The writing expected of students on the new ACT and SAT essays is at a higher level than the traditional five-paragraph essay of yore. Are your students up to the challenge?


The goal of Personal Best Test Training: Essay™ is to help your students prepare for the ACT Writing Test and SAT Essay. PBTT: Essay will help your students understand the complex challenges presented by both of these timed writing tests.

Wait! Isn't the Essay Optional?

Both the ACT and the SAT (the PSAT has no essay) essays are optional, but students would be well advised to write them anyway. They may not need an essay score for the schools they're currently applying to, but what if their choices change? If they don't choose the essay on their first test then decide later that they need an essay score, they will have to take the entire test again. Few students relish that idea.

Preparation for the ACT, SAT, and PSAT

The timed, standardized essay is an exercise in quick, focused thinking — from analyzing the prompt and other stimulus materials, to planning and organizing the writing, to drafting, and, finally, polishing the finished piece.

Essay_covers.jpgThe PBTT: Essay Study Guide (21 pages) explains what is expected on both the ACT and SAT essay tests and how to attack each most effectively within the given time limits. Students are given strategies to guide them through all stages of the writing process, including tips on pacing, as well as tools to use as they practice.


The 40-minute ACT Writing Test presents students with an issue plus three perspectives on the issue. Students are asked to analyze and evaluate the perspectives, articulate and develop their own perspective, and explain the relationship between their perspective and those given. Features of PBTT: Essay focusing on the ACT include:

  • Three-Step Attack Plan
  • 4 Practice Writing Prompts
  • Writing Checklist 
  • Scoring information


The 50-minute SAT Essay presents students with a piece of writing and asks them to analyze it, explaining how the author builds a persuasive argument and supporting their explanation with evidence from the passage. Features of PBTT: Essay focusing on the SAT include:

  • 10 Writing Strategy Tips
  • Easy-to-Understand Scoring Rubric
  • 2 Sample Passages with Practice Writing Prompts

Click to download sample pages from the PBTT: Essay Study Guide. 

A complimentary, eight-page teacher's guide is included with each set of 30 student booklets purchased. The PBTT: Essay Teacher's Guide provides activities to enhance and extend learning.

A Comprehensive Solution

PBTT: Essay is one piece of a comprehensive solution for preparing students to do their best on the ACT and PSAT/SAT. For an overview of the entire Personal Best Test Training program, click here.

More Writing Help

Personal Best Test Training: Editing also supports students in improving their writing skills. Designed to help students prepare for the ACT English Test and the SAT and PSAT Writing and Language Tests, PBTT: Editing reviews English language conventions and the fundamentals of effective writing. 

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Click the button below to request more information about PBTT. Or call 877-927-8378. We'll be happy to answer your questions.


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