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SAT Essay Tips Share Space

Our users share their favorite tips for writing a successful SAT Essay!

Important note!

The SAT Essay is currently only being administered in a few states as part of a graduation requirement.
Before you spend time practicing the SAT Essay, make sure you're actually going to have to write one.
Read this article for more info.

Welcome, learners!

This space has been created as a forum for sharing your favorite tips and strategies for the SAT Essay.
This area is for SAT Essay tips, but there are share spaces for the other sections of the SAT, too:
Please use the comments feature below!

Happy sharing!

Want to join the conversation?

  • leaf blue style avatar for user Adwit Ponting Lamichhane
    Can someone give me a clear structure for SAT essay? Like, how we should start, what type words is worth using in the body paragraphs, and how to conclude? I mean a perfect structure for writing.
    (27 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Inais Black
      I'm not sure about how American essay writing differs from Australian, but in my experience you should always approach an essay as such:

      1. Read whatever you need to, then read the question you will be answering.
      2. Figure out what you will be saying in response to the question (underlining/highlighting words in the question may help you here, otherwise just reword the question to suit your needs)
      3. Plan your body paragraphs:
      - Begin with the point or argument of the paragraph
      - Wisely choose words, quotes or ideas from the reading. These will become your evidence of the reason your argument/point is valid
      - Begin to write why these words, quotes or ideas back up your argument/point. It's also important to note that you may be asked for reader positioning, so include this here.
      4. Write your topic sentences for each body paragraph. Each topic sentence should be an argument, not a statement of fact: i.e. 'Quinn returns to the town' should be something like 'Quinn returns to the town because he is called by a greater force to enact God's justice'
      4. Write your introduction: it should be in the following structure:
      - Background - 1 or 2 sentences which give background to your essay
      - Response - your answer to the question
      - Points - what three points you will be covering
      5. Write the body paragraphs
      6. Write your conclusion - it should be the opposite (generally) of the introduction:
      - Points - sum up your three points/arguments
      - Response - restate your response to the question
      - Extrapolation - draw on another text/real world events/anything but a personal story and to which people can easily understand to bring the question into the wider focus.

      As I said, this is just what I've been taught in Australia. I don't know how this will apply to the SAT Essay, seeing as I haven't written one before, but that structure should put you in good stead no matter what type of essay you're writing (generally - if you're doing an opinionated piece in which you can use your own reflections, you replace the 'why' part of the body paragraphs with your own response to the text and why you reacted this way) :)
      (73 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Priontu Chowdhury
    Is there any way to get my essays checked through Khan Academy? I'm not able to afford any courses for preparations so I am solely depending on Khan Academy for help. Is there any possible way to get my essays checked through here?
    (43 votes)
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    • primosaur tree style avatar for user Shou Toushiro
      You can see the parameters of scoring the essay in Khan Academy and then do it yourself . I dont think the essay should worry you too much . Just see that there are evidences , references to the passage , an introduction and conclusion , a brief mention of the audience , the credibility of the speaker and the literary devices used by him/her.

      Remember SOAP - Speaker , Occasion , Audience , Purpose
      (12 votes)
  • leaf green style avatar for user Vivian Yuen
    How do you suggest formatting our essay: chronologically or grouping each rhetorical/persuasive element in its own paragraph?
    (19 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user user101
    What do they mean by "analyze"? I get that it means talking about HOW the author made the argument, but how exactly do you do that? Like do you just say "this data strengthens the argument by providing more evidence as to why the argument is valid?" But that's only 1 sentence. What else are we supposed to write?

    Thanks in advance!
    (7 votes)
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  • aqualine seed style avatar for user dhe
    I've on my 40th revision of the Jimmy Carter essay and I can't get my analysis up to a four (the other two have been fine for the past thirty or so drafts). Any advice? Could this just be a quirk of the revision assistant thing or does it mean for sure that I'm missing something?
    (9 votes)
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    • leafers tree style avatar for user Grace Hutchins
      I have a hard time with this too. What I find that helps is as you read you look for the things they ask you to point out: evidence, reasoning, and stylistic or persuasive elements. As you read each paragraph, analyze what he or she uses in that paragraph and write it down next to the paragraph. It'll help you keep track of what they are using. I hope this helps!
      (6 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user selinak
    To get a 24 on the essay, how long was your essay?

    Can SAT essays have 4 paragraphs, with two deeply fleshed out areas of focus (with multiple pieces of evidence) instead of three? How much evidence is needed per paragraph (one quote, or many different quotes pertaining to different ideas)?

    Approximately what is the maximum and minimum length of each paragraph (I understand that the intro and conclusion can be only 1-2 sentences but what about the rest)?
    (8 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Pranav Avva
      In my humble opinion, the SAT essay can have as many (or as few) paragraphs, so long as analyze the author's argument thoroughly. However, neither one massive paragraph nor dozens of small, 2-sentence long paragraphs would score very well. I personally write 4 paragraphs, one introduction, one paragraph each for the two strongest ways the author crafts his argument, and one conclusion. I only write 4 because I like to spend a little more time on the pre-writing of my essay, but if you feel like you can write faster, then by all means, go ahead and do 5. On the flip side, if you would rather focus on one main area of focus, you can have 3 paragraphs as well.
      Hope this helped!
      (6 votes)
  • leafers tree style avatar for user ApplePieGiraffe
    So when we're editing and refining our paper (say at the end of the writing process when we may only have 2-3 minutes left), are we allowed to make informal proofreading corrections (such as crossing out words or adding new words above sentences with an arrow pointing to where they should go, etc.) throughout our essay?
    Does the College Board want a neat, refined essay with no cross-outs or markings?
    Or is it okay with us making informal corrections like that as long as our intention is clear and there are no formatting mistakes?
    I'd like to hear some expert opinion on this, please--not any speculation or guessing. :)
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user maerowley2
    I haven't taken the essay section before or been given guidance as how to write/structure it. Any basic tips for what should and shouldn't be included in the article, as well?
    (4 votes)
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    • leafers seed style avatar for user Moira Rye
      Want a quick crash course? DON'T summarize, Do analyze. DON'T include your opinion, DO include statements supported by your article. DON'T freak out, DO read the articles on Khan Academy. I also found PrepScholar's stuff quite valuable (both for SAT essay writing and beyond!)
      ;) hope this helps!
      (5 votes)
  • starky sapling style avatar for user Audrey Lee
    How much writing space does the test provide?
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user KUNAL OSTWAL
    How can I save and make best use of my time in SAT Essay Section?
    (5 votes)
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