Act Essays 6

Sample ACT Essay – Score 6

“School’s out for summer!” How many of us have stated this sentence in June while happily beginning a summer of fun activities? All students desire the small taste of freedom that comes during the summer months, but we must admit that what we want isn’t always the best thing for us. Few students will admit this, but having an extra few months every year to complete our education would be beneficial to young people entering a world that is more global and competitive than ever. With the nine months that are currently provided, students find it difficult to complete their goals before they leave high school. Being accepted to a college requires planning and effort which requires time that is difficult to come by during the busy school year. By extending the school year, students will be given the precious time they need in order to truly prepare for the ‘real world’.

Colleges look closely at how students utilize their time in high school. Do students do well in their courses? Are students afraid of taking difficult courses? Are students ‘well-rounded’ with extracurricular activities? Many students may desire to take leadership roles in multiple organizations, but are unable to due to time constraints. With an extra few months each year, students will be able to fulfill all of these requirements. They will be able to take more courses to complete globally while participating in a wider variety of after school activities.

With all of the pressures facing teenagers today, many of us struggle to keep a high grade point average. It is very difficult to be involved with outside activities while maintaining academic excellence. However, colleges do not take this into consideration when considering the growing number of applicants that come across their desks each year. Many students who are from other nations such as Japan and China spend much more time in school, and are therefore at an advantage when being compared to American students. Students in our country need to step up to the global plate and use all twelve months of the year to achieve their goals.

Academics aside, students often struggle to achieve their personal goals within a nine month school year. A student may face a choice between an AP Calculus course and a music course. Which looks more impressive on a transcript? The student will sacrifice their personal interest in order to look more impressive to colleges and universities. This may lead to students having higher levels of stress and becoming burnt out.

High school is a turning point for many people. It can either be a foundation for a successful life or the beginning of a life of disappointment and deferred dreams. A few extra months of education each year may make all the difference. With the additional time, students can take both the courses they want and the courses they need while having more time to work at a reasonable pace and to reduce stress and pressure. Teenagers work hard to build the foundation for their future, and they need as much time as possible to ensure their success.

Score 6 – Explanation

Sample ACT Essay – No score

Blank test, illegible, not in English, off-topic

Sample ACT Essay – Score 1

In this essay I will be writing about how year long schools are a bad idea. Students already have to go to school for much too long. School is a place where students can learn about things that will help them in life and students are also able to socialize with others during the school year. Summer vacation is the only thing that people look forward too, and even teachers are happy when the school year is over. Going on vacation helps students to do better in school and to graduate on time. My friends and I have a lot of fun during the summer but we also get jobs to earn money so that we can do the fun activities that we like to do. Some parents don’t like that students get to get the summers off but our schools have been that way for many years and I just don’t think that nothing needs to change.

Score 1 – Explanation

Sample ACT Essay – Score 2

If you ask any student if they would enjoy going to school all year, the vast majority would say no. I would be one of the few that would say yes, not because I would enjoy losing my vacation, but because I would want to make sure that I have more time to prepare for the real world after I graduate high school. Along with this, I feel that we waste a lot of time preparing for the tests that we have to take at the end of the year, and this might make up for the time that we lose when we are doing that.

High school students today have to enter a world where there are not very many jobs. Students need to learn more in school and become smarter so that they can get the jobs since many more people are going against them to get these jobs. Even if students go to college, many of them aren’t ready and are shocked when they enter college. Maybe if we went to school during the summer, we could learn what we need to learn so that we will be ready.

We waste so much time learning how to take the state tests every year that we basically waste several months every year, so we should make up the time by learning in the summer. Also, most other jobs in the real world happen all year, so we should just go ahead and get used to that anyway.

Score 2 – Explanation

Sample ACT Essay – Score 3

Experts debate changing the school calendar to year-round schools. Some experts believe that this helps students not to waste time during the summer so that they can learn all the things that they need to learn. Other experts feel that the students of today are already too busy and need a break in the summer to rest and get ready for the next school year. Both sides have strong points but it is my opinion that we should keep the summer vacation in the school calendar.

