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Tips for Writing Killer SAT Essays

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The Sat and ACT essays cause some concern among students, and some colleges have not decided how exactly they will use the scores.

While the ACT has always included the option of writing an essay, the SAT Essay became optional with the introduction of the new test: 2017. Different essay requirements and formats for both the ACT and the SAT.

The essay readers want to see that you can write the equivalent of a rough draft in a classroom environment, much like colleges will require.


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Tips and Strategies for the SATs



A cautionary note: If you plan to hire someone to write your Pulitzer Prize-winning college applications essays, beware...

The college application readers will now have access to the scores of your SAT and ACT essays, and your high school English grades, as well as your application essays. While there can be some variance, and no one expects your SAT essay to be a polished piece of writing, those three examples of your writing should match up to a reasonable extent in terms of your ability to construct sentences, your use of English grammar, organizational skills, and ability to think logically.

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SAT and ACT Essays Topics

SAT Exam Prompts From Past Tests - ALL NEW ESSAY REQUIREMENT

The new SAT Exam  has a NEW  essay requirement. You will need to study these, study the sample responses, and practice writing essays from study guide questions, or from the websites of the ACT or the College Board.

Write an essay explaining your opinions on the given topic paying attention to the requirements for writing an analytical essay.




To write good five-paragraph essays, in class or out, keep a template in your mind of how to structure the essay, and you will have a head start on the competition.

In the SAT essay assignments, you would want eight to ten minutes to plan before you begin to write.

Pre-practice is essential.

If you enroll in a test-prep class, other than the long-time reliable and successful Kaplan or Princeton Test Prep classes, be sure you are receiving adequate feed-back on the essays you write.


There is no regulation of the test prep industry, and yo have only the word of the company about their success rates.


Remember: READ THE PROMPT AT LEAST TWO TIMES, AND REFER TO IT WHILE WRITING. Write legibly. Stick to the topic. Provide an introduction, three examples, with reflection, a conclusion. Finish on time.



AH, yes, but what goes where, you ask?

Most essay assignments ask you to take a position, so when you look at the question, decide if you want to agree, disagree, or allow for conflicting opinions.

So, for instance, Global Warming. You would decide if you agree with the prompt, disagree, or want to explore both sides. Personally? I would skip exploring both sides, it is not necessary, and is more difficult, especially when you have little time.


Practice this format each time you take a regular SAT test during your SAT preparation. It will lead you to the completion of a five-paragraph essay in the time allowed.

I. Introduction

  • For the introduction, decide whether you agree, disagree, or are not sure what you believe about the question.
  • Avoid using personal pronouns, and state your position.
  • Then, state the opposing position to get it out of the way. Try to avoid writing an essay comparing two views, it is too difficult to pull off in twenty-five minutes.
  • Go back to your original statement, which is now your thesis, and re-state it

II. Example number one:

  • Topic sentence for the paragraph.
  • >Three-Five sentences, with a topic sentence, explaining your example supporting your thesis statement.
  • Two-three sentences reflecting on your examples-drawing conclusions

III. Paragraph Three, Paragraph Four:

  • Repeat the the style of paragraph two, starting with a topic sentence for this paragraph.
  • Give two more examples with commentary/reflection after three-four sentences in each to explain your example.
  • Repeat the previous steps. Don't forget to reflect!

IV. The Conclusion:

  • Repeat your thesis, and draw your three examples back to your topic sentence. Then state your thesis again.


Write an essay each time you take a practice SAT  test. Use a study guide: follow their suggestions as to what and how to write the essay. Be sure you have:

  • Written legibly
  • Stayed on-topic
  • Given examples relating to the prompt, with analysis and evaluation, and written a strong conclusion.
  • Warning: It takes practice to learn to get this all done in 50 minutes. Start with 65 minutes and gradually trim your time to 50 minutes, leaving two minutes for proofreading.

If you practice for the SAT essay, just as you are practicing to take the test, you will be prepared to write a well-crafted rough draft on your exam, which is the goal of this portion of the test.


In my view, the ACT writing portion is easier than the SAT essay requirement. The ACT asks for a specific opinion on a topic: do you believe 18 year olds should have restrictions on their driving, or, should schools have open campus policies during lunch.

The SAT, which in my opinion is the more scholarly requirement, asks philosophical questions, more like what is expected by a college professor.

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