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Writing Sample Scored Essays 1-6

Essays are graded one (1) through six (6) with six(6) being the highest score. 

Sample Essay (Score = 6)

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Scoring Explanation

This essay demonstrates effective skill in responding to the writing task.

The essay takes a position on the issue (extending our high school career to five years would make an important and beneficial impact on our future) and offers a critical context for discussion (Yet what we desire most is not always what is best for us). Complexity is addressed as the writer anticipates and responds to a counter-argument to the discussion (Even if a school doesn't limit students' involvement, students eventually reach the limits of what a 24-hour day can hold). Development is ample, specific and logical, discussing most ideas fully in terms of the resulting implications (Colleges would see a longer, more developed individual's resume that included a time for each of their interests. The organizations would benefit from stronger student participation and the students would be recognized for their true efforts as well). Clear focus on the specific issue in the prompt is maintained.

Organization of the essay is clear though predictable. Most of the essay demonstrates logical sequencing of ideas (It is difficult to be involved in activities of interest while still keeping high grades. However, colleges don't consider this when they seek applicants with high grade-point-averages in their admissions pool. Elongating the span of high school would allow more students with both grades and activities on their agenda to spend more time focusing on each separate interest). Transitions are used throughout the essay (Although, Even if, However, Rather than) and are often integrated into the essay (Because they struggle to gain leadership roles and become the well-rounded students colleges desire, the task of maintaining a respectable grade-point-average during high school is a struggle for many students). The conclusion and especially the introduction are effective and well developed.

The essay shows a good command of language, with precise and varied sentences and word choice (The Senior Itch-the incurable chaffing we all crave to scratch. . . . Merely being accepted by a selective college or university requires much pre-planned effort that is literally unavailable to students already concerned with grades and other activities).

There are few errors to distract the reader.

Sample Essay (Score = 5)

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 Scoring Explanation

This essay takes a position in favor of extending high school and offers a broad context for discussion by situating high school effort within a larger society that values excellence and high achievement (In a society that constantly tells it's youth they must have the highest pay check and newest car to be happy, why wouldn't this be the case?).

The essay demonstrates recognition of complexity with discussion of the complications of the issue in the fourth paragraph. First, the writer establishes that students never have enough time, then anticipates the stereotype of the lazy teenager who "sleeps too much," then attempts to solve the acknowledged complication that "too much 'vegging' could be a problem." The essay thus demonstrates an ability to treat the complexity of the issue without undermining the essay's position or logic.

Development of ideas is specific and logical. The essay moves between general ideas (Schools are always adding new and interesting courses, but for many, like the college bound student, there just isn't the time) and specific examples (Though an arts and crafts class might sound like fun, something like AP Music Theory would probably look better on a transcript). Moreover, some ideas are developed fully as the writer draws critical conclusions from the discussion (Fifteen years old seems to early to start making "career" choices over things that wold be fun).

The essay has a simple structural organization, but generally demonstrates logical progression of ideas, especially through the second and fourth paragraphs. Transitions between ideas are well crafted both between paragraphs (But it happens and it causes stress. . . . Teenagers in the country have an ever growing load of stress being placed upon them) and within paragraphs to make logical connections between ideas.

Language use in the essay is generally clear, although misspellings of homophones (its/it's, our/are) are distracting. Some incorrect punctuation is also distracting, but the mistakes do not impede understanding. Some precise vocabulary (daunting, fleeting, generation) and a variety of sentence constructions are used effectively throughout the essay.
Sample Essay (Score = 4)

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Scoring Explanation

This essay demonstrates adequate skill in responding to the task.

The writer takes a position (I feel that extending high school one more year is a bad idea for three reasons . . .) and offers some context for the discussion (Educators debate extending high school to five years due to the increasing demands on students for employers and colleges. Those for it say that it will give students more time to achieve what is expected, and those against it say that students would lost intrest and attendance will drop in year five). The essay also shows some recognition of complexity by acknowledging multiple perspectives and providing some response to counter-arguments to the writer's position (Of course there seems to be advantages and disadvantages to both, but lets be realistic, in America today, education isn't exactly our most relishing topic).

