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Just as with most essays, the major secret to excelling on the SAT essay is to pre-plan the examples and evidence you want to use.

"But wait!" I hear you cry. "Can you do that on the new SAT essay? Isn’t the point of the essay that you’re supposed to be using information from the passage in your answer, which you don’t know about ahead of time?"

The answer: Yes and no. While the specifics of each example will obviously change, depending on the passage, the types of examples you choose to discuss (and the way you explain each example builds the author’s argument) can be defined, and thus prepared for, ahead of time.

In this article, we give you 6 good SAT essay examples you’ll be able to find in nearly every prompt the SAT throws at you. By assembling a collection of these reliable types of evidence that can be used to answer most prompts, you'll cut down on planning time and significantly increase the amount you can write, making you able to walk into every SAT essay confident in your abilities.

feature image credit: 1 to 9 mosaic , cropped/Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

UPDATE: SAT Essay No Longer Offered

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In January 2021, the College Board announced that after June 2021, it would no longer offer the Essay portion of the SAT (except at schools who opt in during School Day Testing). It is now no longer possible to take the SAT Essay, unless your school is one of the small number who choose to offer it during SAT School Day Testing.

While most colleges had already made SAT Essay scores optional, this move by the College Board means no colleges now require the SAT Essay. It will also likely lead to additional college application changes such not looking at essay scores at all for the SAT or ACT, as well as potentially requiring additional writing samples for placement.

What does the end of the SAT Essay mean for your college applications? Check out our article on the College Board's SAT Essay decision for everything you need to know.

Why You Can Prep SAT Essay Examples Before Test Day

The SAT essay prompts have several important things in common:

  • They’re all passages that try to convince the reader of the veracity of the author’s claim
  • They’re all around the same length (650-750 words)
  • They’re all meant to be analyzed and written about in a relatively short period of time (50 minutes)

This means that you can have a pretty good idea ahead of time of what types of argument-building techniques you might see when you open the booklet on test day.

The main techniques the author uses aren't going to be overly complex (like the first letter of every word spelling out a secret code), because you just don’t have the time to analyze and write about complex techniques. B ecause of that, you can prepare yourself with SAT essay examples that’ll be likely found across persuasive passages about many different issues .

Naturally, for each passage you're going to want to play to its particular strengths—if there are a lot of facts/statistics, make sure to discuss that; if it dwells more on personal anecdotes/appeals to emotion, discuss those. However, if you struggle with analysis in a short period of time, memorizing these categories of examples ahead of time can give you a helpful checklist to go through when reading the SAT essay prompt and point you in the right direction.

Below, we've chosen two examples of evidence, two examples of reasoning, and two examples of stylistic/persuasive elements you can use as stellar evidence to support your thesis .

For each example below, we also show you how you can use the type of evidence to support your thesis across a range of prompts. This flexibility should prove to you how effective pre-planned examples are.

So, without further ado, onto our list of multipurpose support for any SAT Essay prompt.

Examples of Evidence

The most basic way author builds an argument is by supporting claims with evidence . There are many different kinds of evidence author might use to support her/his point, but I'm just going to discuss the two big ones I've seen in various official SAT Essay prompts. These two types of evidence are Facts and Statistics and Anecdotes .

Example Type 1: Facts and Statistics

Employing statistics and facts to bolster one's argument is one of the most unassailable methods authors can use to build an argument. This argument-building technique is particularly common in essays written about scientific or social studies-related topics, where specific data and facts are readily available.

How Can You Identify It?

Statistics usually show up in the form of specific numbers related to the topic at hand —maybe as percents, or maybe as a way to communicate other data.

Here are a couple of examples of statistics from an official SAT essay prompt, "Let There Be Dark" by Paul Bogard :

Example : 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way

Example : In the United States and Western Europe, the amount of light in the sky increases an average of about 6% every year.

Factual evidence can also be in the form of non-numerical information. Often, you'll see facts presented with references to the research study, survey, expert, or other source from which they're drawn. Here's another example from "Let There Be Dark":

Example : Already the World Health Organization classifies working the night shift as a probable human carcinogen[.]

Why Is It Persuasive?

Facts and statistics are persuasive argument building techniques because the author isn't just making up reasons for why his/her argument could possibly be true— there's actually something (data, research, other events/information) that backs up the author's claim .

In the case of the examples above, Bogard presents specific data about issues with light pollution (8 in 10 children won't be able to see the Milky Way, light in the sky increases 6% annually) to back up his statements that light pollution is real, then goes on to present further information that indicates light pollution is a problem (working the night shift puts humans at risk for cancer).