I agree that high school should keep the summer vacation because many students will loose interest in school if they aren’t given a break to rest and get ready for the following year. School is very busy for students with both educational and extracurricular activities, and if students don’t get to rest sometimes, they will get burned out and will do worst at school instead of better. Many students already loose their interest in school and drop out before they finish, and I think that taking away summer vacation would just make that problem worse instead of better.

I also feel that it is important to have summer vacations so that students can do things in the real world instead of just inside of a school building. Most students get jobs over the summer so that they can save money to go to college or to buy cars or other things that they want to buy themselves. Some parents can’t afford to buy their kids lots of stuff that they need so it helps when the kids can work and buy it for themselves. Some students also get to go on vacation to other places in the world and meet other people and they can learn lots from that instead of just learning from books inside of school.

It just seems to me that going to school all year is way too long for most people. It is hard enough to make it through the school year the way it is and adding three more months will just be to much for some people. Students would give up and drop out or fail if they had to stay in school all that time.

Score 3 – Explanation

Sample ACT Essay – Score 4

Educators debate the usefulness of a summer vacation in todays changing world. Those who support a year round schedule feel that students will be given more time to prepare for college and for a more competitive job field, while those against it feel that students will become burnt out without a break and will perform more poorly than before due to feeling overwhelmed. There are advantages and disadvantages to each side of the argument, but I feel that having a 12 month school year would be counterintuitive for many reasons, such as a loss of interest and motivation, loss of real life experiences and the fact that three extra months of learning will not solve the bigger issues that face our educational system.

Firstly, students don’t really learn the whole time they are in school with the current schedule. Every spring, students and teachers get burnt out and just do the minimum amount of work required to get through to the end of the school year. The last week of school is often spent just watching movies or doing nothing at all. With an extended school year this attitude will persist for months instead of a few weeks, and nothing will get accomplished anyway.

Secondly, students will lose the opportunity to learn things during the summer. Yes, it is possible to learn outside of school! Many students get jobs during the summer in order to help with expenses. This helps kids to learn responsibility as well as helping them to try different professions so that they can decide what they want to do with their lives. Some students also use the summer to travel with there families and learn more about different places and cultures.

Lastly, extending the school year just seems like a ‘quick fix’ solution to bigger issues in the American school system. Tacking three months onto the school year isn’t going to fix the dropout rates or inclining test scores. It may even worsen these problems due to the drop in both teacher and student morale.

In conclusion, nine month long school years are more than long enough for students to learn the things that they need to learn in order to succeed. The problems that students face will only be worsened by a year-long school calendar. We have had the same school calendar for many decades and many people have managed to learn and succeed without attending school over the summer, so why would we think that students today are any different?

Score 4 – Explanation

Sample ACT Essay – Score 5

Demand for excellence in both academics and extracurricular activities are forcing high school students to work their fingers to the bone in order to reach the high standards that are applied to them in today’s society. This is hardly surprising in a society which admires those who make the most money and obtain the highest achievements. Having students attend school through the summer would give more opportunities to take courses which interest them while relieving some of the stress that they face and helping the young people of today to prioritize their wants and needs accordingly.

Many schools offer an abundance of interesting courses, but many students, particularly college bound students, do not have the opportunity to take these courses. Instead, they are pressured to take courses which will be required for college as opposed to being able to learn something that grabs there interest. College admissions are more competitive than ever, so students will take difficult and more ‘impressive’ courses in order to have a leg up instead of being able to learn about things that they enjoy.

Life for teenagers today is more stressful than ever. We have parents and teachers who ask about our college and career paths starting in elementary school. Stress is a real problem for many young people today. They have to consider many things: Where should I go to college? How will I pay for college? What should I choose for my career? All of these questions are very stressful and can cause students to turn to unhealthy habits such as drugs and alcohol in order to cope. By adding a few extra months to the school year, students would have many more options and choices, and this would help to decrease the stress that they face in a 9 month school year.