Development of ideas is adequate, with three ideas discussed and with some movement between general statements (extending high school an extra year just seems like a band aid for all the problems in the field of education) and specific examples and details (At a time where the illiteracy and dropout rate seems to be rising as much as gas prices these days, one more year isn't going to cut it). Focus on the specific issue in the prompt is maintained throughout the essay.

The organization of the essay is apparent but predictable, with obvious transitions (Firstly, Lastly, So in conclusion). There is some evidence of logical sequencing within the third paragraph (coming into senior year, you become a human form of a slug. . . . the intrest is gone after sophomore year. What makes you think that it will magically pop up after a addition of one more year? It will just be more time to be bored). The introduction and conclusion are both clear and somewhat developed.

The writer demonstrates adequate ability with language, using a variety of sentence types and some appropriate word choice (extending, social gathering, physically and mentally, illiteracy) as well as some inaccurate and distracting word choice (relishing, incubate). Other errors also distract the reader but do not impede understanding.
Sample Essay (Score = 3)

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Scoring Explanation

This essay shows some understanding of the writing task.

The writer takes a position on the issue (Both sides have strong points, but I agree with the educators who say that their shouldn't be an extension to high school adding a fifth year) and offers some context for discussion by repeating the prompt as an introduction. By using the prompt as part of the essay, the writer acknowledges a counter-argument but does not discuss it at all.

Two main ideas are developed to support the writer's position (. . . I agree with those people who say that students would loose interest. . . . I also feel that there should not be another year to high school because I just feel that it should be a job of the instructors at an high school to prepare us, high school students, for college within those four years of high school), with the first idea repeated twice in separate parts of the discussion (I just think that five years is too long and students would get bored with school). Discussion of each idea is limited to general statements that are never illustrated by specific reasons, examples, or details (I feel that creating yet another year to high school would decrease the teacher's interest and they would do a poor job and wait until the fifth year to make up for their mistakes), but the essay does maintain focus on the specific issue in the prompt.

Organization is simple and clear but provides no evidence that ideas in the essay are logically sequenced within the discussion. Simple transitions connect the paragraphs (I agree . . . I also feel . . . I just think . . .) without making meaningful connections between ideas. The introduction and conclusion are clearly discernible as intentional frames for the discussion, but are underdeveloped-either because the language is merely repeated from the prompt or because the writer did not extend summation past a single conclusive statement.

Language use shows some sentence variety (Some adolescence are already loosing interest in school and an increasing number of students are becoming dropouts) and appropriate word choice (potential, succeed, attendance). Some errors distract but do not impede understanding.
Sample Essay (Score = 2)

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Scoring Explanation

This essay demonstrates inconsistent skill in responding to the task. The writer takes a position but displays no recognition of a counter-argument to that position.

Development of ideas is thin with general statements to explain the first idea (Students get thrown into the college setting which is a major shock to them due to the major differences) and very little explanation of the second idea (Because we have to take the graduation test in tenth grade we don't learn anything that year).

There is some indication of an organizational structure: a discernible introduction offers two ideas, with each discussed in its own paragraph. The conclusion is minimal and not clearly separated from discussion of the writer's second idea (We need another year due to that, so we should go one more year to make sure we are ready). Transitions are simple (but, because).

Sentence structure shows some variety (I would, not because I like school, not because I enjoy spending six hours cooped up inside, but because I could use one more year to just be sure I am completely prepared for college) and word choice is appropriate to the discussion (cooped up inside, preparatory courses, freshmen's first quarter).
Sample Essay (Score = 1)

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Scoring Explanation

This essay shows little skill in responding to the writing task.

While the writer takes a position on the issue in the beginning of the essay (I think that school should be extended for five year because it will help you how you are educate), the rest of the discussion does not convey reasons to support that position. Instead, the writer minimally develops many different ideas about school in general, repeating ideas rather than explaining them (School is a place where you could learn a lot of different that you don't know. I know that I learn a lot of thing I didn't know but I know them). At times, statements supporting claims are not understandable (By going to school is a good thing because if you go to school it could help have experience in everything that you are doing. To have experience you to do that thing you do best and how well you do at it).

There is no discernable organization to the essay other than a minimal introductory statement: ideas are not logically grouped, no transitions are used, and no conclusion is offered. Sentence structure and word choice are consistently simple, with sentences repeatedly beginning with, "I think" or "I know."

Language usage errors are frequently distracting and contribute to difficulty understanding some portions of the essay.