McGraw-Hill Education ACT 2017 (2016)



DIRECTIONS: This test is designed to assess your writing skills. You have forty (40) minutes to plan and write an essay based on the stimulus provided. Be sure to take a position on the issue and support your position using logical reasoning and relevant examples. Organize your ideas in a focused and logical way, and use the English language to clearly and effectively express your position.

When you have finished writing, refer to the Scoring Rubrics discussed in Chapter 7 to estimate your score.

Note: On the actual ACT you will receive approximately 2.5 pages of scratch paper on which to develop your essay, and approximately 4 pages of notebook paper on which to write your essay. We recommend that you limit yourself to this number of pages when you write your practice essays.


The cellular, or wireless, “telephone“ has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Far from being simply a device for real-time communication, the “smartphone” has replaced several once-common devices and extended the power of the Internet to our pockets and purses. It has become unusual to see someone carrying a camera, a calculator, or a pocket flashlight. “Apps” (short for “applications”) exist for many tasks, including depositing checks into bank accounts. Smartphones also provide navigation and location services that have all but made paper maps obsolete. Certainly, smartphones have created many opportunities and made the lives of many people easier. However, some feel that their prevalence, and our dependence on them, comes at a price. Given the fact that the use of smartphones is only increasing, it is certainly worth examining the implications and their presence in our lives.

Perspective One

What we lose in our increasing dependence on smartphones is direct interaction with the people around us. In the past, people in common spaces such as airports used to converse with one another and learn from one another’s perspectives. Now, most people are missing out on many opportunities to interact with people who have experiences and stories that are different from their own.

Perspective Two

Smartphones are miracles of modern technology and provide tools that used to be only available to a few people in specific circumstances. We are more connected because of our devices and have more control over our own lives.

Perspective Three

We are too dependent on technology. We are losing basic skills and we are sharing far too much information with government, corporations, and each other. Furthermore, the technology is enabling tyrannical governments to suppress their own citizens’ desire for freedom.

Essay Task

Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the implications of our reliance on smartphones. 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.