Graduating from high school and going to college is a crucial step in every student's life. Mostly, students have a dream college through which they want to build up their careers. Typically, most of the colleges and universities in the US require an SAT. This article will provide you with a complete guideline on a portion of SAT: the SAT Essay and its requirements, template, and tips for getting high scores, so let's begin.
The "Scholastic Aptitude Test," commonly known as SAT, is a standardized test conducted by College Board in the US and is an entrance exam for the students applying to undergraduate schools and colleges. This test evaluates the students' skills and abilities required in the college and based upon SAT results, the college decides whether to admit the applicant.
The SAT mainly comprises three parts, readings, writing, and math. Previously the SAT essay was a compulsory part of the test, but since 2016, it has become optional. A detail on SAT sections is provided here. The total time for the test without an essay is three hours while, in case you opt for the essay, it becomes 3 hours 50 minutes.
As the SAT essay is optional now, so its score is calculated separately and is not included in the total SAT essay.
The scores for each dimension, writing, reading, and analysis, are received separately. The top colleges and universities, such as in the IVY league, require a minimum score of 6 in each SAT essay component and a cumulative score of 18/24. This means an individual 6,6,6 in three sections would be preferred more than a 7,4 and 5 in each section.
The old SAT essay was compulsory and theoretical in which the students had to answer a theoretical prompt and support it with evidence in a mere 25 minutes. Following is the example of an old SAT essay question.
The SAT essay has been significantly altered as now it requires the students to analyze another author's argumentative essay and cite evidence from the passage to support their explanation. The total time for writing the essay is now 50 minutes in which the students can critically think and use their rhetorical skills. Following is an example of the current SAT essay prompt.
Considering all these changes, let's look into why you need to opt for the SAT essay. Although SAT essay has become optional now, some colleges and universities still require it in the SAT exam. So, if you are still deciding on which college you opt for, it is recommended to take SAT with the essay as you would be applicable for all colleges whether they require the SAT essay or not. Even if your decided colleges do not require the SAT essay, you will not find any hindrance in applying to another college if you take the essay with your SAT. This would eliminate any future hassle.
Another important reason for choosing to give SAT with the essay is that the new SAT essay is more like a college assignment where you must use your analytical skills. Taking SAT with an essay can boost your application and show your writing and analytical skills to the college.
Here is a complete list of schools and colleges that require or recommend SAT with the essay. However, it is recommended to cross-check with the college you intend to apply for as there can be certain changes in policies.
The essay's total time is 50 minutes, so you would be required to divide your allotted time carefully.
An ideal SAT essay structure consists of the following five elements.
In the introductory paragraph, you would begin your analysis with a statement that would discuss the overall argument presented in the prompt, along with a brief account of the argumentative techniques used by the author that you would be analyzing in the essay.
The thesis statement is a significant element of the essay as it depicts your overall understanding of the author's argument. You are not required to present your stance; instead, you must present your understanding of the argument.
You are not required to paraphrase the prompt passage or analyze whether the arguments are correct or not. In your body paragraphs, you would support your thesis statement with evidence from the passage regarding the author's techniques to present the argument. Each body paragraph (ideally 2 to 3 paragraphs) would start with a topic sentence and supporting evidence.
The conclusion is yet another important element of the essay in which you restate your thesis statement and concisely conclude all the examples and evidence presented in the body paragraphs.
Here you can find the new SAT essay prompt and the sample student answers corresponding to their score ranges. You can get a good idea regarding what is required in the SAT essay now.
The detailed steps of writing the SAT essay are presented below
The first step is to read the entire passage and go along with the author's flow of arguments. A thorough reading of the passage will give you a good idea of the author's arguments. It is effective to underline the examples and take notes of the author's persuasive techniques along the way as you read.
Planning your essay would seem like a time-taking task, but once you are done with it, it would be easy for you to write, and you would be able to maintain the logical structure of your essay by following the rough outline. The notes you took while reading and the underlined examples would help form an appropriate outline, and you wouldn't have to read the essay again and again and waste time unnecessarily.
You can also include brief descriptions of details and examples from the essay in your outline that would work as a foundation for your essay. Moreover, an outline helps maintain cohesion and a logical flow in the essay, and you can avoid jumping abruptly from one viewpoint to the next.
After you have mapped out an outline, you should directly start writing your essay while following your outline so that any significant point may not get forgotten.
You should finish writing your essay at least 5 minutes before the end time. Take the last five minutes to go through your essay and review it for clarity, conciseness, and cohesion. You can check for any grammatical or spelling mistakes and analyze your entire essay to check whether you have presented the author's argument and supporting evidence on the techniques used properly.
The following tips would help you get a high score on SAT essays and gain a competitive advantage.
Good preparation is the key to performing well on the test. Follow the guidelines mentioned above for getting high scores in your SAT essay.