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What Is a SAT Essay and How to Write It Without Errors?

May 22, 2020

A Simple Guide on How to Write a High-Scoring SAT Essay

SAT essay is an optional assignment that you are required or recommended to write in several colleges or universities. This assignment doesn’t influence the overall score and is scored separately. To write this essay, you will be offered to read a certain passage and analyze the way the author writes an argument. This assignment gives a student the chance to show analytical and writing skills and readiness for a successful study.

A Typical Structure of a SAT Essay

A SAT essay usually consists of three parts as for any other essay:

  • An introduction. This part is especially important because it produces the first and essential impression. Point out particular techniques used by the author. A thesis statement is a significant part of your essay. In it, you should write concisely the author’s argument and what techniques are used to prove it. The most important thing that you should show is that you understand the way the author persuades the reader. In the thesis, it’s necessary to specify the author’s argument and which of its aspects will be analyzed further in your essay.
  • The body. In a SAT essay, the body should include examples that prove your point and explanations of those examples. You should take particular examples of the techniques the author uses in the passage that will support your point. It’ll be enough to show that the example corresponds to your thesis. Don’t paraphrase the passage or write your agreement or disagreement with the argument in the passage. In every paragraph with an example, you should explain how it presents an argument technique and why it is persuasive to the audience.
  • The conclusion. In this part of your SAT essay, you should reformulate the thesis statement. Briefly write about the examples and how they back up your thesis. Normally your SAT essay should consist of five paragraphs (the introduction, 2 or 3 paragraphs of the body for every argumentative technique and the conclusion). Don’t omit your thesis statement (you should write it in the introduction and the conclusion, but formulate it in some other words).

The correct and logical structure of a SAT essay is essential to get a high grade. The structure of this assignment should serve the purpose of disclosing and analyzing the effectiveness of the author’s arguments and the effect they produce upon the reader.

Paragraphs should be logically connected with the help of transitional words and phrases, and there should be a logical transition between all the paragraphs of your SAT essay. Argumentation should be clear and easy to comprehend.

To point out the devices of the author’s argumentation and to identify the techniques of persuasion will be your fundamental goal. Doing that, you should explain what techniques or devices the author uses to convince the reader why the author uses them, what impact it has upon the reader.

One of the most important rules that you should adhere to is to be consistent while writing your SAT essay.

The structure of the introduction of a SAT essay

To write a successful SAT essay, you should know how to write the introductory part. Below you will find a detailed instruction on how to do it.

In the first sentence of your essay, you identify the passage you’ve read. To show that you’ve understood it, you should write the author’s name, other information concerning the source (for example, the date and the time of publishing), and, in some words, describe the content of the passage.

In the second sentence, you will write about the writer’s goals and views. If you summarize here the most important points of the source passage, you should write them in the order in what they were mentioned there.

In the third sentence, you should write about t author’s argument. Write about its structure and if it is well-constructed and clear. In this sentence, you should pay attention to the author’s writing skill and not the fact whether you like the author’s arguments or not, whether you consider them accurate or not.

In the fourth sentence, you should prove your previous opinion about the writer’s arguments.

In the fifth sentence, you should briefly write what you’ll cover in the central part of your essay (the body). This sentence is optional, but it’s recommended to write it. It will be a transition between the introduction and the body of your SAT essay. This sentence will be a prologue for the complete analysis that you will do in the central part of your essay.

The structure of the body of a SAT essay

If you follow a specific structure for each paragraph that will make writing easier:

  • start it with a linking sentence (a mini-thesis);
  • write an abstract reason;
  • give an example,
  • explain why the example proves your opinion (write the analysis).

The structure of the conclusion of a SAT essay

  • Reformulate your thesis statement. Write your idea differently, not just altering a word or two.
  • Write a broad concluding sentence that will give your readers enough room to think. These are the guidelines that will help you to write a SAT essay. Of course, it’s possible to make changes where it is necessary.

Essential Tips on How to Write a High-Grade SAT Essay

It might be very important for you to write an excellent SAT essay. In this part of the article, you will find hints on how to write a splendid SAT essay. You should remember that in most cases, your time will be limited to 50 minutes.

Writing an impressive SAT essay will consist of the following significant stages:

  1. Read through the passage (up to 10 minutes). Try to be as attentive and focused as possible. You will probably read several passages all over again to understand them thoroughly. Pay special attention to argument-building techniques. For example, an author uses many statistics or facts, or maybe the author tries to stir emotions. An author can use such techniques as evidence (facts, statistics, anecdotes), reasoning (counterarguments, counterclaims, explanation of evidence), stylistic or persuasive elements (vivid language, direct addresses, and appeals to the reader).
  2. Write an essay outline (up to 10 minutes). Planning may help you to write a better SAT essay even though some students believe that they won’t have sufficient time for that.
  3. Write your essay (up to 30 minutes).
  4. Revise (up to 5 minutes).

