How to ace the SAT essay!

It’s prime test-taking season for kids hoping to go to college next year. And while it may seem scary, the essay is one of the easiest areas to ace. As a parent, you can help by giving your child some guidance. Here are some tips to review with your child to make the essay an asset to his/her overall score:

Become intimately acquainted with the persuasive essay– Although the SAT directions do not specifically state the type of essay to write, the persuasive format is the one to follow. You are convincing your reader that your point of view is the most valid one.

Answer the question-If you don’t answer the actual question, you have no chance of receiving a decent score. SAT essay exams usually introduce a quote or anecdote followed by a question that asks you to take a position on a situation. Be sure to answer only this particular question and avoid going off on another tangent.

Be aware of time limits-You have 25 minutes to write your essay so take a few minutes to brainstorm and organize ideas before you start writing. This time will help you to stay focused and organized throughout the writing of your essay.

Choose solid/specific examples-It does not matter if the example comes from historical events, the literary canon, or a situation you faced last week. If the example addresses the question perfectly, use it. Using illustrations from history or literature will be better received, however, if the example is not tied in with the question, you’re better off using an example from everyday life.

Address the Opposition-Besides backing up your own point of view, introduce the strongest argument from the opposing viewpoint. Use another example to show how this position is flawed.

Introduce artfully and conclude definitively-Provide an introduction that includes a thesis. Follow that up with three supporting paragraphs that back up the thesis.

Revise and Edit-If you have any extra time, read over your essay and see if it is logical and organized. Correct any mechanical errors. Don’t panic if you have no time for this. The readers realize that you have limited time.

Practice, Practice, Practice-Pull sample prompts from the Internet and write away. Look up some sample essays with scores so that you have a way of gauging yourself. The more essays you write, the better you’ll do on the actual test.

Back to Basics helps students prepare for the SAT by offering a free Practice SAT twice a year and providing 1-on-1 SAT preparation.
If you need additional tutoring prior to taking the SAT, please call us at 302-594-0754 and ask for Angie. Our students have increased their scores from 100 to 450 points!

For 27 years, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics Inc. has been recognized as the undisputed leader in one-on-one tutoring in Delaware. In addition, the company offers a unique Department of Education-approved Private School for grades K-12 and a Private Business and Trade School for ages 16 and older. Back to Basics is the 2010 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

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