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5 SAT Essay Tips for You to Pass the Exam Successfully

Posted on 28 May 2020

5 min read
5 SAT Essay Tips for You to Pass the Exam Successfully
SAT Essay Tips

The SAT Essay is a task of text analysis. You have to read a text passage, define the author’s position, and expose his or her persuasive means. The explanation of how exactly the author convinces the audience should be grounded on evidence from that text fragment.  

This task does not demand you to provide your own opinion about the author’s position, or about the subject of that text. It is a pure text analysis: define the writer’s arguments and explain them, all in 50 minutes. 

The SAT essay is an optional part of the document package you submit to the college admission committees. It was obligatory several years ago, but in 2016 the status of this exam changed. Now it is up to the student whether to take this exam or not. Most of us would prefer to skip some tests. But still, taking the SAT exam with an SAT essay can be the right decision.

If you want to test your skills with this test, this article on the SAT essay tips will help you. We are going to discuss why a student might need to write this essay, which benefits it can bring, and how to compose it successfully. 

What’s the point of writing an SAT essay if it’s optional? 

Many colleges do not require the candidate to provide their SAT scores. At the same time, some other schools ask for it directly or recommend to include it.

Some colleges consider that this document is an additional source of information about the candidate. Others view this assignment as a means to check the student’s abilities in writing. The skills you need to have for the SAT essay will help you when you deal with the countless college writing assignment.

Eventually, schools will review the SAT essays together with the rest of your documents only. They should decide if they invite you on campus on the grounds of the mandatory data. The SAT scores might be an optional vote in your favor. But one thing is sure: if they want your SAT essay, and you provide a poor sample of it – that won’t help you to become their student. 

It is better to train yourself and learn some SAT essay tips to pass that exam for the best grades possible. 

The SAT exam procedure: what to expect? 

You’ll have to compose the essay in class. For this assignment, you get the timeframe of 50 minutes to perform several tasks:

  • Read the text fragment of 650 – 750 words;
  • Analyze that text and distinguish the writer’s arguments;
  • Define means of building the cases;
  • Compose the essay dedicated to those means. 

Fifty minutes can be a substantial timeframe if you are well prepared.

You won’t know which texts you will receive for analysis. Still, all the SAT exam materials belong to the same paper type, and you can use similar documents for preparation.

  • There are fragments of published works only, like newspaper articles. 
  • They target a broad audience and don’t demand any specific knowledge to understand the content.
  • The subjects are some ideas or trends of modern life – social, political, or cultural events.
  • In the text, you will get the author’s point of view about those subjects.
  • The author will use logic argumentation and appeal to evidence.

You won’t need any other sources – all the information will be in that text fragment and the task requirements. Neither will you need to know much about the topic of the text. 

If you, by chance, are an expert, note that your goal is not to judge that subject or the author’s opinions. Your job is to identify the statement and analyze the ways the writer supports his or her points. 

Practical SAT essay tips to get prepared and pass the exam

At first, you should understand how the teachers evaluate your results. The SAT essay will get scores from the two independent readers. They both examine the three aspects of the piece: reading, analysis, and writing. You are to demonstrate the level of your skills in each of these aspects.

  • “Reading” is the marker of how you understood the text.
  • “Analysis” means how well you analyzed the author’s means of convincing the audience. 
  • “Writing” is the direct evaluation of your skills in composing a text according to the task requirements. 

Each reader evaluates each aspect from 1 to 4. Then these scores from the two “judges” are added. 

The lowest score you can get for one “component” is 2, and the highest score is 8. Of course, the best grade you can get is Reading 8 / Analysis 8 / Writing 8. You can reach this goal. 

Get familiar with the samples of successful SAT essays 

Learning from successful examples if a decent practice. You can examine the structure of the work and how the data are organized. Note that any time for the SAT essay you should to research the following fields:

  • Authors’ claims;
  • Factual evidence;
  • Logic interpretation of facts;
  • Connections between claims and evidence;
  • Stylistic means – the word choice, the structure of phrases, and how they appeal to emotions or reason. 

The features mentioned above will be in the focus of your essay. Thus, pay attention to them when you research other examples of SAT essays that received high scores.

Practice as much as possible 

If you’ve decided to take this exam, you should train yourself to compose this essay type. As you already know which kinds of texts you will get for analysis, use similar fragments to get prepared.

  • Read articles from well-established editorials like The New York Times several times a week. Choose the pieces dedicated to the actual trends and events, with the apparent author’s position on them. 
  • Research the argumentation of such articles as described in the previous section.
  • Allow yourself 50 minutes every day to analyze a text and write an SAT essay within that timeframe.
  • Revise your essays for weaknesses. 
  • Ask for feedback. It is excellent if you can address writing tutors when you prepare for the tests.

Read the materials thoroughly at the exam 

One of the familiar and grave problems that you might face at the SAT exam is haste. Many students try to accomplish the essay as fast as possible, so they are not attentive enough when they read the prompts. Don’t make this mistake, as you risk misunderstanding the text and requirements. Then the essay will not work.

Get yourself time to read your fragments and prompts carefully. When you make sure that you’ve understood the requirements entirely, start to analyze the text for the arguments. Read it several times and make notes during the reading.

Compose an outline of your SAT essay to organize its form and contents 

An outline is the most efficient means to arrange your thoughts. Don’t omit this stage, as you can “test” the future essay properly before you write it. 

  • Define the author’s main statement;
  • List the arguments and evidence in support of that statement;
  • Put the elements in order as you would like to see them;
  • Check the logical connections between all fragments;
  • Consider what you will write in the Introduction and the Conclusion parts.

Outlining will be the most helpful of all SAT essay tips. This way, you get a sketch of the paper to detect weak points and organize yourself. Of course, you’ll have to ensure that your essay will be well-structured, clear, and written in the perfect academic style. This requirement is the same for all the essays you ever write.

Revise and edit the SAT essay 

Though it might not be easy, try to complete the writing earlier than in 50 minutes. You need to have at least 5 minutes to review the text. Read it critically and track all the errors to fix them.

There are no easy exams. They all demand your time, dedication, and great responsibility. It is what we kept in mind when collected the SAT essay tips for you. However, when you understand for sure what you must do, and you are well prepared, you can pass it!


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