3 Tips for Writing the SAT Essay

A guest post by Veritas Prep:

SAT Essay

Want to know the secret to writing an essay for the SAT?

In the case of the SAT essay, success is in the details. Specific details in an essay support a thesis statement like experimental evidence proves scientific theory. The more substantive detail you include in your writing, the more you support your argument. Here are some tips for how to generate and organize those details into a perfect scoring essay.

Make your introduction and conclusion paragraphs short and to the point.

The body paragraphs are what earn points because they contain the details and the support. You only have 25 minutes to write this essay, so allot the majority of time for the point earning paragraphs. A great introduction can be written in just three sentences. Start with your thesis statement and take a stance. Next, elaborate on that point a little bit to add support to the stance you chose. Lastly, state the examples you are going to use to prove your point. Now, you have used only a fraction of your allotted time and you are ready to move on to the heart of your essay.

Know the details.

Many students are intimidated by the body portion of the essay. Our response to this is, know your topics and know the details before entering the room on test day.  Many SAT essay prompts are general and can be argued with a wide range of topics– historical events, people, books, movies, and current events. When you are tempted to procrastinate doing your homework by browsing Facebook and looking at Twitter, why not do some “Wikipedia browsing” instead? Refresh your memory on the details of old books you have read and historical figures you have studied. You can start a journal and write these details down.  Jot down character names, plot points, and important events. Soon you will have a collection of topics to pull from and you will be ready for any prompt the SAT throws at you.

Use the details.

Once you have the salient details at your fingertips, make sure to use them in your body paragraphs. You need specific facts to back up your statement and not wishy-washy conjecture. If you are writing about social pressure and body image, for example, don’t simply state, “Societal pressure creates a desire to be thin”. Rather, write about the specific conditions or circumstances that bring about this pressure – ultra-thin celebrities on magazine covers, foods such as “Skinny Cow ice cream” and an abundance of dieting ads. Add on those details to support your argument.

Don’t be stingy.  Details buy you points, so use them.

Plan on taking the SAT soon? Veritas Prep runs a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. Register here!

Bobby Touran is the founder and CEO of ApplyKit. ApplyKit helps students manage their entire college application process and also provides key resources to help them excel every step of the way.

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  • http://academic-writing.org/ Thomas

    “Many students are intimidated by the body portion of the essay.” – That’s true! Agree. Visit and read: http://academic-writing.org/blog/20-history-of-education/history-of-writing

  • Stella Aldrin

    Thanks for the excellent ideas, your post will be helpful for students.
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