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What are some tips for writing a high-scoring essay for the SAT?

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Jessica Gardner | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:26 PM via web

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What are some tips for writing a high-scoring essay for the SAT?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:19 PM (Answer #1)

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When writing the SAT test, it's important to remember that graders are using rubrics, checklists of essential components. Your job is not to be creative (a high-risk strategy) but to show graders that you have fulfilled the criteria on the rubrics.

First, read the question carefully, and take a clear stance. Write a brief outline of the main points you will use to support your stance. Write the body of the essay covering the main points, and then go back to write the introduction and conclusion. Make sure that the introduction clearly shows how you will respond to the main issues in the prompt and that the conclusion shows how the points in the body of the essay prove the claim you made in the introduction.

Watch the time, so that you have at least 3-5 minutes to proofread after you finish writing. Grammar and spelling do count.

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anzheng | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted January 16, 2014 at 7:27 AM (Answer #2)

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When given the essay prompt, it doesn't matter what side you decide to choose to argue, but it is how you respond that is critical. You need a hook and intro, and a body paragraph with about two examples to support your thesis. These could be drawn from history, books, past experiences, etc. But it MUST support your thesis. Then end it with a good conclusion summing up what you talked about. Make sure your writing matches the topic, and your examples support your thesis.

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taangerine | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted June 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM (Answer #3)

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From what I have studied from my SAT class, you should always:

  1. Brainstorm. Don't write right away. Use the first 1-2 minutes to brainstorm some examples that can support the idea. And, you don't HAVE to write about you personal opinion of what you think is right or wrong. Just write whatever that your examples supports most. 
  2. Restate your thesis. The readers or the people grading your essay are usually reading more than 200+ in one sitting and do not want to spend to much time on one. Get your point across in every paragraph by restating and reflecting on your thesis.
  3. Write a conclusion. The conclusion is essential to score well on the essay because it concludes your essay. Without the conclusion, you will not be able to score well as you have not completed your essay fully. So, even though you have not finished your essay in the last 2 minutes on the writing period, stop & write a conclusion. One or two sentences is enough to conclude your entire essay for the conclusion. Restate the prompt and reflect upon your examples.

Good luck to those taking it!

*Another thing you should know is that your examples don't have to be accurate. They just have to get your point across. For example, you can make up a character in a made up movie if you do not have any examples to write about. 

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Wiggin42 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:40 PM (Answer #4)

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Whatever you do, make sure you fill up the page with on topic material. The graders are lenient with spelling, and accuracy. (If you write Genghis Khan won World War II, they can't dock points off for that, so don't worry about getting the facts straight. This is the only situation where that is the case.)

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