Is a conclusion absolutely neccessary?
There a certainly mixed reviews on the worth of a conclusion. I personally recommend that my students write one that is 4-5 sentences long. However, I encourage them to only spend 3-4 minutes writing one. In general, you want to spend as much time as you can writing your body paragraphs - don’t let a conclusion get in the way here.
If you don’t have a conclusion, it honestly won’t hurt. A WEAK conclusion (like any weak writing) can hurt your score if you’re on the fence of earning a specific point. However, a strong conclusion can certainly serve to help you and can even help your chances of earning the sophistication point.
In general, I wouldn’t stress too much about the conclusion at this point in the year. However, if you feel very confident in your body paragraphs and want to dive a little deeper in this topic, here is a Replay on this very topic that should prove useful.