Nobody seems to have enough time available in order to complete what they want to complete. Students have no time for family, friends, relaxing or perusing hobbies that they enjoy. Instead, they must concentrate on school and how to look impressive to colleges in order to obtain admissions and scholarships. Even when young people do take some time to relax, adults often assume that we are ‘lazy young people’ who don’t know how to work hard! While some teenagers are lazy (just the same as there are lazy adults!), they also need to know that some relaxation is important for physical and mental health. While some people may think that this is achieved through a three month summer vacation, they should realize that most teenagers just take on jobs or internships to earn money instead of just relaxing… and before they know it, they are back in the stressful school environment. Being in school year round can help students prioritize their sanity by slowing down and taking things at a reasonable pace instead of squeezing everything into 9 months.

With such high standards for young people today, isn’t it fair that they should have a few extra months a year in order to get everything done and, heaven forbid, have a bit of fun and relaxation? Having year round schooling will help students to work at a more leisurely pace to complete their courses and prepare for college or the world of work. They will be able to learn about things that interest them instead of just what they ‘should’ learn for college, and they will be able to have more time to relax and learn how to prioritize their health and mental well being. Having year round schooling will benefit students for years to come.

Score 5 – Explanation

Sometimes writing—especially writing for standardized tests—can feel like something you "get" or "don't get." That's primarily because it's very difficult to explain and teach writing in a mechanical way, especially when you're up against time limits.

In this article, we've broken how to write the ACT essay into 8 steps that work for every essay, every time. Then, we show you exactly how to do it with an actual ACT essay example.

Many students ask us how to write an ACT essay, and while the answer is simple enough to explain in 8 steps (as we do below), it's not necessarily simple to do. As with any skill, the key to learning how to write an ACT essay is to study a good model (which we are going to cover in this article) and then practice, practice, practice.

 

Tackling ACT Writing, Step by Step

The ACT essay plan below has been modified from our ACT Essay Tips article to fit the new ACT Writing Test. The template includes 3 sections: planning, writing and revising. If you practice using this template to write ACT essays, you'll get much faster and (probably) more precise. Here's the sample prompt we'll be responding to:

Intelligent Machines

Many of the goods and services we depend on daily are now supplied by intelligent, automated machines rather than human beings. Robots build cars and other goods on assembly lines, where once there were human workers. Many of our phone conversations are now conducted not with people but with sophisticated technologies. We can now buy goods at a variety of stores without the help of a human cashier. Automation is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what is lost when we replace humans with machines? Given the accelerating variety and prevalence of intelligent machines, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of their presence in our lives.

Perspective One: What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.

Perspective Two: Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Perspective Three: Intelligent machines challenge our long-standing ideas about what humans are or can be. This is good because it pushes both humans and machines toward new, unimagined possibilities.

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing presence of intelligent machines.

 

Stage 1: Planning

Time: 8-10 minutes

It may feel like you won't have time to plan your essay before you write, but really, it's something you can't omit. Trust us. Organizing your thoughts as you write will cost you way more time than if you take the time to plan out your essay before you begin writing.

 

Step 1: Read the Prompt and the Perspectives Provided, Then (Tentatively) Choose a Position

Because addressing the relationship between your perspective and at least one of the other three perspectives is an integral part of the essay task, you need to make sure you understand what each prompt is saying. The good news is that each perspective includes both a general assertion about intelligent machines as well as an opinion that places the topic in a broader context, saving you some work in coming up with your own, independent perspective.

While it is possible to come up with a fourth point of view on the topic, I don't recommend it, as the added time you'll have to spend coming up with your own point of view could be better spend developing your comparison of your perspective to at least one of the other perspectives. If your perspective is a "blending" of multiple perspectives, then that's also fine, as long as you make sure you compare your blended perspective to each of the perspectives it combines; otherwise, you won't fulfill the "analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective" part of the task. Bottom line: choose the perspective you think you can support the best.

For this sample ACT essay, I'm going to tentatively choose to argue Perspective Three (that intelligent machines challenge long-standing ideas about humanity, which in turn pushes humans and machines toward new, previously unimaginable possibilities), simply because that happens to be the position I think I'll be able to support the best.

