SAT Test Preparation: How to Write a Better SAT Essay
The essay portion of the SAT exam presents a question in a single sentence prompt. Your task according to the instructions is to do the following: 1) Develop a point of view in response to the question and 2) Support the position with the use of examples. These examples can be from your reading, studies, experiences, and observations. In other words, they can come from anywhere.
Now that you know about the type of question that will be asked on the essay portion of the SAT, how can you improve your essay? This article will show you how.
Tip #1: Come up with supporting examples
The first thing you’ll want to do as you prepare for writing your essay is to come up with a list of supporting examples. These examples can come from reading, study, experience, and observations. Everyone can draw on their studies, experiences, and observations to come up with examples to support their argument. Here are a few specific ways to come up with examples:
1. Use your area of expertise: The first question to ask is this: what’s your area of expertise? Drawing from what you know well and love to do is a great way to come up with supporting examples. If you are an expert swimmer, draw from your knowledge of swimming. If music is your thing, you can find supporting examples from music. Whatever you know the most about, you can draw from your knowledge to come up with supporting ideas.
2. Consider the books you’ve read: These books can be ones you’ve read for class or books you’ve read for fun. Either way, identify the major themes in the books and consider how you can use them to support your argument.
3. Think of your favorite subject: What’s your favorite subject in school? Biology? Chemistry? Math? Whatever it is, there’s a good chance you’ve been paying attention in class since it’s your favorite subject. Use whatever you’ve learned to come up with supporting evidence.
4. Papers you’ve written: Have you written any papers recently? If you’ve written about global warming, then you’re an expert on global warming. Use that to your advantage by using your in-depth research on a topic to come up with examples.
5. Use your experiences: Experiences you’ve had are another great way to come up with ideas. Consider you’re favorite activities, trips you’ve taken, memorable events in your life, and other things like clubs, sports, and extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in. Any of these types of life experiences provide excellent material to support an argument.
6. Pay attention to observations: Observations you have are another great source for material. These observations include your beliefs, conversations you’ve had, events you’ve witnessed, and patterns or trends you’ve observed. Pay attention to these observations and see if there is something from your personal experience that you can use in your essay.
Tip #2: Make the essay personal
The most important thing you can do when writing your essay for the SAT exam is to take the essay topic and make it personal. As you’re writing, make a personal argument and give it your own spin. Instead of writing an answer you think the grader is looking for, argue for the point that you think is right. Making the essay personal by giving it your own spin and offering your take on the topic will improve your writing and produce a final draft that best reflects your writing abilities.
Tip #3: Use very specific examples
Remember, as you write your essay, you’re arguing a point. If you were to argue with a friend, you wouldn’t use generalities. Instead, you’d use specific examples to back up your claim. You would say things like, “One time I had this experience and it helps to prove my point. Or else you might say, “Consider the experience of the character in this book I recently read. The experience will prove my point.” Always remember that the examples you use need to be very specific because that’s the best way to support your claim and prove your point.
No matter what kind of question is asked, you need to have the confidence that you’ll always have something to say. As long as you follow the three tips from above, you can have this confidence because you’ll know the following: 1) How to come up with supporting evidence 2) How important it is to make the essay a personal argument offering your perspective on the question and 3) How important it is to use very specific examples.
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