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Approaches to the SAT Essay

 

In the essay portion of the SAT, you will be given a prompt that involves an issue of social, cultural or moral importance. The goal of your essay should be to state your position clearly and to defend it as fully as possible with examples drawn from any field- history, culture or personal experience.

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The best way to organize the essay is to divide it into 4 or 5 paragraphs. The first paragraph should serve as an introduction in which you explain the issue that the prompt deals with and your perspective on it. Most importantly, this paragraph should contain a thesis in which you explicitly give your point of view on the question posed. The thesis is the main idea of your essay and it is the sentence that the rest of the essay should revolve around. One way of ensuring that your essay remains focused and well-reasoned is to allow the thesis to anchor your writing- never forget that everything you write should contribute toward proving the thesis. This approach will prevent digressions that distract you from the task.

Each of the next three paragraphs should contain one major example that you will use to illustrate your position. As a model, you should state the example in the topic sentence (first sentence) of the paragraph and then explain how it exemplifies your thesis. Your final paragraph should be a conclusion in which you briefly restate your thesis and summarize your major details. Paraphrasing is the best approach here in order to vary your vocabulary and sentence structure.

A common difficulty that students encounter on the writing section is time management. The best way to deal with this issue is to divide the writing process into three phrases. Use the first 5 minutes to formulate your point of view and brainstorm the examples you will use to support it. Use the next 15-20 minutes to write the actual essay. Although this seems like an extremely short amount of time in which to write the essay, using your planning time effectively and following the organization model described above allows the essay to almost write itself. Be sure to leave a few minutes to proofread your essay in order to catch any spelling and grammar mistakes.

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