By presenting information and facts, rather than just opinion and spin, Bogard empowers the reader to connect the dots on her own, which in turn gives the reader ownership over the argument and makes it more persuasive (since the reader is coming to the same conclusions on her own, rather than entirely relying on Bogard to tell her what to think).

Example Type 2: Anecdotes

Another form of evidence that is often used as an alternative to actual facts or statistics is the anecdote. This type of evidence is most often found in speeches or other sorts of essay prompts that are written as a personal address to the reader.

An anecdote is a short story about a real person or event . When an author discusses own personal experience or personal experience of someone they know or have heard of, that's anecdotal evidence.

Here's an example of (part of) an anecdote from an official SAT essay prompt that was adapted from a foreword by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter :

One of the most unforgettable and humbling experiences of our lives occurred on the coastal plain. We had hoped to see caribou during our trip, but to our amazement, we witnessed the migration of tens of thousands of caribou with their newborn calves. In a matter of a few minutes, the sweep of tundra before us became flooded with life, with the sounds of grunting animals and clicking hooves filling the air. The dramatic procession of the Porcupine caribou herd was a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife spectacle. We understand firsthand why some have described this special birthplace as “America’s Serengeti.”

Even though anecdotes aren't statistics or facts, they can be powerful because it’s more relatable/interesting to the reader to read an anecdote than to be presented with dry, boring facts. People tend to put more faith in experiences if they can personally connect with the experiences (even though that doesn't actually affect how likely or not a statement is to be true).

In the example above, rather than discussing the statistics that support the creation of wildlife refuges, Jimmy Carter instead uses an anecdote about experiencing the wonder of nature to illustrate the same point—probably more effectively.

By inviting the reader to experience vicariously the majesty of witnessing the migration of the Porcupine caribou, Carter activates the reader's empathy towards wildlife preservation and so makes it more likely that the reader will agree with him that wildlife refuges are important.

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Examples of Reasoning

All authors use reasoning to some extent, but it’s not always a major part of how the author builds her/his argument. Sometimes, though, the support for a claim on its own might not seem that persuasive—in those cases, an author might then choose to use reasoning to explain how the evidence presented actually builds the argument.

Example Type 3: Counterarguments and Counterclaims

One way in which an author might use reasoning to persuade the reader to accept the claim being put forward is to discuss a counterargument, or counterclaim, to the author's main point. The discussion (and subsequent neutralization) of counterarguments is found in prompts across all subject areas.

A counterargument or counterclaim is simply another point of view that contradicts (either fully or partially) the author's own argument. When "some might claim," "however," or other contrast words and phrases show up in an essay prompt, the author is likely presenting a counterclaim.

Here's an example of an effective presentation (and negation) of a counter claim from an official SAT essay prompt, "The Digital Parent Trap" by Eliana Dockterman :

“You could say some computer games develop creativity,” says Lucy Wurtz, an administrator at the Waldorf School in Los Altos, Calif., minutes from Silicon Valley. “But I don’t see any benefit. Waldorf kids knit and build things and paint—a lot of really practical and creative endeavors.”

But it’s not that simple. While there are dangers inherent in access to Facebook, new research suggests that social-networking sites also offer unprecedented learning opportunities.

So how does bringing up an opposing point of view help an author build her argument? It may seem counterintuitive that discussing a counterargument actually strengthens the main argument. However, as you can see in the brief example above, giving some space to another point of view serves to make it seem as if the discussion’s going to be more “fair.” This is still true whether the author delves into the counterargument or if the author only briefly mentions an opposing point of view before moving on.

A true discussion of the counterargument  (as is present in Dockterman's article) will   also show a deeper understanding of the topic than if the article only presented a one-sided argument . And because the presence of a counterargument demonstrates that the author knows the topic well enough to be able to see the issue from multiple sides, the reader's more likely to trust that the author's claims are well-thought out and worth believing.

In the case of the Dockterman article, the author not only mentions the opposite point of view but also takes the time to get a quote from someone who supports the opposing viewpoint. This even-handedness makes her following claim that "it's not that simple" more believable, since she doesn't appear to be presenting a one-sided argument.

  

Example Type 4: Explanation of Evidence

In some cases, the clarity with which the author links her evidence and her claims is integral to the author's argument. As the College Board Official SAT Study Guide says,

Reasoning is the connective tissue that holds an argument together. It’s the “thinking” — the logic, the analysis — that develops the argument and ties the claim and evidence together."

