The SAT is now optional. You can choose not to take it. However, before you make that decision, you should find out the requirements for the schools and programs you hope to enter. Many schools require an SAT essay score. Here is what you need to know about how the SAT essay score works.
The SAT score is not included in your composite score. It is a separate score that has no bearing on the composite. The essay is read by two graders. Each grader scores three dimensions of the essay from 1-4. The scores are then added, so each dimension ultimately receives a score from 2-8.
The first dimension is Reading. The graders will determine whether or not you understood the text correctly. A grade of 4 will be awarded if you demonstrated that you fully understood the text, used accurate examples from the text to make your points and demonstrated how details interrelate. A score of 1 means you did not demonstrate any comprehension of the given passage.
The second dimension is Analysis. A score of 4 requires an insightful analysis, relevant support and thoughtful examination of the conventions used in the text. An essay that resembles a summary more than analysis will receive a score or 1.
The final dimension is Writing. An essay with a score of 4 will be almost entirely free of grammatical errors, state a clear central claim and demonstrate cohesive writing throughout. A 1 will be given when an essay includes severe grammatical errors, poor sentence structure and lack of organization.
You will not be required to have any prior knowledge of the topic or incorporate your own experience to complete the essay. All of the essay prompts are the same, using different passages. The prompts require that you analyze the argument the author is making and how the author supports the argument with evidence, style, and reasoning. The CollegeBoard offers sample essay prompts and passages to use for practice.
Practice for Improvement
The best way to achieve your ideal score is to practice. Developing the skills required for analysis and writing take time and repetition. Ask friends, family or even a tutor to read through your practice essays so that you can gain a full understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
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