The essay is the first section of every SAT. Therefore, it is essential to write a great essay.
The essay is worth a maximum of 240 points towards the total writing score of 800. Knowing that you have written a great essay will provide you with the positive momentum necessary to attack the rest of the test.
The good news is that the essay topics assigned will be broad enough to allow you to be creative and to adapt your thesis to anything you feel like writing about.
The best way to prepare for the essay is to review your life experiences. Buy a stack of 3” x 5” index cards. Use an index card for any event that had a profound impact on you. Make sure you jot down at least three bullet points per index card.
For example, let’s say you went on a European family vacation, or had an interesting summer job. Maybe a certain individual taught you an unforgettable skill or lesson. Perhaps you read a book that you enjoyed or witnessed an unusual event, or read something in the newspaper that affected you.
All of these index cards serve as “banks” of potential information for your SAT essay. When test day arrives, you will be ready with sufficient substance to include in your essay.
At the start of the SAT, all students are given paper consisting of 51 lines to write an essay. This space is enough for 500 words of average size handwriting.
The essay is not a debate.
Answer the question by stating your thesis and supporting it with examples. There are no right or wrong opinions. Organization and clarity are more important than being factually correct.
An essay should consist of an introduction, a body paragraph and a conclusion at minimum. It is preferred that the essay be supported by three examples. Always place your strongest argument in the first paragraph of the body. Therefore, if you run out of time, at least the grader reads your best effort.
Use the first two minutes to map out a crude outline. This will help you organize and keep your train of thought. Use the last two to three minutes to check over your writing. Check for run-on sentences, double sentences, or other obvious mistakes that could be easily corrected.
If you have poor penmanship, try printing. If your essay is illegible and the reader cannot read your handwriting, you will get a score of zero.
Steven N. Weisman is an author and private SAT Tutor. Many valuable test strategies and information can be found on his blog and website https://www.testniques.com