Explanation of evidence is one of the trickier argument-building techniques to discuss (at least in my opinion), because while it is present in many essay prompts, it isn't always a major persuasive feature. You can pretty easily identify an author's explanation of evidence if the author connects a claim to support and explains it , rather than just throwing out evidence without much ceremony or linking to the claim; however, whether or not the explanation of the evidence is a major contributing factor to the author's argument is somewhat subjective.

Here's a pretty clear instance of a case where an author uses explanations of each piece of evidence she discusses to logically advance her argument (again from the Dockterman passage):

And at MIT’s Education Arcade, playing the empire-building game Civilization piqued students’ interest in history and was directly linked to an improvement in the quality of their history-class reports. The reason: engagement. On average, according to research cited by MIT, students can remember only 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 50% of what they see demonstrated. But when they’re actually doing something themselves—in the virtual worlds on iPads or laptops—that retention rate skyrockets to 90%. This is a main reason researchers like Ito say the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of a two-hour screen-time limit is an outdated concept: actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating than vegging out in front of the TV.

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Unfortunately, the explanation the Official SAT Study Guide gives for how to discuss an author's "reasoning" is a little vague:

You may decide to discuss how the author uses (or fails to use) clear, logical reasoning to draw a connection between a claim and the evidence supporting that claim.

But how exactly you should go about doing this? And wh y is it persuasive to clearly explain the link between evidence and claim?

In general, when an author explains the logic behind her argument or point, the reader can follow along and understand the author’s argument better (which in some cases makes it more likely the reader will agree with the author).

In the Dockterman example above, the author clearly lays out data ( Civilization leads to improvements in history class), a claim (this is because of engagement with the game and thus the subject material), provides data that back up that claim (retention rate skyrockets when students do things for themselves), and links that smaller claim to a larger concept (actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating than vegging out in front of the TV).  This clear pattern of data-explanation-more data-more explanation enables the reader to follow along with Dockterman's points. It's more persuasive because, rather than just being told " Civilization leads to improvements in history" and having to take it on faith, the reader is forced to reenact the thinking processes that led to the argument, engaging with the topic on a deeper level.

Examples of Stylistic/Persuasive Elements

This final category of examples is the top layer of argument building. The foundation of a good argument is evidence, which is often explained and elucidated by reasoning, but it is often the addition of stylistic or persuasive elements like an ironic tone or a rhetorical flourish that seals the deal.

Example Type 5: Vivid Language

Vivid language is truly the icing on the persuasive cake. As with explanations of evidence, vivid language can be found across all topics of essay prompts (although it usually plays a larger role when the passage is lacking in more convincing facts or logic).

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Vivid language is pretty easy to spot—it shows itself in similes, metaphors, adjectives, or any words that jump out at you that don’t seem to have purely functional purposes . Here are a couple of examples—the first is Paul Bogard again:

…show that what was a very dark country as recently as the 1950s is now nearly covered with a blanket of light.

This example is relatively restrained, using the metaphor of "a blanket of light" to add emphasis to Bogard's discussion of light pollution. A more striking example can be found in another official SAT essay prompt, adapted from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech "Beyond Vietnam—A Time To Break Silence":

Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube.

Vivid language is an effective argument building device because it puts the reader in the author’s shoes and draws them into the passage . If used in moderation, vivid language will also make the topic more interesting for the reader to read, thus engaging them further.

In the excerpt taken from Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech above, the phrase "demonic destructive suction tube" is startling and provocative, meant to rouse the audience's indignation at the injustice and waste of the Vietnam war. If King had left out the second part of the sentence and only said, "Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money," his point would not have had as big of an impact.

Example Type 6: Direct Addresses and Appeals to the Reader

The last category I'll be discussing in this article are direct addresses and appeals to the reader. These stylistic elements are found across all sorts of different passage topics, although as with the previous category, these elements usually play a larger role when the passage is light on facts or logic.

Direct addresses and appeals to the reader are wordings or other stylistic devices specifically designed to provoke a response (often emotional) in the reader . This category covers many different elements, from appeals to emotion to rhetorical questions. Here's an example of an appeal to emotion, taken again from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech:

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.

And here's an example of a rhetorical question (from the Paul Bogard article):

Who knows what this vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?

Appealing to the emotions , as Martin Luther King, Jr. does in his speech, is an alternate route to persuasion, as it causes readers to emotionally (rather than logically) agree with the author . By describing how the war was causing "their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and die," King reminds the reader of the terrible costs of war, playing upon their emotions to get them to agree that the Vietnam War is a mistake, particularly for the poor.

