In the debate on whether or not mass communication technology and social networks are beneficial, some people have suggested that we have grown too dependent on these technologies and what they can offer us; we spend every waking moment "plugged in" and online, to the point that we have forgotten how to connect as real individuals. Others argue that these technologies and social networks provide greater communication than ever before and connect people from distant regions of the globe who otherwise never would have met one another, as well as helping like-minded individuals organize into groups and coordinate change for causes that are important to them.

In your essay for the ACT, take a position on this question. You may write about either one of the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position..

So cleanse your palate, whip out some sparkly clean silverware, and get ready to taste test six different sample dish essays. For once, you are the judge of fine cuisine! OK, “fine” may be an overstatement. Let us warn you that the skill range was um, wide, for these chefs – we’re hoping that you’ll want to spit out some of these portions! At the same time, we are confident that you will recognize a killer dish when you taste one, and you’ll likely realize that your own culinary repertoire could use a hint more flavor and seasoning here and there. Bon appétit!

ACT Sample Essay: Six-Point

Here is the Sample Six-Point ACT Essay for the prompt on the Sample Essays page. We've typed the essay for you below, as well.



Here is the Sample Essay again:

The large amount of technology in our culture raises several fascinating issues, one of which is: where does our virtual existence end and our “real” existence begin? Many people are no longer able to separate their “real” lives from the lives they lead on the Internet. This can damage their relationships with other people as well as their productivity at work or school. Online role-playing games like World of Warcraft or Second Life are perfect examples of this change in our culture. While technology has allowed our society to make great advancements in medicine and education, our reliance on technology is very troubling and needs more attention. I believe that technology, overall, is tending towards a more dangerous path, as seen in people's increasing ability to lose themselves in virtual worlds and detach from reality completely, thus not getting the true human interaction that we need to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

World of Warcraft (or WoW) allows players to become elves, warriors, and magicians, and to fight magic beasts and search for treasure in underground caverns. But apart from its entertainment value, WoW is interesting because it gives people the opportunity to create alternate identities for themselves. Some people become so invested in their WoW character that they forget to do such simple things as eat and sleep. This attitude strikes me as very unhealthy; your virtual life should not be considered more important than your physical life. Moreover, some people spend real money for items that only exist in the game, which could affect their financial stability.

Second Life is an even more fascinating example because it is not a fantasy game. In Second Life, players can do all the things that people do in real life. But they can alter their appearance, even their gender, easily. A very good friend of mine spends so much time on Second Life that she considers it to be her primary life. My friend does not have many people she trusts and values as friends, and I think the reason for this is her dependence on Second Life.

A final example of the amount of time we spend crafting virtual identities is the vast array of social networks from Twitter to Facebook to blogger communities. Many of my peers spend so much time making themselves look like perfect humans on Facebook – coming up with a witty quote or listing the right movies as their favorites, choosing the most attractive profile pictures – that they lose touch with improving themselves in the real world through exercise, fostering relationships with friends and family, and developing hobbies like art, sports, or music. There are blog communities in which hundreds of people comment on posts and "meet" each other virtually, but this is not real life. How much true friendship can one actually glean from a witty back and forth comment thread banter where all you can see of the other person is a little thumbnail that could be a picture of anything? People mistake these virtual interactions for real life ones and develop crushes on each other or friendships without ever actually meeting in person. In my opinion, though interesting, this form of bonding is very limited and lacks a lot of the essential traits of a real friendship or relationship.

Technology is not always bad. After all, I depend on my computer for everything from talking to my friends to researching essays for school. I would not recognize my life without technology, and I believe that very few people (at least in our country) would. Technology is not inherently bad or good; it can be one or the other, or even both at the same time. However, when we start spending more time online than in reality, we run the risk of becoming technology slaves—avatars of ourselves, and this is a point at which technology use crosses the line from a benign activity to an all-consuming virtual addiction.

What does Shmoop has to say about this Essay?

This is a pretty darn impressive essay, especially given the time limit. No spelling or grammatical errors; nice, fluid paragraphs; a strong introduction, thesis statement, and conclusion. This essay also boasts:

  • Great examples. Creative, intriguing examples, packed with plenty of detail.
  • Interesting word choice and varied sentence structure. This author has obviously done her homework: she's read a lot, she's practiced writing a lot, and she's comfortable using some advanced vocabulary and mixing up the length and structure of her sentences.
  • Original approach. Instead of just saying, “Technology is good,” or “Technology is bad,” the author explores some specific changes or challenges she thinks people face due to technology.

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Writing Sample Essays

Essay Task

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing presence of intelligent machines. In your essay, be sure to: 

  • clearly state your own perspective on the issue and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective
  • develop and support your ideas with reasoning and examples
  • organize your ideas clearly and logically
  • communicate your ideas effectively in standard written English

Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of those given, in partial agreement, or completely different.

Get more information about preparing for the writing test.

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