The essay section of the SAT is a recent addition to the test—and as a result, many parents and students aren’t sure what to expect. Today, I’m going to share six steps that will help you as you prepare for the test—and as you write your essay on test day.
1) Relax and understand that the essay section is only worth 10% of your total score. Of course, 10% isn’t insignificant—but many students spend more time and energy worrying about the essay than they do about the rest of the test. Keep the essay in perspective!
2) Don’t aim for perfection. The SAT graders understand that you are hand-writing your essay, and that you have a very limited time to do so. They aren’t expecting a flawless, finely polished document. Concentrate on communicating your ideas and don’t worry about getting every single detail right.
3) Read the essay prompt more than once. It’s not uncommon for a student to misread an essay prompt, and, as a result, write their entire essay on the wrong premise. Take your time reading the prompt, and re-read it at least once just to be sure.
4) Be concise. Quantity does not equal quality—at least not on the SAT. Concentrate on the quality of your ideas and make your points as concisely as possible. 4-5 well thought-out paragraphs is usually plenty!
5) Start with an outline. Don’t just dive right in—take a few moments before you start writing to sketch out a brief outline. This will ensure that you have enough information to support your thesis, and will also help you to budget your time.
6) Remember to proofread. Budget a few moments at the end of the essay section to proofread your work. As discussed above, minor mistakes are not going to hurt you much—but any obvious misspellings or grammatical errors should be corrected. It’s important to take at least one practice test so that you know how much time you’ll need to proofread.
The SAT Essay section is intimidating for many students—but it doesn’t have to be. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more!