 

Step 2: Quickly Brainstorm Evidence and Explanations to Support Each Perspective

Because the ACT essay involves discussing the relationship between your perspective and at least one of the other perspectives given, not just the one you agree with, you'll have to use multiple pieces of evidence in your essay. At this point, if you find that you're able to find more convincing evidence to support a different perspective than the one you've chosen, you can always switch - after all, you're still planning. Also, you don't have to write in complete sentences, or phrase things as elegantly as you will in the actual essay, so don't worry about that.

 

Sources for evidence

Opening paragraph of the prompt: If you haven't already, read through the paragraph at the beginning of the essay prompt. You can appropriate some or all of the examples in it to use in your own essay. 

Personal Experience: you can tell any story (real or not) about you or someone else you know (or make up) that supports any one of your points.

Statistics: again, these can be real or made up. You could invent a research study that looked at recordings of phone calls and found >80% of people end up cursing while using automated phone menus (to support perspective one), make up statistics that show automated cashiers are able to process 3x as many check-outs as human cashiers (to support perspective 2), or come up with any other kind of statistics that support one of the perspectives.

Specifics from Sources: use knowledge of events from history or current events to support your points. If you're not certain of the details, it's all right - the essay graders won't deduct points for factually inaccurate information. For this essay, you could use the invention of the printing press (and its effects) as an example of how mechanization can lead to "unimagined possibilities."

 

Here's the evidence I came up with for my essay:

Perspective One: What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.

Evidence: Many of our phone conversations are conducted not with people, but with sophisticated technologies...that don't necessarily work at 100%

Explanation: People get so frustrated with the technology that when they press "0" to speak with a real human they are often rude and discourteous

 

Perspective Two: Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Evidence: Robots build cars on assembly lines

Explanation: Lower cost, decreases risk of injury to human workers

 

Perspective Three: Intelligent machines challenge our long-standing ideas about what humans are or can be. This is good because it pushes both humans and machines toward new, unimagined possibilities.

Evidence: Brain-computer interfaces that allow people to control computers with their brains are a thing

Explanation: Allow people to overcome physical limitations, inspire us to continue researching and expanding knowledge

 

 

Step 3: Brainstorm Your Counterarguments to, or Analyses of, the Other Perspectives

There's no one right way to respond to the perspectives the ACT gives you. Some of it depends on what point of view you take. For instance, if I agreed with Perspective One, which takes a negative view of the effects of intelligent machines, I might want to discuss both of the other two perspectives (which both take positive views of intelligent machines) in one paragraph, and then disagree with them in the next paragraph as I present my support for Perspective One.

 

Since I am arguing for Perspective Three (machines challenge our ideas about what humans are or can be, which pushes us and machines toward new possibilities), I am going to argue against Perspective One and Perspective Two separately, because I have strong evidence for my analyses of each perspective. Because the essay only requires you to analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective, if I had lots of evidence to use in my comparison of my perspective and Perspective One, but nothing to say about Perspective Two, I could also decide not to discuss that perspective at all. In this case, I was able to thing of solid arguments for and against both of the other perspectives, so I chose to analyze both of them and their relationship to my perspective below. Again, these are not necessarily worded in their final form.

 

Perspective One: What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.

Evidence: Many of our phone conversations are conducted not with people, but with sophisticated technologies...that don't necessarily work at 100%

Explanation: People get so frustrated with the technology that when they press "0" to speak with a real human they are often rude and discourteous

Counterargument/analysis: The benefits outweigh the costs, because providing people with the option to submit prescriptions or ask about store hours through an automated menu frees up customer service reps to answer real questions. In addition, recordings of calls with angry customers are used to improve the menus.

 

Perspective Two: Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Evidence: Robots build cars on assembly lines

Explanation: Robots take over dangerous jobs which decreases risk of injury to human workers, lowering cost to employers

Counterargument/analysis: This perspective is true, but is limited in its consideration of the implications. Robots can not only do things instead of humans, but can actually work with humans, as in precise surgery, to a better result than either humans or machines alone.

