The SAT Essay section is optional, but some schools require it—be sure to check your prospective schools’ application instructions. The team here at Test Innovators wants to ensure you are fully prepared for all parts of the test, including the Essay section.
The SAT Essay section includes one passage and a standard writing prompt. The first part of the prompt is as follows:
Following the first part of the prompt is a passage. After the passage comes the second part of the prompt, which is as follows:
The prompt will be almost identical to the one above, but the reading passage will be different for every test.
For the Essay section, you will receive three scores in the following areas. Scores for each area range from 2-8. There is not an overall or composite score.
Reading: how well you understood the passage and incorporated textual evidence into your essay
Analysis: how well you understood the author’s position by explaining how they used evidence, reasoning, or other persuasive techniques
Writing: how well your essay is organized, your use of tone and style, and how well you followed the conventions of standard English
It’s important to take a few minutes to plan your essay before writing. Take the first 3-5 minutes to read and reread the prompt and to jot down some ideas. A good essay is an organized essay. The next step is to write! Make sure you leave 3-5 minutes at the end to read over your essay and make any necessary revisions.
Here’s a general guideline:
3-5 minutes: read the prompt and make a plan
40-44 minutes: write
3-5 minutes: reread your essay and make revisions