Although the essay writing section of the SAT is not required, earning a good SAT Essay score can make a huge difference when it comes time to apply for college.
I always recommend that students take this section because it looks impressive to college admissions officers, and it allows students to get a glimpse of what college-level writing will look like.
If you earn a high score on the SAT Essay section, admissions boards will know that you have the writing skills you’ll need to succeed in college, which will boost your chances of getting into a top school.
Many of the students who choose not to take this section are usually people who do not consider themselves to be strong writers; however, even if writing is not your forte, that doesn’t mean you cannot do well on this section.
Here are a few strategies and tips to help you get a great SAT writing score:
1. Memorize the prompt
One helpful aspect of this writing portion of the SAT is that the prompt is always the same. Regardless of the passage that you will be required to read before writing your essay, you will be asked to consider how the author uses the following:
evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
If you memorize this prompt beforehand and practice analyzing evidence, reasoning, and rhetorical appeals when you read practice passages, you will be in good shape when it’s time for you to write your essay.
2. Understand how the essay is scored
In order to earn a high score on this section, you will need to know exactly what the SAT graders will be looking for when they read your essay.
Your writing will be scored by two graders, each one giving you a score between 1-4 for Reading, Analysis, and Writing. Once they have finished grading your essay, their scores will be combined, allowing you to receive a score out of 8 for each of these three areas.
To get a great reading score, you will need to demonstrate that you have a strong understanding of the passage through your use of quotes and paraphrases from the text. In order to earn a strong analysis score, you will have to go beyond just providing evidence and offer a detailed analysis of how the author’s use of evidence, reasoning, and stylistic choices influence their text. If you want a high writing score, make sure you step up your vocabulary, use varied sentence structure, and have a well-organized paper with a specific claim.
3. Write at least three pages
While it might not seem like your essay length should matter much, it can also make a huge difference when it comes to your essay score.
If your essay is under 3 pages, you might end up with a lower writing score. Make sure you have a clear introduction paragraph, a couple of body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph so that your paper is well-organized and long enough to provide adequate analysis and support.
4. Use varied sentence structure
Avoid using only simple sentences for your essay. If you really want to show off your writing chops, you need to include compound and complex sentences and switch up your sentence structure.
When you can demonstrate that you have a strong command of sentence structure and vocabulary, your essay grader will be impressed, and you will earn a higher score.
With these four tips in mind, you will be able to improve your writing score and do well on the SAT Essay section.
Learn more about how you can do well on this section, as well as the other sections of the SAT, when you sign up for an SAT prep course through Prep Expert or hire a private online SAT tutor. Find out more when you visit our website.