ACT combined Eng./Writing

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Spartan25, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Spartan25

    Spartan25 Member

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    I am a USMA class of 2021 and SLE hopeful. I started my application the day it was released, 15 January 2016. However, on the candidate questionnaire they ask for your ACT combined English/Writing score. I took the ACT with writing on 12 December 2015 and when I received my score report they only provided an "ELA" (English Language Arts) score. I researched this and it seems as if the ACT changed their writing ACT grading scale and replaced the combined Eng./Writing score with this "ELA" score on tests taken after September 2015. Should I use the old grading scale to find my combined Eng./Writing score and put that on the application or give them my "ELA" score? Also, are the scores I input even important or will admissions fill these ACT scores in themselves when they receive my official score report from ACT (which I requested to be sent to USMA when registering back in November.)

    I am eager to find a solution to this problem so my application will be complete by the first time the admissions board for SLE meets (which I hear is near the beginning of February) so any and all help is welcome and thank you in advance.
     
  2. paperplaneenthusiast

    paperplaneenthusiast Member

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    I simply averaged my English subtest score with the Writing score. (for example, I received a 36 on English and 35 on Writing, so the two would average out to a 36 combined English/Writing score) I'm not necessarily 100% sure this is the correct way to do this, but it was the only thing I could think of that made sense. Hope this helps, and good luck with the rest of your application!
     
  3. brovol

    brovol Member

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    My son is a candidate for 2020 class, and has submitted 4 sets of exam scores throughout the process. Each time the Academy inputs the scores for each section. I wouldn't worry about it. You should have 4 subscores, plus writing. The new writing section for the ACT is a different scoring method and looks more like the scale from the other sections. My son had a writing score from the old style and the new style.
     
  4. Superior rocks

    Superior rocks Member

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    Paperplaneenthusiast, congratulations on your English and writing ACT scores. The new ACT essay has proven to be a challenge for many kids, even those kids who have solid ACT English scores (30 and above). Please share with us mere mortals your approach to writing a well-written composition. For example, did you follow a specific plan or approach? What advice do you have for others to write a 30+ essay?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your formula for success on the writing test.
     
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  5. paperplaneenthusiast

    paperplaneenthusiast Member

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    Well thank you, I'm flattered! As much as I hate to say it, my performance on the ACT really surprised me altogether. On my first shot I received a 35 composite, with a 31 in math, 35 in science, 36 in reading, 36 in english, and 35 in writing. Since then I've taken it once more, and I raised my math subtest score to a 33. However, there is a catch to all this.
    The only studying I ever did for the ACT consisted of flipping through a study guide for perhaps an hour a night for the week prior to the test, and even with that, I never got around to really strategizing for the writing section. All I knew going into the writing test was that a) I would be writing an essay, b) it was in a weird format with the multiple perspectives twist, and c) it would be at the end of the test, when I would be drained from the four previous subtests.
    So unfortunately, I'm not sure if I have a really good answer to your question. What I CAN say is that the topic of the essay will always (always!) boil down to some modern ethical/moral issue, and the most (most!) important thing is to incorporate every single perspective given (there are 3), while at the same time establishing your own perspective (which can be the same as one of the three you are given). A concession, written into the essay in some way/shape/form, is key as well. That's about it concerning my not-so-extensive knowledge on how to write a killer ACT essay.
    But what I will add is this: just stick to your typical English class writing techniques. I've taken two years of honors English and am currently crawling my way through AP English 3, so I am already fairly well written (I in no way mean to toot my own horn) as I've acquired some pretty useful writing tips over the years. Just always remember to create a strong, personal voice while writing (this can be done by stressing active voice. I believe this is where most students my age fall short in their writing, as we tend to lean heavily on the passive voice and the "be" verb. Eliminate this from your writing as much as possible, and the product will be a more solid essay). Lastly, take a solid, unwavering stance on the subject! The audience (in this case, ACT graders) wants to know that you can formulate your own opinions rather than simply regurgitating the opinions of others.
    I rambled a bit on everything having to do with English, but I hope this helps. If you have questions about anything I've mentioned or would like further clarification, feel free to ask!
     
  6. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    @paperplaneenthusiast WOW!! Those are some incredible scores right there! The ACT prompt is always an educationally-related modern/ethical issue and previous prompts are available - use google. Also, I spoke with an ACT essay grader, he says they are paid by the essay - they average something like 12 seconds per essay when grading!! Pretty ridiculous, but he said length matters - longer automatically gets higher grades, use as many pages as possible. Most prep sites will also say that.
     
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  7. paperplaneenthusiast

    paperplaneenthusiast Member

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    @goforspaatz Thank you! On that note, a pressing question I've had-- with my current ACT scores, is it even worth going back and retaking the test to try and bump my math grade up? I also have a super score 2200 on my SAT (710 M/720 CR/770 W)... if that makes any difference in the response.
     
  8. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    I wouldn't be able to tell you. That's up to you, I guess. Those scores look pretty solid to me. If you really wanted to, you could, but I'm also not sure when the deadline to sign up for the latest ACT is, so that could be a factor too.
     
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  9. paperplaneenthusiast

    paperplaneenthusiast Member

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    I understand. I've just been struggling with whether I should go and spend money taking another test that may or may not even help me out much more in the application process. Thank you for your feedback!
     
  10. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    I'm no expert. But based upon the Standardized Test Score profile published by the USAFA and other comments from experienced parents, cadets and alum, I think you should move on, strengthen other aspects of your application and get ready for Plan B. Best wishes.
     
  11. paperplaneenthusiast

    paperplaneenthusiast Member

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    Thank you! I appreciate your input.
     
  12. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    BTW, most candidates would give their left arm (and also right arm) for your scores. Great job!
     
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  13. Spartan25

    Spartan25 Member

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    I just received my ACT scores from the February test. I am debating whether to average my English score of 33 and my writing score of 28, which is 30.5, and input a 31 into the Combined Eng./writing space or to just leave the space blank. For my first ACT scores, in which I also took the writing, I left the space blank and when admissions input my official score they also put a 0 in for the Combined Eng./Writing score. So my question is if I should leave the Eng./Writing space blank or fill it in with my average. Also if anyone else had their official scores put in by admissions was your Eng./Writing score appearing as a 0 as well?
     
  14. 845something

    845something Member

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    If you have an open application, you can't input the scores directly anyway. You need to send the official results to West Point and they will input them.
     

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