Rhetorical questions , on the other hand, get the readers to step into the author's world. By reading and thinking about the author's question, the reader engages with the topic on a deeper level than if the reader were just given a statement of what the author thinks . In the case of the Bogard example above, the rhetorical question draws the reader into thinking about his/her descendants, a group of people for whom the reader (presumably) only wishes the best, which then puts the reader into a positive mood (assuming the reader likes his/her descendants).

As you can see, these examples of different argumentative techniques can be extracted from a lot of different article types for a wide range of topics . This is because the examples themselves are so meaningful and complex that they can be used to discuss a lot of issues.

The main point is, you don't have to wait until you see the prompt to develop an arsenal of types of argument-building techniques you can use to support your points. Instead, preparing beforehand how you’ll discuss these techniques will save you a lot of time and anxiety when the test rolls around .

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What's Next?

If you're reading this article, you probably want to excel on the SAT essay. We've written a bunch of detailed guides to make sure you do.

Start to scratch the surface with our 15 tips to improve your SAT essay score .

Follow our step-by-step guide to writing a high-scoring essay and learn how to get a perfect 8/8/8 on the SAT essay .

Took the old SAT and not sure how the new essay compares to the old? Start with our article about what’s changed with the new SAT essay , then follow along as we  investigate the SAT essay rubric .

Want to score a perfect SAT score? Check out our guide on how to score a perfect SAT score , written by our resident perfect scorer.

Ready to go beyond just reading about the SAT? Then you'll love the free five-day trial for our SAT Complete Prep program . Designed and written by PrepScholar SAT experts , our SAT program customizes to your skill level in over 40 subskills so that you can focus your studying on what will get you the biggest score gains.

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Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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SAT Essay Samples | Low vs High-Scoring Examples

Prep Expert

The SAT Essay is often used as an extra way to impress admissions officers with your overall academic preparedness. But what does a good essay look like vs a bad one? To make life easier, the College Board has provided some helpful SAT essay samples that you can study over.

Besides helping you get into college, here are a number of other SAT Essay benefits to consider .

SAT Essay Samples Prompt

Expect to see prompt directions like the ones below:

“As you read the passage below, consider how Paul Bogard uses:

  • evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
  • reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
  • stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.”

SAT Essay Samples Passage

“ Adapted from Paul Bogard, “Let There Be Dark.” ©2012 by Los Angeles Times. Originally published December 21, 2012.

At my family’s cabin on a Minnesota lake, I knew woods so dark that my hands disappeared before my eyes. I knew night skies in which meteors left smoky trails across sugary spreads of stars. But now, when 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way, I worry we are rapidly losing night’s natural darkness before realizing its worth. This winter solstice, as we cheer the days’ gradual movement back toward light, let us also remember the irreplaceable value of darkness.

All life evolved to the steady rhythm of bright days and dark nights. Today, though, when we feel the closeness of nightfall, we reach quickly for a light switch. And too little darkness, meaning too much artificial light at night, spells trouble for all.

Already the World Health Organization classifies working the night shift as a probable human carcinogen, and the American Medical Association has voiced its unanimous support for “light pollution reduction efforts and glare reduction efforts at both the national and state levels.” Our bodies need darkness to produce the hormone melatonin, which keeps certain cancers from developing, and our bodies need darkness for sleep. Sleep disorders have been linked to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression, and recent research suggests one main cause of “short sleep” is “long light.” Whether we work at night or simply take our tablets, notebooks and smartphones to bed, there isn’t a place for this much artificial light in our lives.

The rest of the world depends on darkness as well, including nocturnal and crepuscular species of birds, insects, mammals, fish and reptiles. Some examples are well known—the 400 species of birds that migrate at night in North America, the sea turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs—and some are not, such as the bats that save American farmers billions in pest control and the moths that pollinate 80% of the world’s flora. Ecological light pollution is like the bulldozer of the night, wrecking habitat and disrupting ecosystems several billion years in the making. Simply put, without darkness, Earth’s ecology would collapse…

In today’s crowded, louder, more fast-paced world, night’s darkness can provide solitude, quiet and stillness, qualities increasingly in short supply. Every religious tradition has considered darkness invaluable for a soulful life, and the chance to witness the universe has inspired artists, philosophers and everyday stargazers since time began. In a world awash with electric light…how would Van Gogh have given the world his “Starry Night”? Who knows what this vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?

