The SAT now has an optional essay. While many colleges don’t require the essay, it is still an excellent way to demonstrate that you are ready for college level writing. The essay does not ask for an opinion or an argument about the passage presented, it requires an analysis. You must present an organized essay that demonstrates that you understood the passage and recognize techniques that the author used to make their arguments.
Your essay must be organized. It should start with an introduction that lays out the elements or techniques you recognized in the passage. Then a body follows with a more in depth look at what the techniques are and how the author used them to make their point. A conclusion should wrap up the body and reiterate the techniques you identified.
The body of your essay needs to have examples. You need to support each technique that you cited with examples from the passage. Make sure that if you are quoting the author directly, you properly use quotation marks. Alternatively, you can paraphrase. When you paraphrase, it should be clear that the example you are using comes from the passage.
Well Crafted Sentences
Your grammar and spelling should be impeccable. Not only should your grammar be excellent, but your sentences should be well crafted. You don’t want to meander, use verbs that don’t agree, or make statements that are unclear. All of your phrases should be concise and to the point. You can learn to craft well formed sentences through practice.
The essay will have the same prompt every time. You can look at the prompt on the College Board website. Understanding this prompt before you take the test will help you know exactly what graders are looking for on the SAT. You can also use the two essay questions on the College Board website to write practice essays. Once you have a written a practice essay, revise it yourself. Then, have a parent, friend, or teacher revise it so that they can catch grammar, spelling, or organizational mistakes. You can write and rewrite using the same example passage. The best way to craft an excellent essay is to practice.