Princeton is likely to draw attention with its new requirement for a graded writing assignment. That appears to be an unusual mandate among the ranks of top universities.
The nonprofit ACT is based in Iowa. Last month, the College Board had no comment when Yale dropped its essay-score requirement. The ACT said at the time: The College Board launched the modern version of the SAT essay in , making it a required section on the core test and changing the maximum score on the test to In , the main SAT was overhauled again.
The maximum score reverted to , and the minute essay section was made separate and optional. In the high school Class of , about 1. Seventy percent — 1. A little more than half of the 2 million ACT takers in the Class of used the option. The writing section adds 40 minutes to the main ACT. Princeton and Stanford drop requirements for essay testing. Princeton University in New Jersey.
Mark Makela for The Washington Post. In your essay, analyze how Lindsay uses one or more of the features listed in the box above or features of your own choice to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of her argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.
Now, here's an example of a thesis statement for an essay responding to this prompt: The SAT essay rubric states: Including an introduction paragraph in your essay is absolutely essential to getting a Writing score above a 4 out of 8. Plus, an introduction can be a pretty good indicator of the quality for the rest of the essay—a poorly constructed introduction is often a warning that the essay that follows will be equally discombobulated. The main reason for this is that a good introduction includes your thesis statement.
There are a couple of parts of the Writing score section on the SAT essay rubric that pertain directly to style. The SAT essay rubric states this about a perfect-Writing-score essay: For most of us, "command of language" is an area that takes a long time to develop, so unless your language skills are really rough or you're prepping at least a year ahead of time or both , you'll probably get more out of focusing on the other components of the essay. The SAT essay rubric also states: The response demonstrates a consistent use of precise word choice.
The response maintains a formal style and objective tone. This basically boils down to: In addition, you should avoid using first person statements like "I" or "My" in the essay, along with any other informality. You're writing the equivalent of a school paper, not an opinion piece. Finally, try to use different words to describe the same idea—don't use "shows" 15 times. Take the chance to show off your vocabulary if, and only if , the vocabulary is appropriate and makes sense.
This component is the biggest reason why revising your SAT Essay is essential—it's fast and easy to change repeated words to other ones after you're finished, but it can slow you down during writing to worry about your word choice.
If you're aiming for a top score, using advanced vocabulary appropriately is vital. In real life, there are many ways to support a thesis, depending on the topic. But on the SAT, there's one kind of correct support: We'll show you more below. In fact, your essay will be more coherent and more likely to score higher in Analysis if you focus your discussion on just a few points. It's more important to show that you're able to pick out the most important parts of the argument and explain their function that it is to be able to identify every single persuasive device the author used.
Think about it as if you were asked to write a minute essay describing the human face and what each part does. A clear essay would just focus on major features—eyes, nose, and mouth. A less effective essay might also try to discuss cheekbones, eyebrows, eyelashes, skin pores, chin clefts, and dimples as well. While all of these things are part of the face, it would be hard to get into detail about each of the parts in just 50 minutes. And this is the eye, and this is the other eye, and this is the Even though the SAT essay has clearly stated, publicly-available guidelines, there are a few secrets to writing the essay that most students don't know and that can give you a major advantage on the test.
A big part of the Analysis score for the SAT essay is not just identifying the devices the author uses to build her argument, but explaining the effect that the use of these devices has on the reader. Here's an example of an interpretation about what effect a persuasive device has on the reader backed by evidence from the passage:. Lindsay appeals to the emotions of her readers by describing the forlorn, many-eyed creatures that stare reproachfully at her from old school notebook margins.
The sympathy the readers feel for these forgotten doodles is expertly transferred to Lindsay herself when she draws the connection between the drawn monsters and her own life: Now, you don't necessarily know for sure if "sympathy for the doodles" is what the author was going for in her passage. The SAT essay graders probably don't know either unless one of them wrote the passage. But as long as you can make a solid case for your interpretation, using facts and quotes from the passage to back it up , you'll be good.
Overall, this response demonstrates inadequate writing. Being able to stay detached while reading the passage you'll be writing the essay about can be tricky. This task might be especially difficult for students who were used to the old SAT essay which pretty much made it mandatory for you to choose one side or the other. A good way to practice this is to read news articles on topics you care deeply about by people who hold the opposite view that you do.
I would then work on my objectivity by jotting down the central ideas, most important details, and how these details relate to the central ideas of the article. Being able to understand the central ideas in the passage and details without being sidetracked by rage or other emotions is key to writing an effective SAT essay.
Don't let the monster of rage distract you from your purpose. To do this successfully, you'll need to be aware of some of the techniques that are frequently used to build arguments.
However, it's way easier to go into the essay knowing certain techniques that you can then scan the passage for. For instance, after noting the central ideas and important details in the article about how more works of art should feature monsters, I would then work on analyzing the way the author built her argument.
Does she use statistics in the article? When you write an SAT essay, you only have 50 minutes to read, analyze, and write an essay, which means that you need a game plan going in. Here's a short step-by-step guide on how to write an effective SAT essay. College Board makes a point of specifying this very point in its grading rubric as well—an essay that scores a 2 out of 4 or below in Analysis " merely asserts, rather than explains [the persuasive devices'] importance.
How the SAT Essay Is Scored. Responses to the optional SAT Essay are scored using a carefully designed process. Two different people will read and score your essay. Each scorer awards 1–4 points for each dimension: reading, analysis, and writing. The two scores for each dimension are added.
The University of California system continues to require the SAT Essay and the ACT Writing of all applicants. Claremont McKenna does as well. Wellesley rather inexplicably requires the ACT essay but not the SAT essay. Meanwhile, Brown, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale have recently dropped the essay requirement.
Take a look at the SAT Essay rubric, or guidelines, scorers use to evaluate every essay. Who Should Take the SAT with Essay. You don’t have to take the SAT with Essay, but if you do, you’ll be able to apply to schools that require it. Find out which schools require or recommend the SAT Essay. The essay is scored by readers who score the essay in terms of exactly what the SAT is looking for. So what are the criteria that readers so rigidly follow? About the SAT®.
To reiterate, colleges that require the SAT Essay won't consider your score if you took the SAT without the Essay. The last thing you want to do is take the SAT without the Essay and get a good score—but then find out that one of your target schools requires you to take the SAT with Essay. And the last five tips for SAT essay writing show you how to build an SAT essay, step by step. What the College Board Does Tell You: 5 Tips The College Board explains the main components of the successful SAT Essay in its scoring criteria.