Decoding The Duration Of ACT Writing

When preparing for the ACT, students often focus on the content of each section and how to approach different types of questions. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is the duration of the writing portion. Whether you are a seasoned test-taker or new to the ACT, it is important to understand the time frame allotted for the writing section and how to effectively manage it. In this article, we will dive into the various terms used to describe the length of ACT writing and provide tips on how to make the most of this critical part of the exam. So, let’s explore the duration of ACT writing and how it can impact your overall score.

The Duration of ACT Writing: How Long Is It and How Can You Utilize Your Time Effectively?

For high school students, the ACT is a crucial standardized test that can greatly impact their college admissions process. Along with the traditional sections of English, math, reading, and science, the ACT also includes an optional writing section. This section, known as the ACT Writing Test, is designed to evaluate a student’s ability to write and analyze arguments.

Considering the significance of this test, it’s important for students to know how much time they have to complete the writing portion. In this article, we’ll delve into the duration of ACT Writing, its time frame, and how you can make the most out of the given time to ace this section.

How Long is ACT Writing?

The ACT Writing Test is 40 minutes long, making it the shortest section of the ACT. Although 40 minutes may seem like a short amount of time, it’s enough to produce a well-written essay if you manage your time wisely.

Initially, the ACT Writing Test used to have a different format with a 30-minute time limit. However, in 2015, the test underwent some changes, including an extension of the time limit to 40 minutes. This was done to allow students more time to develop their ideas and write a more comprehensive essay.

So, how should you utilize these 40 minutes? Let’s break it down to understand the different aspects of the time frame.

The ACT Writing Time Frame

The 40-minute time frame allotted for the ACT Writing Test can be divided into three parts: planning, writing, and revising.

Planning (5-10 minutes):

The first few minutes of the test should be used for planning your essay. This includes reading the prompt, understanding the task, and coming up with a thesis statement and an outline for your essay. It’s important to take some time to brainstorm and organize your thoughts, as this will save time and ensure a well-structured essay.

Writing (25-30 minutes):

The majority of your time should be spent on writing your essay. This is where you put all your ideas and arguments into words. Be sure to stick to your outline and make use of transitional phrases to connect your thoughts and improve the flow of your essay. Remember, the key is to express your ideas clearly and effectively within the given time frame.

Revising (5-10 minutes):

The final minutes of the test should be used for revising your essay. This involves proofreading your work for any spelling or grammar mistakes, as well as making any necessary edits to improve the overall quality of your essay. Make sure to allocate enough time for this step, as it can greatly impact your final score.

Tips for Managing ACT Writing Duration

Now that you know how much time you have for each aspect of the ACT Writing Test, here are some tips to help you manage it efficiently:

  • Practice timed writing: Like any other skill, the more you practice writing within a specific time frame, the better you’ll become at it. You can find prompts online or use past ACT Writing prompts to practice writing within 40 minutes.
  • Focus on structure: A well-structured essay is crucial for earning a high score on the ACT Writing section. Make sure to allocate enough time for planning and outlining your essay, as this will save you time when writing and revising.
  • Use transitional phrases: As mentioned earlier, transitional phrases can help improve the flow of your essay. They also make it clear to the reader when you’re moving on to a new idea or argument.
  • Proofread your work: As tempting as it may be to skip the final step of revising, it’s crucial to take a few minutes to proofread your work. This will not only allow you to fix any mistakes but also improve the overall quality of your essay.

The Period of Time for ACT Writing: Don’t Rush It!

With only 40 minutes, it can be tempting to rush through the ACT Writing Test. However, it’s important to remember that the quality of your essay matters more than its length. Merely filling up the pages with irrelevant information in an attempt to write a longer essay will not earn you a high score.

The ACT Writing Test is scored on a scale of 2 to 12, with a 6 being the average score. The scoring system takes into account the development, organization, language use, and writing conventions of your essay. Therefore, it’s crucial to use your time wisely and focus on producing a well-written, well-organized essay.

While the pressure of completing an essay within a short time frame may seem daunting, keep in mind that this test is designed for high school students. The level of writing expected is at the high school level, so don’t worry too much about producing a masterpiece. Instead, focus on utilizing the given time effectively to showcase your writing skills.

The Extent of ACT Writing: How Important Is It?

The duration of ACT Writing may seem short, but it’s important to give it the same level of importance as the other sections of the ACT. Many colleges and universities may require you to submit your ACT Writing score along with your overall ACT score. Additionally, a high score on the writing section can also compensate for a lower score in other sections, ultimately increasing your overall ACT score.

So, while ACT Writing may be optional, we highly recommend taking it seriously. With proper time management and practice, you can ace this section and potentially improve your college admissions chances.

In Conclusion

The duration of ACT Writing may only be 40 minutes, but within that time frame, you have the opportunity to showcase your writing skills and potentially increase your overall ACT score. Remember to utilize your time effectively by planning, writing, and revising, and don’t forget to practice and familiarize yourself with the test format before the actual exam.

For more tips on how to write a successful essay, check out this article on summarizing a research article in 5 steps from EssaysDeluxe.

In conclusion, the duration of the ACT Writing section has been a topic of much discussion and debate. While some argue that the time frame allotted is too short, others believe it to be sufficient for completing a well-constructed essay. Regardless of where one stands on this issue, it is important to keep in mind that success on the ACT does not solely depend on the length of the writing section, but rather on the quality of the essay itself. With the right preparation, practice, and utilization of allowed HTML tags such as




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  • , test-takers can effectively manage their time and produce a thorough and thoughtful response within the given timeframe. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to use the allotted ACT Writing period of time to the best of their abilities and showcase their writing skills to the best of their extent.


  • lindabarber

    I'm Linda Barber, a 29-year-old blogger and teacher. I'm passionate about writing and communicating ideas, and I love helping others achieve their goals. I also love going on adventures, learning new things, and spending time with my family and friends.



I'm Linda Barber, a 29-year-old blogger and teacher. I'm passionate about writing and communicating ideas, and I love helping others achieve their goals. I also love going on adventures, learning new things, and spending time with my family and friends.

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