SAT Essay Exam – No Big Deal

By admin  

SAT essay - piece of cake

Students – writing an SAT Essay is not that hard. Sit down; take a deep breath and let’s put the SAT Essay into perspective. Your parents are all in a tizzy about the SAT Essay because back when they took the Verbal section of the SAT exam, there was no Essay. It was all “multiple choice.” To most of them, the prospect of writing an essay is terrifying. They need to chill out. Writing the SAT Essay isn’t such a big deal. Here’s an explanation and some strategies:

A)  70% of the Writing Section of the SAT still consists of multiple-choice questions; the SAT Essay counts for only 30% of your score on the Writing Section.

B)   In 25 minutes, no one reasonably can expect you to write a masterpiece.

C)   The College Board has stated for the record that the two people grading your essay have only three minutes to determine your score.

D)  Each grader assigns your SAT Essay a score between 1 and 6. Those scores are combined for a maximum grade of 12. Each SAT Essay point counts for 2.5% of your overall Writing Section score. Many self-appointed “experts” imply that it’s critical to score a 12 on your SAT Essay. Hogwash! A 10 is enough to do well on the Writing Section. This relieves a bit of the pressure of taking the SAT Essay exam. You want to earn at least 5s from the graders. How can this be done?

E)   In the scant three minutes graders have to evaluate your SAT Essay, they try to determine if you understood the theme contained in the question; if your answer to the question related to that theme, and if the statements supporting your answer seemed plausible and relevant. It is my contention that the key to receiving a combined score of 10 is to write an essay that the graders can read easily. Let the ColorCode Essay Writing System guide you. It prompts you to  answer the question in the first sentence and then present reasons supporting that answer in a systematic manner. Following this format makes your essay seem logical and persuasive. Only in the final 30 seconds do graders evaluate the quality of your statements. Suppose your SAT Essay is rather bland, supporting your answer with statements lacking specific detail, and providing no special insight. Probably it wouldn’t merit a score of 6 from each grader. However, after wading through disorganized essays full of muddled reasoning, the graders will welcome the clarity with which you presented your ideas and each should reward your essay with a score of 5.

Rodney Daut’s e-book The SAT Essay Formula provides more information about how to write a successful SAT Essay than you’d ever want to know. It can be downloaded from his website http://www.sat-essay.net. Having purchased and read his 87-page book, I found the last 17 pages most instructive. Titled “SAT Scoring Policies of the top 374 Schools,” they revealed that only 1 college (Loyola) gives the SAT Writing Section “more weight” than the Math or the Critical Thinking sections. Only 54 schools give the Writing Section “equal weight”. All the rest give it “less weight,” “no weight,” or else were “undecided.” Moral of the story: most colleges have limited expectations about the value of a 25 minute SAT Essay as an indicator of a student’s true academic potential.


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