“It’s really easy in a timed writing situation to go off base and start writing anything that comes into your head,” she says.“What you need is four or five paragraphs: an introduction stating the author’s message and the devices they use to communicate it, two or three middle paragraphs addressing a rhetorical device each and a conclusion.
Student preparation should emphasize analytical skills with respect to written texts in a broad range of general-interest publications.
An experienced SAT tutor can provide relevant reading lists, understanding of how the SAT essay is scored, differentiated instruction in terms of essay-writing skill development, and assessment of progress.
Students are no longer required to complete the essay, but many universities mandate the submission of essay scores, and the College Board recommends that all students take this section of the SAT in order to demonstrate reading, writing, and analysis skills.
The time given for the essay has been doubled to 50 minutes, and the essay task is now focused on analysis of an argument rather than taking a position on an issue.
“I stressed out about needing to know a lot about the topic of the passage,” she says.
“But I realized that the test isn’t looking to assess your knowledge of what the text is about.
That organization is key.” If you haven’t been taught specific rhetorical devices — AP students tend to be at an advantage here — ask your English teacher for a list or “You have 50 minutes to write this essay, but you’re not expected to write for that entire period,” Fracchia points out.
“You should set out to spend 15 to 20 minutes reading and planning your essay.” Burns agrees, “Outlining what you’re going to say in each paragraph is helpful, because then you know what you’re working toward.” So far as length, think back to the sample essays you read.
Until recently, students faced confounding questions like, “Is it more important to avoid hurting people’s feelings or to tell the truth?
” There were no right or wrong answers — the essay, for which you were allocated 25 minutes — tested how well students constructed a persuasive argument. Now, students are asked to analyze an opinion piece, and the task is not to agree or disagree, but rather discuss the strategies the author employs to persuade their audience.