Yet all over the world, our nights are growing brighter. In the United States and Western Europe, the amount of light in the sky increases an average of about 6% every year. Computer images of the United States at night, based on NASA photographs, show that what was a very dark country as recently as the 1950s is now nearly covered with a blanket of light. Much of this light is wasted energy, which means wasted dollars. Those of us over 35 are perhaps among the last generation to have known truly dark nights. Even the northern lake where I was lucky to spend my summers has seen its darkness diminish.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Light pollution is readily within our ability to solve, using new lighting technologies and shielding existing lights. Already, many cities and towns across North America and Europe are changing to LED streetlights, which offer dramatic possibilities for controlling wasted light. Other communities are finding success with simply turning off portions of their public lighting after midnight. Even Paris, the famed “city of light,” which already turns off its monument lighting after 1 a.m., will this summer start to require its shops, offices and public buildings to turn off lights after 2 a.m. Though primarily designed to save energy, such reductions in light will also go far in addressing light pollution. But we will never truly address the problem of light pollution until we become aware of the irreplaceable value and beauty of the darkness we are losing.”

SAT Essay Samples Directions

Here is how the essay directions will be worded format-wise on test day.

“Write an essay in which you explain how Paul Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience that natural darkness should be preserved. In your essay, analyze how Bogard uses one or more of the features in the directions that precede the passage (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.

Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Bogard’s claims, but rather explain how Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience.”

Essay Sample Response (Low Scoring)

“In “Let there be dark,” Paul Bogard talks about the importance of darkness.

Darkness is essential to humans. Bogard states, “Our bodies need darkness to produce the hormone melatonin, which keeps certain cancers from developing, and our bodies need darkness for sleep, sleep. Sleep disorders have been linked to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression and recent research suggests are main cause of “short sleep” is “long light.” Whether we work at night or simply take our tablets, notebooks and smartphones to bed, there isn’t a place for this much artificial light in our lives.” (Bogard 2). Here, Bogard talks about the importance of darkness to humans. Humans need darkness to sleep in order to be healthy.

Animals also need darkness. Bogard states, “The rest of the world depends on darkness as well, including nocturnal and crepuscular species of birds, insects, mammals, fish and reptiles. Some examples are well known—the 400 species of birds that migrate at night in North America, the sea turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs—and some are not, such as the bats that save American farmers billions in pest control and the moths that pollinate 80% of the world’s flora. Ecological light pollution is like the bulldozer of the night, wrecking habitat and disrupting ecosystems several billion years in the making. Simply put, without darkness, Earth’s ecology would collapse…” (Bogard 2). Here Bogard explains that animals, too, need darkness to survive.”

Essay Sample Response (High Scoring)

“In response to our world’s growing reliance on artificial light, writer Paul Bogard argues that natural darkness should be preserved in his article “Let There be dark”. He effectively builds his argument by using a personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions.

Bogard starts his article off by recounting a personal story – a summer spent on a Minnesota lake where there was “woods so dark that [his] hands disappeared before [his] eyes.” In telling this brief anecdote, Bogard challenges the audience to remember a time where they could fully amass themselves in natural darkness void of artificial light. By drawing in his readers with a personal encounter about night darkness, the author means to establish the potential for beauty, glamour, and awe-inspiring mystery that genuine darkness can possess. He builds his argument for the preservation of natural darkness by reminiscing for his readers a first-hand encounter that proves the “irreplaceable value of darkness.” This anecdote provides a baseline of sorts for readers to find credence with the author’s claims.

Bogard’s argument is also furthered by his use of allusion to art – Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – and modern history – Paris’ reputation as “The City of Light”. By first referencing “Starry Night”, a painting generally considered to be undoubtedly beautiful, Bogard establishes that the natural magnificence of stars in a dark sky is definite. A world absent of excess artificial light could potentially hold the key to a grand, glorious night sky like Van Gogh’s according to the writer. This urges the readers to weigh the disadvantages of our world consumed by unnatural, vapid lighting. Furthermore, Bogard’s alludes to Paris as “the famed ‘city of light’”. He then goes on to state how Paris has taken steps to exercise more sustainable lighting practices. By doing this, Bogard creates a dichotomy between Paris’ traditionally alluded-to name and the reality of what Paris is becoming – no longer “the city of light”, but more so “the city of light…before 2 AM”. This furthers his line of argumentation because it shows how steps can be and are being taken to preserve natural darkness. It shows that even a city that is literally famous for being constantly lit can practically address light pollution in a manner that preserves the beauty of both the city itself and the universe as a whole.

Finally, Bogard makes subtle yet efficient use of rhetorical questioning to persuade his audience that natural darkness preservation is essential. He asks the readers to consider “what the vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?” in a way that brutally plays to each of our emotions. By asking this question, Bogard draws out heartfelt ponderance from his readers about the affecting power of an untainted night sky. This rhetorical question tugs at the readers’ heartstrings; while the reader may have seen an unobscured night skyline before, the possibility that their child or grandchild will never get the chance sways them to see as Bogard sees. This strategy is definitively an appeal to pathos, forcing the audience to directly face an emotionally-charged inquiry that will surely spur some kind of response. By doing this, Bogard develops his argument, adding guttural power to the idea that the issue of maintaining natural darkness is relevant and multifaceted.