 

Step 4: Organize Your Essay

Now that you have the main points of your essay, it's time to organize them in a way that makes sense. Make sure to include your introduction (with your thesis statement containing your point of view, or at least a rough sense of your thesis statement) and conclusion in this organization. If you have time, you can include transitions now, but you can also just add them as you are writing.

 

Introduction

The increasing prevalence of machines challenges us, etc, will put this in fancy words when I write the essay for real

 

Body Paragraph 1

  • Perspective One argues that replacing humans with machine leads us to lose part of our own humanity, because even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.
  • I have witnessed this in my own life through watching my mother interact with some of those "sophisticated" automated phone systems. She sometimes gets so frustrated with the technology refusing to do what she wants that, by the time the menu allows her to speak to a real human, my mother is no longer courteous or respectful.
  • Despite this frustration, I think the benefits outweigh the costs, because providing people with the option to submit prescriptions or ask about store hours through an automated menu frees up customer service reps to answer real questions. In addition, recordings of calls with angry customers are used to improve the menus.

 

Body Paragraph 2

  • In contrast to Perspective One, Perspective Two argues that the main utility of machines is in their ability to perform repetitive tasks more precisely and efficiently than humans.
  • In auto plants around the world, robots build cars on assembly lines, performing their jobs with high precision and at lower overall cost to employers, who can make a one time purchase rather than having to pay a human a yearly salary (and worry about liability issues)
  • This perspective is fine as far as it goes, but is limited in its consideration of the implications. Robots can not only do things instead of humans, but can actually work with humans, as in precise surgery, to a better result than either humans or machines alone.

 

Body Paragraph 3

  • The true impact of intelligent machines in our lives is that they challenge us to re-think our preconceived notions of what people can do or become in the future.
  • An example of this is brain-computer interfaces that allow people to control computers with their brains.
  • With BCIs, people can overcome physical limitations.. In addition, BCIs have capture the interest of people from all different backgrounds and are being applied to non-scientific fields to create new, previously unimagined inventions and ways to interact with the world.

 

Conclusion sentence

In conclusion, rather than taking away from our humanity, intelligent machines help us to move forward as a species to new heights.

 

By the end of this step, you should try to have about 30 minutes left so you have enough time to write. If you don't, just keep in mind that you might have to skimp on some of your explanations/counterarguments for the perspective(s) you compare to your own.

 

Stage 2: Writing

Time: 25-28 minutes

Once you've structured your argument, it's time to write it all down!

 

Step 5: Introduction Paragraph & Thesis

Write your introduction. If you can think of an interesting first sentence that brings your thesis into a larger discussion, start with that. (If writing the introduction stumps you, just leave 10-15 lines blank at the beginning of the paper and come back to it.)

From the simplest system of pulleys and ropes in ancient Greece to the most complex supercomputer in the world today, machines have had (and continue to have) a profound influence on the development of humanity.

Make sure you clearly state your thesis. For a 3+/6 essay, this should include your perspective on the issue and how it relates to at least one of the other perspectives presented in the prompt.

While some argue that machines have a negative impact on us, the increasing prevalence of intelligent machines in the world challenges us to change long held beliefs about our limitations and to continue forward to new and even more advanced possibilities.

 

Step 6:  Body Paragraphs

When you start your first body paragraph, try to think of a first sentence that refers back to the first paragraph. Ideally, you'll start every paragraph by referring back to your thesis to create a unified argument.

One common argument against the increased presence of machines in our day-to-day lives (seen in Perspective One) is that machines leach away at our basic humanity.

Then address the argument opposing yours (in this case, Perspective One). Explain the evidence that supports this perspective in 3-5 sentences.

I found this to be true in my own life as a result of witnessing many a phone conversation between my mother and an automated telephone menu. For whatever reason, she consistently has issues with the menus that try to verify her date of birth. The automated system never understands what she says (possibly because of her accent), and asks her to input the numbers via her keypad; of course, my mom's smartphone is so smart that the screen turns off while she is on a call, making it impossible for her to follow the automated phone system's instructions. By the time the system gives up and routes her to speak to a "human representative," my mother is often so frustrated that she is far from courteous and respectful to that person.

