The essay writing portion of the SAT can be nerve-wracking. Add the pressure of writing to the SAT essay time limit and you've got a recipe for high-tension pressure to perform. This pressure makes freeze up and lose precious time second-guessing themselves.
Fortunately, good SAT essay preparation can help you overcome anxiety and perform well. Half of this is because you have good tools to work with—the other half comes from the confidence of knowing you're well-prepared!
There are several articles available online that can help students come up with a strategy for writing the essay. Once you have a strategy, those twenty-five minutes suddenly don't seem so brief.
Here are three articles that can be particularly helpful as you prepare for this portion of the SAT.
This blog contains twelve pithy tips to help you prepare for the SAT essay writing portion. These tips do include information about the content of the essay itself. For example, the author reminds students that they do have to use examples that will support the thesis statement. But this blog also contains a great deal of helpful strategy tips, such as "read the prompt and ignore the quote" and "pick examples ahead of time."
This blog can help you get a good overall grasp on the essay section of the test, by helping you understand what creates a good essay in a short amount of time. In addition, the author includes recommended examples in literature, science, history, and current events that students can brush up on and plan to use in their essays.
This article, which appeared in BusinessWeek, is a collection of brief but well-articulated tips for writing a winning essay. Rather than focus on content, the author gives you the means to put together a well thought out essay in less than half an hour.
She begins by suggesting that students take a few moments to put together an outline for the essay. This helps students to focus their thoughts and their examples and keeps students from wandering off the main path of their essay as they are writing.
This author also reminds writers to get specific, since the essay prompts themselves are very generic. As long as the examples support your thesis, and as long as they aren't too personal in nature, specific examples work well and will knit together to create a stronger, more compelling essay.
This article, which originally appeared in the Washington Post, promises what its title delivers—six brief and easy steps to creating a good essay. Like the two articles above, this one is heavy on strategy. It also advises organizing thoughts—but not so much that you'll over-think the essay writing process. Too much can lead to the anxiety that produces writer's block!
But this article also offers a different perspective. Author Jay Mathews recommends short, clear sentences, simple vocabulary, and writing with a personal spin.
By writing something that is clear and authentic, Mathews says, you will more easily stand out from the pack. However, just how personal and simple the student gets will depend on how comfortable the student feels with this strategy.
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