Writing as a reaction to his disappointment that artificial light has largely permeated the presence of natural darkness, Paul Bogard argues that we must preserve true, unaffected darkness. He builds this claim by making use of a personal anecdote, allusions, and rhetorical questioning.”

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Thinking about tackling the SAT Essay? Here's what you need to know: you'll be asked to read a text (typically a speech or editorial of some sort) and discuss how the author effectively builds an argument. This might be a familiar task if you’ve done it in school, but if not, don’t worry. The format is straightforward, and with some practice, you can learn how to write a great SAT essay.

What is the SAT essay?

The SAT essay is optional and costs an additional fee of $17.00. Currently, only 25 colleges and universities require the SAT essay. You can find a searchable list of school requirements for the essay here . If there is any chance that you might apply to one of those schools, you should sign up for the essay. If you are not sure where you will apply, you should strongly consider signing up for the essay. Your essay score will appear on every score report you send to colleges, regardless of whether or not the school requires an essay. 

Here are 5 tips for writing a killer SAT essay, should you decide to add on that section:

SAT essay tips

1. Stay Objective

The thing to remember here is that ETS (the company that writes the test) is not asking you for your opinion on a topic or a text. So be sure to maintain formal style and an objective tone. Tip: Avoid “I” and “you.

2. Keep It Tidy

Handwriting is becoming a lost art. Unfortunately, this is one occasion where your skill with a pencil matters. Graders read tons of essays each day. If they cannot decipher your script, they will lower your score. Do yourself a favor and write legibly.

3. (Indented) Paragraphs Are Your Friend

Remember the basic essay structure you learned in school: introductory paragraph, body paragraphs and a conclusion? The SAT essay graders love it! Your introduction should describe the text and paraphrase the argument being made, as well as introduce the specific elements of the passage and argument that you will discuss in the essay. Your conclusion should restate the goal of the passage/argument and sum up the points you made.

Read More: SAT Tips and Strategies

4. For Example…

Use your body paragraphs to back up your thesis statement by citing specific examples. Use short, relevant quotes from the text to support your points.

5. Don't Worry About the Exact Terms for Things

Blanking on terminology? When describing how the author builds his or her argument, “appeal to the emotions” is fine instead of specifically referencing “pathos.” And “comparison of two things” can be used instead of referring to a metaphor. If you do know the official terms, though, feel free to use them!

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Test Prep Toolkit

SAT Essay Prompts (10 Sample Questions)

What does it take to get a high SAT Essay score, if not perfect it? Practice, practice and more practice! Know the tricks and techniques of writing the perfect SAT Essay, so that you can score perfect as well. That’s not a far off idea, because there actually is a particular “formula” for perfecting the SAT Essay test. Consider that every prompt has a format, and what test-takers are required to do remain the same- even if the passage varies from test to test.

The SAT Essay test will ask you to read an argument that is intended to persuade a general audience. You’ll need to discuss how proficient the author is in arguing their point. Analyze the argument of the author and create an integrated and structured essay that explains your analysis.

On this page, we will feature 10 real SAT Essay prompts that have been recently released online by the College Board. You can utilize these Essay SAT prompts as 10 sample SAT Essay questions for easy practice. This set of SAT Essay prompts is the most comprehensive that you will find online today.

The predictability of the SAT Essay test necessitates students to perform an organized analytical method of writing instead of thinking up random ideas on their own. Consider that what you will see before and after the passage remains consistent. It is recommended that you initially read and apply the techniques suggested in writing the perfect SAT Essay (🡨link to SAT Essay —- SAT Essay Overview: How to Get a Perfect Score) before proceeding on using the following essay prompts for practice.

Check our SAT Reading Practice Tests

10 Official SAT Essay Prompts For Practice

10 Official SAT Essay Prompts For Practice

Practice Test 1

“Write an essay in which you explain how Jimmy Carter builds an argument to persuade his audience that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should not be developed for industry.”

Practice Test 2

“Write an essay in which you explain how Martin Luther King Jr. builds an argument to persuade his audience that American involvement in the Vietnam War is unjust.”

Practice Test 3

“Write an essay in which you explain how Eliana Dockterman builds an argument to persuade her audience that there are benefits to early exposure to technology.”

Practice Test 4

“Write an essay in which you explain how Paul Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience that natural darkness should be preserved.”

