The ACT changed its essay format last year.  It is difficult to get much practice for this essay, because so far the ACT has only published two samples:  Intelligent Machines and Public Health and Individual Freedom (p. 54).  Here I provide a simulacrum, an unofficial sample prompt.  I made every effort to write this simulacrum as closely as possible to the official ACT essay prompts, including word count and tone.  Please feel free to download, print, use, and distribute this essay prompt as long as you keep the attribution at the footer, so future students can follow up and give me a call!

Download the ACT essay prompt simulacrum on PDF

Smart Phone Etiquette

An ACT Essay Simulacrum from Nth Degree Tutoring

Within the lifetimes of most people living today, smart phones have transformed the very nature of social interaction.  Today, we conduct a large fraction of our correspondence by text message and social networking.  This silent mode of conversation enables multiple simultaneous threads of dialogue, with people near and far.  What is the appropriate use of cell phones during face-to-face conversation?  A generation gap causes misunderstandings and frustration.  Do young people text more because they grew up with the technology, or because they haven’t learned good manners? We are in need of standards of etiquette.

Read and carefully consider these perspectives.  Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the appropriate use of smart phones during in-person conversation.

Perspective One Perspective Two Perspective Three
It is rude and childish to use a smart phone while talking to someone in person.  It consumes time and distracts from the conversation.  It also makes present company feel ignored and slighted. We should not exclude smart phones from live conversation as a matter of principle.  Sometimes they can enhance conversation.  That being said, most text-messaging and internet surfing is frivolous and can easily be moderated. It is old-fashioned to expect people to put their smart phones away.  Today’s lifestyle requires constant contact with outside people and information.  Those who can’t multi-task will just fall behind.


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