Below you will find several essential tips on how to write an impeccable SAT essay:

  • If you want your essay to be perfect, you should pay special attention to the language it is written. Use precise and clear language in your SAT essay.
  • In your SAT essay, you will have to show your deep and thorough understanding of the text. The examples from the text will have to appropriately suit the logic of the paragraph and be written in a concise and comprehensive language.
  • Stay consistent in your clear and logical argumentation. Correct mistakes if you’ve accidentally made any.
  • Vary the sentence structure, use appropriate words.
  • Don’t write your opinion, and it’s not needed in case you write a SAT essay.
  • The length of the essay is up to you, but there is statistical data that shorter essays (around 100 words) receive lower grades while longer essays (around 400 words) receive higher grades.

Ten Topics for Your SAT Essay

  1. Write an essay in which you explain how Barack Obama builds a logical argument to persuade his audience that unity is necessary.
  2. Write an essay in which Eleanor Roosevelt builds an argument to persuade her audience that human rights have to be implemented.
  3. Write an essay where you reveal how Martin Luther King builds an argument to persuade his audience that injustice should give way to democracy.
  4. Write an essay in which you explain how Carrie Chapman builds an argument to persuade her audience that woman suffrage is inescapable.
  5. Write an essay in which you explain how G.K. Chesterton builds an argument to persuade his audience that divorce is a superstition.
  6. Write an essay in which you explain how Russel Conwell builds an argument to persuade his audience that a person who wants to succeed should start small where he/she is.
  7. Write an essay where you reveal how Robert Kennedy builds his strong argument to convince his audience that it’s necessary and possible to change the world.
  8. Write an essay in which you explain how Lyndon Johnson builds an argument to persuade his audience that it’s necessary to understand and respect one another.
  9. Write an essay in which you explain how Jessica Lynch builds an argument to persuade her audience that people can determine their heroes themselves without being told elaborate lies.
  10. Write an essay in which you explain how Shirley Chisholm builds her argument to persuade her audience that black women can contribute to humanity.

A Typical Example of a SAT Essay

Write an essay where you reveal how Martin Luther King builds his well-thought argument to persuade his audience that black people have to unite their efforts in a peaceful manifestation of their rights.

In his speech to black people, Martin Luther King offers a simple yet effective method of fighting for their inalienable rights and freedoms with dignity. He assumes that nonviolent movement, together with economic withdrawal, is a powerful method to defend unalienable rights. To support his argument Martin Luther King uses facts, explanations of evidence, and vivid language. 

Showing black people, the inevitability of protecting their freedom, Martin Luther King praises the benefits of nonviolent methods of the fight. The author states that being rather poor as individuals, black people possess economic power when united. “…The American Negro Collectivity is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year… That’s power right there”. The author brings up interesting facts and uses comparison to prove that together black people are powerful economically and can use this power to improve their situation. His conclusion is inspiring and stimulates the audience to take possible steps.

To support the advantages of the nonviolent movement, the author uses the explanation of evidence to persuade black people to use peaceful methods and behave with dignity without public nuisance. “It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence…it’s nonviolence or nonexistence… We aren’t engaged in any negative protest and any negative arguments with anybody… We are determined to be people… We are saying that we are God’s children… and we don’t have to live like we are forced to live”. This technique persuades the audience to behave decently and with dignity, protect their rights.

To support his audience on the way to unity and freedom, the author inspires them using vivid and expressive language. “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land… I want you to know tonight that we, as people, will get to the promised land!” Bright metaphors and expressive syntactic structures paint vivid pictures in the mind of the audience and inspire them in difficult times to be strong and united and strive for dignity and diligence. 

In conclusion, the passage successfully conveys the message that Martin Luther King addressed to black people in difficult times. Facts from real life, explanation of the evidence, and the use of vivid language and expressive syntactic means inspire the audience to stay strong, preserve diligence, fight for their rights with dignity.

A successful SAT essay might be an added advantage for you if you choose to write it. It will show that you read with comprehension, understand the persuasive techniques authors use to support their arguments. It superbly demonstrates a student’s writing skills. This assignment also shows whether you can prove your point and appropriately illustrate it with relevant examples. Hopefully, this article will help you to write an effective SAT essay, and if you follow its tips, you might get a high grade.

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