Then, make sure to explain your counterargument to this perspective, tying it back to your thesis.

Despite my mother's understandable frustration with automated phone systems, however, overall the benefits outweigh the costs. Providing people with the option to submit prescriptions or ask about store hours through an automated menu frees up customer service representatives to answer questions machines are incapable of addressing. In addition, the recordings of angry phone calls (where customers are not courteous, respectful, or tolerant of other humans) are used to improve the phone menus to make them more user-friendly. Thus, the momentary disrespect toward other humans caused by machines is more than compensated for by the positive effects of those same machines.

 

Body Paragraph 2

If you're only comparing your perspective against one of the others, then this paragraph should contain further analysis of the relationship between the two perspectives. If you're comparing your perspective against both of the other perspectives (as I did in this essay), then this is where you introduce your thoughts on the second perspective.

Another school of thought, exemplified by Perspective Two, argues that the main utility of machines is their ability to perform repetitive tasks more precisely and more efficiently than humans, which leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Address the argument of this second perspective (in this case, Perspective Two). Explain the evidence that supports this perspective in 3-5 sentences.

In auto plants around the world, robots build cars on assembly lines. Instead of having to pay a human employee a yearly salary, invest time in training that employee, and worry about liability should that employee be injured, manufacturing plants can now make a one-time purchase of an intelligent machine that will perform that same job at higher levels of precision. This leads to a more prosperous world for the manufacturers, as they are able to invest less money to get a better product.

Then, make sure to explain how this perspective relates back to your perspective.

This perspective is fine as far as it goes, but is limited in its consideration of the implications. Robots can not only work in place of humans, but can also work cooperatively with humans to a greater results than either could have hoped for alone. This can be seen in highly complex and delicate surgeries, where a surgeon controls robotic microtools to perform operations that even ten years ago would have been unimaginable and impossible.

 

Body Paragraph 3

Introduce your main perspective, linking it back to the counterarguments you've made against at least one of the other perspectives.

I agree with Perspective Three that the true impact of intelligent machines in our lives is that they challenge us to re-think our preconceived notions of what people can do or become in the future.

Present one final example in support of your perspective.

A final example of this is brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs. Humans are able to manipulate computers with their brains via electrodes that are either implanted in their brains or attached (temporarily) to their heads. With these intelligent machines, formerly paralyzed people who had no hope of communicating with others are able to transcend their physical limitations by concentrating to form words out of keyboards on the computer screens. In addition, BCIs have captured the interest of people from all different backgrounds and are being applied to non-scientific fields like music to create new, previously unimagined instruments that react to people's thoughts, adding a new dimension to an ancient art form. Truly, intelligent machines are providing the impetus not just for greater efficiency, but for greater accomplishments.

 

Step 7: Conclusion

Check your time. Try to have 5-6 minutes left at this point.

Come up with a quick sentence that restates your thesis to wrap up the essay.

In conclusion, rather than taking away from our humanity, intelligent machines actually help us to move forward as a species to achieve new, previously unimagined possibilities.

 

Stage 3: Revising

Time: 2-4 minutes

 

Step 8: Reread & Revise

Let's look at our complete ACT essay example:

[1]     From the simplest system of pulleys and ropes in ancient Greece to the most complex supercomputer in the world today, machines have had (and continue to have) a profound influence on the development of humanity. While some argue that machines have a negative impact on us, the increasing prevalence of intelligent machines in the world challenge us to change long held beliefs about our limitations and to continue forward to new and even more advanced possibilities.