Practice Test 5

“Write an essay in which you explain how Eric Klinenberg builds an argument to persuade his audience that Americans need to greatly reduce their reliance on air-conditioning.”

Practice Test 6

“Write an essay in which you explain how Christopher Hitchens builds an argument to persuade his audience that the original Parthenon sculptures should be returned to Greece.”

Practice Test 7

“Write an essay in which you explain how Zadie Smith builds an argument to persuade her audience that public libraries are important and should remain open”

Practice Test 8

“Write an essay in which you explain how Bobby Braun builds an argument to persuade his audience that the US government must continue to invest in NASA.”

Practice Test 9

“Write an essay in which you explain how Richard Schiffman builds an argument to persuade his audience that Americans need to work fewer hours.”

Practice Test 10

“Write an essay in which you explain how Todd Davidson builds an argument to persuade his audience that the US government must continue to fund national parks.”

Visit our SAT Writing Practice Tests

What Is An Example Of A SAT Essay That Obtained A Perfect Score?

Example Of A SAT Essay

Here is an example of Practice Test 4 above and how a perfect SAT Essay in response to it looks like. This has been published in the College Board website.

Answer Essay with Perfect Score:

In response to our world’s growing reliance on artificial light, writer Paul Bogard argues that natural darkness should be preserved in his article “Let There be dark”. He effectively builds his argument by using a personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions.

Bogard starts his article off by recounting a personal story – a summer spent on a Minnesota lake where there was “woods so dark that [his] hands disappeared before [his] eyes.” In telling this brief anecdote, Bogard challenges the audience to remember a time where they could fully amass themselves in natural darkness void of artificial light. By drawing in his readers with a personal encounter about night darkness, the author means to establish the potential for beauty, glamour, and awe-inspiring mystery that genuine darkness can possess. He builds his argument for the preservation of natural darkness by reminiscing for his readers a first-hand encounter that proves the “irreplaceable value of darkness.” This anecdote provides a baseline of sorts for readers to find credence with the author’s claims.

Bogard’s argument is also furthered by his use of allusion to art – Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – and modern history – Paris’ reputation as “The City of Light”. By first referencing “Starry Night”, a painting generally considered to be undoubtedly beautiful, Bogard establishes that the natural magnificence of stars in a dark sky is definite. A world absent of excess artificial light could potentially hold the key to a grand, glorious night sky like Van Gogh’s according to the writer. This urges the readers to weigh the disadvantages of our world consumed by unnatural, vapid lighting. Furthermore, Bogard’s alludes to Paris as “the famed ‘city of light’”. He then goes on to state how Paris has taken steps to exercise more sustainable lighting practices. By doing this, Bogard creates a dichotomy between Paris’ traditionally alluded-to name and the reality of what Paris is becoming – no longer “the city of light”, but moreso “the city of light…before 2 AM”. This furthers his line of argumentation because it shows how steps can be and are being taken to preserve natural darkness. It shows that even a city that is literally famous for being constantly lit can practically address light pollution in a manner that preserves the beauty of both the city itself and the universe as a whole

Finally, Bogard makes subtle yet efficient use of rhetorical questioning to persuade his audience that natural darkness preservation is essential. He asks the readers to consider “what the vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?” in a way that brutally plays to each of our emotions. By asking this question, Bogard draws out heartfelt ponderance from his readers about the affecting power of an untainted night sky. This rhetorical question tugs at the readers’ heartstrings; while the reader may have seen an unobscured night skyline before, the possibility that their child or grandchild will never get the chance sways them to see as Bogard sees. This strategy is definitively an appeal to pathos, forcing the audience to directly face an emotionally-charged inquiry that will surely spur some kind of response. By doing this, Bogard develops his argument, adding gutthral power to the idea that the issue of maintaining natural darkness is relevant and multifaceted.

Writing as a reaction to his disappointment that artificial light has largely permeated the prescence of natural darkness, Paul Bogard argues that we must preserve true, unaffected darkness. He builds this claim by making use of a personal anecdote, allusions, and rhetorical questioning.

Related Topic:  SAT Requirements

This response scored a 4/4/4.

Reading—4: This response demonstrates thorough comprehension of the source text through skillful use of paraphrases and direct quotations. The writer briefly summarizes the central idea of Bogard’s piece ( natural darkness should be preserved ;  we must preserve true, unaffected darkness ), and presents many details from the text, such as referring to the personal anecdote that opens the passage and citing Bogard’s use of  Paris’ reputation as “The City of Light.” There are few long direct quotations from the source text; instead, the response succinctly and accurately captures the entirety of Bogard’s argument in the writer’s own words, and the writer is able to articulate how details in the source text interrelate with Bogard’s central claim. The response is also free of errors of fact or interpretation. Overall, the response demonstrates advanced reading comprehension.

