If you’re planning to take the ACT and aren’t a big fan of writing timed essays, you’re probably tempted to sign up for the ACT without writing.

Please don’t.

An increasing number of colleges, including many large state universities (e.g. the University of Illinois), do require the ACT with Writing, and you risk seriously limiting your options if you take it without.

Furthermore, most colleges will not let you mix and match scores: if you take the ACT twice, once with writing and once without, you cannot simply tack your writing score onto the non-Writing test; that entire test will be considered, not just the essay portion.

The good news is that the essay score does not get factored into your overall score; a 32 composite with an 8 essay stays a 32 composite.??But without that essay score, your ACT won’t count at all.