2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Should I take the essay portion for the SAT/ACT?

I am going to be a senior next year and I have take the ACT once (without the essay) and I have not taken the SAT at all. I am planning on registering for ACTs and SATs, but I do not know if I should take the essay portion. The colleges that I want to attend required the essay portion in the past, but the ACT or SAT is no longer required this year. I still want to take the ACT and SAT, but I am not the best at writing essays. If I want to submit my ACT or SAT, would I have to submit my score on the essay portion too?

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@Jasmine.Makayla2 years ago [edited]

I feel like if you think that you would benefit then yes. Also, even tho it's not required doesn't mean it would look good. I would honestly recommend it. I'm not sure if you would have to submit the score, you might want to talk to colleges about it :)

@cp8392 years ago

The score is not separate from the report so if you decide to report the test with the essay, they will always see it.

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2 years ago[edited]


2 years ago

These days very few schools are using the essay portions for admission criteria except some of the elite ones. As each week goes by more and more colleges are going test-optional and some like Caltech and UC schools are now test-blind. This means there is less and less need to have the essay part submitted. I would only recommend signing up for the essay if you think you are a gifted writer, meaning that you have excelled at Honor's English, AP English, are an editor of the Newspaper or won some creative writing awards. If you are someone that writing comes easy to, you have nothing to fear and just go for it. Some students have no problem writing 3 to 4 complete pages in the 45 minutes because they have trained themselves to perform. However, if writing makes you indecisive about what to put down and you easily change your mind about what you write after you get started, you might get all stressed out and do a less than stellar job. You should also know that if you do the ACT essay that subscore gets posted and re-combined with your Writing score to create something called an ELA score. So this is only beneficial if you have a high Writing score and high Essay Score. There is more about that on the ACT.org website. But this ELA score is like a 6th category score in addition to the 5. So when you take the essay on the ACT you get 2 additional scores back, an essay score from 2-12 and ELA score from 10-36. It is virtually impossible to get a 36 ELA unless you get a 36 on writing and a perfect 12 on the essay. Most of the time the ELA looks like 1 or 2 points lower than your Writing score. So let's say you get a 34 on your writing and 11 on your essay, your ELA is a 33 which is a 99% percentile score. If you get a 28 on your writing score and a 6 on your essay, your ELA might be a 24. There are tables on the ACT.org that show how ELA is calculated.


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