Do you have to take the ACT essay?

Do you have to take the ACT essay?
I’m planning on taking the ACT and the say the essay is optional, should I take it or not, if I do take it what is the time limit they give for the essay.

The timed essay is 30 minutes long. You can read more about it here:…
As to whether you have to take it or not, some colleges ask for the writing portion and others don’t. Look either on the websites of the colleges you’re applying to or use College Board’s online college search thing to find out what their policies are about the writing section.
That said, you might as well take the writing. You may decide later to apply someplace that does require it, and it can’t hurt to take it, unless you’re really sure you don’t need it.