[2]     One common argument against the increased presence of machines in our day-to-day lives (seen in Perspective One) is that machines leach away at our basic humanity. I found this to be true in my own life as a result of witnessing many a phone conversation between my mother and an automated telephone menu. For whatever reason, she consistently has issues with the menus that try to verify her date of birth. The automated system never understands what she says (possibly because of her accent), and asks her to input the numbers via her keypad; of course, my mom's smartphone is so smart that the screen turns off while she is on a call, making it impossible for her to follow the automated phone system's instructions. By the time the system gives up and routes her to speak to a "human representative," my mother is often so frustrated that she is far from courteous and respectful to that person. Despite my mother's understandable frustration with automated phone systems, however, overall the benefits outweigh the costs. Providing people with the option to submit prescriptions or ask about store hours through an automated menu frees up customer service representatives to answer questions machines are incapable of addressing. In addition, the recordings of angry phone calls (where customers are not courteous, respectful, or tolerant of other humans) are used to improve the phone menus to make them more user-friendly. Thus, the momentary disrespect toward other humans caused by machines is more than compensated for by the positive effects of those same machines.

[3]     Another school of thought, exemplified by Perspective Two, argues that the main utility of machines is their ability to perform repetitive tasks more precisely and more efficiently than humans, which leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone. In auto plants around the world, robots build cars on assembly lines. Instead of having to pay a human employee a yearly salary, invest time in training that employee, and worry about liability should that employee be injured, manufacturing plants can now make a one-time purchase of an intelligent machine that will perform that same job at higher levels of precision. This leads to a more prosperous world for the manufacturers, as they are able to invest less money to get a better product. This perspective is fine as far as it goes, but is limited in its consideration of the implications. Robots can not only work in place of humans, but can also work cooperatively with humans to a greater results than either could have hoped for alone. This can be seen in highly complex and delicate surgeries, where a surgeon controls robotic microtools to perform operations that even ten years ago would have been unimaginable and impossible.

[4]     I agree with Perspective Three that the true impact of intelligent machines in our lives is that they challenge us to re-think our preconceived notions of what people can do or become in the future. A final example of this is brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs. Humans are able to manipulate computers with their brains via electrodes that are either implanted in their brains or attached (temporarily) to their heads. With these intelligent machines, formerly paralyzed people who had no hope of communicating with others are able to transcend their physical limitations by concentrating to form words out of keyboards on the computer screens. In addition, BCIs have captured the interest of people from all different backgrounds and are being applied to non-scientific fields like music to create new, previously unimagined instruments that react to people's thoughts, adding a new dimension to an ancient art form. Truly, intelligent machines are providing the impetus not just for greater efficiency, but for greater accomplishments.

[5]     In conclusion, rather than taking away from our humanity, intelligent machines actually help us to move forward as a species to achieve new, previously unimagined possibilities.

In these last 2-4 minutes, you want to read over your essay and trying to pick up a point or two by revising. In this time, you can do a number of things.

You can, of course, correct mistakes:

Paragraph 1, Sentence 2: [subject/verb agreement; change is bolded]

The increasing prevalence of intelligent machines in the world challenges us to change long held beliefs about our limitations and to continue forward to new and even more advanced possibilities.

You can replace dull or problematic words or phrasing with fancier words or clearer turns of phrase:

Paragraph 2, last sentence

Thus, the momentary disrespect toward other humans caused by machines is more than compensated for by the positive effects of those same machines.

We can change it to:

Thus, any momentary disrespect my mom might show to a customer service representative (as a result of frustration with the automated system) is more than compensated for by the positive effects of those same machines.

There you go! Now you know how to write a good ACT essay.

If any part of this was confusing, re-read that section. Then try to do it yourself with a sample ACT essay prompt.

 

How Do I Do This Myself?

Practice planning your essays in 8-10 minutes before you start writing. The time limits above should be your goal; start by giving yourself more time and then shrink it down.

You can use the list from our ACT essay prompts blog post or any list of ACT-like questions and start with the planning stage. Don't forget to check out our full analysis of the ACT Writing Rubric, with strategies and explanations that can guide you in your essay planning!

Our blog post about ACT essay tips has more in-depth information about the details of planning and arguing in the ACT essay.

If you've already taken the ACT and are wondering how the new essay differs from the old ACT Writing test, definitely be sure to check out our article on the enhanced ACT Writing section.

 

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