By Lisa Zimmer Hatch, Scott A. Hatch

Although the 40-minute writing portion of the ACT is optional, many colleges and universities require it, so taking this part of the test is in your best interest.

Here is a sample writing test for you to try.

Sample essay

Directions: Give yourself 40 minutes. Respond to the following prompt with a well-organized essay that follows the rules of Standard English. Write your essay on separate sheets of lined paper.

Some people believe that the elderly population should be required to reapply for a driver’s license and retake a driving test after they reach a particular age. As the baby boomer generation ages, more and more elderly drivers are taking to the roadways, and with the aging process comes a variety of issues that can lead to problems behind the wheel. Hearing loss, diminished vision, and longer reaction times are just a few of these possible concerns. Is it fair to force an entire population to reapply for something they have already earned and been using for decades? Given the increasing number of elderly drivers on the road, this is an important issue worthy of careful consideration.

Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about whether elderly drivers should have to reapply for a driver’s license once they reach a certain age.

Perspective 1: Elderly drivers should have to retake their driving tests once they reach a particular age for both their own safety and that of all others out on the roadways. Certain abilities decrease with age, and many of those abilities that do decrease are critical for maintaining safe driving practices.

Perspective 2: Forcing elderly drivers to retake their driving tests based on age, rather than a demonstrated lack of ability behind the wheel, is essentially a form of age discrimination and should not be put into practice.

Perspective 3: Requiring all elderly drivers to reapply for driver’s licenses after they reach a given age puts an unnecessary strain on already limited resources in our DMVs and driving schools, and it would take attention away from the inexperienced teen population that is learning the rules of the road for the first time.

Essay task

Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives as to whether elderly drivers should be forced to reapply for a driver’s license once they reach a given age. In your essay, be sure to:

  • analyze and evaluate the perspectives given

  • state and develop your own perspective on the issue

  • explain the relationship between your perspective and those given

Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different. Whatever the case, support your ideas with logical reasoning and detailed, persuasive examples.