How to Write an SAT Essay


Strong organizational skills and a logical explanation of your arguments will help you get a good score on an SAT essay. You only have 25 minutes and a 45-line answer sheet, so you must quickly and concisely create a compelling introduction, supportive body and memorable conclusion. You can't use additional paper for your essay, so avoid rambling and focus on facts, examples and experiences to back your viewpoints. You must use a pencil for your essay.

Create Structure

  • Follow the basic format of writing an introduction, body and conclusion -- structure is important. Present your point of view, argument or thesis in the introduction, so SAT graders can quickly identify where you're headed with your essay. Don't overthink or second-guess your arguments and ideas. As long as you logically support your thesis and your writing is grammatically correct, you won't lose points for your specific angle on the topic, according to Bloomberg Business.

Support Your Viewpoints

  • Include specific examples from literature, history, science or pop culture to support your arguments. For example, if the essay prompt is about the moral obligation to help others who are less fortunate, write about the historical benefits of social welfare programs, such as the New Deal, or discuss themes of self-sacrifice from "The Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Or, if the essay topic is about whether literature has the power to change people's lives, list examples, such as "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriett Beecher Stowe, "1984" by George Orwell and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee to show how they instigated social change and brought about an awareness of civil injustices, social inequality, prejudice and corruption. Use a variety of diverse examples -- closely related to your topic -- to showcase your creativity and broad spectrum of knowledge.

Use Advanced Vocabulary Words

  • Incorporate advanced vocabulary words into your essay, suggests The Princeton Review. Ensure that you use the words correctly within the context of your paragraphs and choose words that fit smoothly within the structure of your sentences. It is better not to use a big word than to misuse one. For example, if you're discussing the importance of teamwork to increase productivity and efficiency at school or in the workplace, you might use words, such as "synergy," "partisanship" or "fraternization" in your essay.

Don't Overlook Technical Details

  • Double-check your finished essay to ensure it's grammatically correct, free of spelling and punctuation errors and easy to read. Don't confuse any singular, plural or possessive words, ensure that your nouns and verbs agree and avoid double negatives. Erase and rewrite any words that are sloppy or unreadable -- legible handwriting is a must. Indent your paragraphs, avoid wide margins and use words that aren't too big or too small; they should neatly fit within the answer sheet lines. Simple grammatical, spelling and word-choice errors will lower your score.


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