SAT Essay Student Guide 2018

access_timeMarch 22, 2018

SAT – is probably one of the most important tests that you will ever take as a student. A good SAT score will be a powerful weapon in your arsenal when you will be applying to a good college. Therefore, the SAT can seem as an overwhelming and difficult task to do. The main problem for many students is that they do not have a strong and organized plan on how to get a high score for the test and therefore they are trying to do too much or are cramming at the last minute. But do not think that getting the highest score is so difficult. Following our advice, you will be able to create a good plan which will help you tp pass this test easily and confidently.

What is SAT?

SAT (at different times – SAT Reasoning Test, Scholastic Aptitude Test, Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardized American test which is required for admission to US colleges and universities. The test is designed to assess the knowledge of the applicant in several areas. In addition, for admission to some specialties, you must pass the SAT Subject Test. Sometimes this test is called SAT I. SAT is held seven times a year in the United States and four times in other countries of the world. Tests are given in October, December, March, May, and also (only in the USA) in June, August and November usually on the first Saturday of the month. The main organizer of the exam is the private organization College Board.

Should I do it?

SAT is completely optional. First of all, find out if the college or postsecondary institution to which you are about to apply requires the completion of this essay. If not, you might still consider the possibility of passing the test just to demonstrate your writing and analytical skills. Moreover, the scores that you will get back will showcase your strengths and weaknesses in the area and basically, the preparation for the test will serve a preparation for college.

What is the assignment?

The SAT Essay is not much harder than a typical college writing assignment, where you are asked to analyze the text, so do not worry too much.

You will have 50 minutes to complete the Essay. You will be given a passage of nearly 700 words which you will have to read and then respond to it. The main purpose of the SAT is to see how well you can analyze an author’s argument. You need to focus on how the author uses reasoning, evidence, and other rhetorical techniques to create an argument and make it convincing.

To save the time on the day of the test you can familiarize yourself with the Essay prompt in advance because the task will be the same in every test and the only thing that’s going to change is the passage/reading section that you will be asked to analyze. Knowing and understanding the task will not only save you time but also will help you to write a stronger essay.

Preparing for the Test

  • Make a list of what you need to work on. Think about what you are struggling with the most and take more time to work on these questions. This will not only help you to pass the test way easier but also will relieve stress.
  • Do not forget about your strengths. If you spend all your energy on getting a good score on the writing part, it can make you forget those simple math rules that were already in your arsenal. It is also important to remind yourself that you are an intelligent person with many merits. Otherwise, you will feel insecure during the test.
  • Find out what type of learner you are. Some people better grasp the meaning of the task by reading the text, others need to hear it. Some people need to imagine it in the head. Think about how you perceive information and apply this method to your curriculum. If it is more convenient for you to learn by ear, listen to CDs in the car. If you remember better, looking at the words – make cards with text and pictures.
  • Take at least 30 minutes a day for studying. Do not start your preparation the night before the exam, you need to start at least one or two months before. Studies have shown that long-term preparation is more effective than cramming.

Essay Experts that may help

SAT Essay Outline

I. Introduction – Paragraph 1

  • Restate your topic – attention-getter, start with a question or statement that is going to make your reader interested in what you have to say.
  • Thesis Statement

II. Support – Paragraph 2

  • Counterclaim – point #1 (if this is a compare-contrast essay, use a counter argument at the beginning of every support paragraph)
  • Thesis Point #1
  1. Support (one example, personal experience, fact, or quote)
  2. Support (one example, personal experience, fact, or quote)
  3. Point of conclusion

III. Support – Paragraph 3

  • Thesis Point #2
  1. Support (one example, personal experience, fact, or quote)
  2. Support (one example, personal experience, fact, or quote)
  3. Point of conclusion

IV. Support – Paragraph 4

  • Thesis Point #3
  1. Support (one example, personal experience, fact, or quote)
  2. Support (one example, personal experience, fact, or quote)
  3. Point of conclusion

V. Conclusion – Paragraph 5

  • Restate thesis in different words
  • State a warning or call for action, plan for the future.

Tips for or Writing the SAT Essay.

  • Remember that you do not need to think for too long over one question, especially in the section on mathematics, where with each question its complexity increases.
  • Print out the SAT exams of previous years from the Internet or buy exam examples at the bookstore. This will help you to identify your weaknesses and work out the issues in which mistakes were made.
  • You will get the same number of points for the correct answer to any question in the test. So if you are stuck on some point, skip it and continue to work. You can then come back to those questions if you still have time.
  • Do not get nervous when writing a test. Yes, it is important, but it is just a test after all.
  • Get a good sleep at night before the test. If you are rested, you will have more energy to figure out the exam’s difficulties.
  • Exclude meaningless answers so you are not distracted by inherently wrong ones.
  • Think carefully before answering, because some options can be very deceptive!
  • Do not forget to bring your ID, several pencils, a confirmation of registration for the exam and a calculator.
  • If the question seems too easy, then most likely it’s just is. Do not look for a trick.
  • Practice writing the test in the atmosphere that will be on the real exam. Do not forget to record the time for each section.
  • If you have some time left, be sure to go back and check your answers.
  • Learn not to pay attention to something that distracts you. During the test, you may be distracted by someone’s giggling, clock ticking or noisy air conditioner. Take a deep breath, look at your paper and concentrate.
  • Do not revise your opinion. Your first answer is probably the correct one.
  • Set a good pace of work for yourself while solving tests at home. This will be a lot of help during the real test.
  • Convince your family and friends that you need a quiet place to study, whether it is your room, library or bench in the yard.
  • Just in case, have a stock of sharpened pencils.
  • Be positive. The wrong answer to the task is not the end of the world.


    • How can I identify my weaknesses and improve them when studying for the SAT?

As it has been already said, just take a practice test that will reveal your weak sides and work on them.

    • Can we use a calculator on the SAT?

There are two parts on the test: the one where you CAN use a calculator and the one where you CAN’T. Check to see if your calculator is approved.

    • One of the tips says not to study on the night before the test. Does this mean not even a little refresher is advised?

You have to remember that if you study the night or the day before the test, that does not mean that you will perceive the information any better. Of course, you can look through the parts that you are not completely sure of, to refresh your knowledge, but make sure you get enough sleep and rest before taking the exam.

    • What if I am ill on the day of the test?

Do not worry, just skip it and reschedule. It will not cost you anything, but taking an exam sick will.

  • What is the most common answer to choose?

There is no common answer, nobody follows any pattern in selecting what to answer. Just study well before the exam and you’ll know what to answer.

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