Analysis—4:  This response offers an insightful analysis of the source text and demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the analytical task. In analyzing Bogard’s use of personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions , the writer is able to explain carefully and thoroughly how Bogard builds his argument over the course of the passage. For example, the writer offers a possible reason for why Bogard chose to open his argument with a personal anecdote, and is also able to describe the overall effect of that choice on his audience ( In telling this brief anecdote, Bogard challenges the audience to remember a time where they could fully amass themselves in natural darkness void of artificial light. By drawing in his readers with a personal encounter…the author means to establish the potential for beauty, glamour, and awe-inspiring mystery that genuine darkness can possess…. This anecdote provides a baseline of sorts for readers to find credence with the author’s claims ). The cogent chain of reasoning indicates an understanding of the overall effect of Bogard’s personal narrative both in terms of its function in the passage and how it affects his audience. This type of insightful analysis is evident throughout the response and indicates advanced analytical skill.

Writing—4: The response is cohesive and demonstrates highly effective use and command of language. The response contains a precise central claim ( He effectively builds his argument by using personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions ), and the body paragraphs are tightly focused on those three elements of Bogard’s text. There is a clear, deliberate progression of ideas within paragraphs and throughout the response. The writer’s brief introduction and conclusion are skillfully written and encapsulate the main ideas of Bogard’s piece as well as the overall structure of the writer’s analysis. There is a consistent use of both precise word choice and well-chosen turns of phrase ( the natural magnificence of stars in a dark sky is definite ,  our world consumed by unnatural, vapid lighting ,  the affecting power of an untainted night sky ). Moreover, the response features a wide variety in sentence structure and many examples of sophisticated sentences ( By doing this, Bogard creates a dichotomy between Paris’ traditionally alluded-to name and the reality of what Paris is becoming – no longer “the city of light”, but moreso “the city of light…before 2AM” ). The response demonstrates a strong command of the conventions of written English. Overall, the response exemplifies advanced writing proficiency.

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SAT study guide

perfect sat essay example

How to Write an SAT Essay

perfect sat essay example

A winning SAT essay requires a range of specific skills for the top result. In this article from the cheap essay writing service EssayPro, we will discuss how to write SAT essay and get that SAT essay score for college admission. This includes the definition, preparation steps, time-management, SAT essay outline, tips, and examples.

What Is an SAT Essay?

So what is the SAT essay writing task in general terms? SAT writing is very much similar to your regular college paper. In fact, it’s not what you’re asked to write about. It’s how you’re graded on it that makes it stand out from the rest of the academic writing tasks you are surely familiar with.

Many people question: what schools require this type of assignment? The colleges that require the SAT essay are institutions like Stanford, Stanford, Yale, and many more. Considering most colleges with high reputations require this entrance exam, it is essential to learn how to write a great SAT essay if you want to enter college.

Before You Start Writing an SAT Essay...

While studying for the entrance exam, consider the question: ‘how long it takes to write an SAT essay?’. Time management is an essential part of the test and something to consider while writing the examination. Usually, writing time is made up of four examination stages:

examination elements sat

There are different variations of these stages. Some people are faster with reading than they are creating an outline, and some are very quick writers. But regardless of how long it takes, the general approach to essay writing is the same.

Throughout the first stage, you familiarize yourself with the tasks you're going to deal with. 5 minutes is more than enough. But don’t rush through it. Missing some key details during this first stage can lead to failing the entire task before you even get to writing.

After you’ve got all the info you need - you can start planning. A plan of action will help you stay on track throughout the writing process. You can even draw up a schematic to reference as you go.

Writing will take up the majority of your time. Consult your outline and start filling it out step by step. Do not get bogged down. If you can’t get through some section of your outline - move on to the next one and return later.

Proofreading is one of the most important parts of essay writing. You should always try your best to leave as much time as possible for post-editing. The task is finished; now you have to relax and look through your text a couple more times to weed out any mistakes.

Whichever way your mind thinks, SAT essay practice is always the right way to go, so you’re able to find the most reliable timing combination that works for you within the set duration of the exam.

It is important to consider that the writing segment takes up a large portion of the 50 minutes. The reading and creating outline segments play a vital role in the completion of the SAT essay.

Our argumentative essay writers are ready to help you any time. Order essay or leave us a message ' Do my math homework '.

Things Your SAT Essay Needs

Now, let’s talk about how to write SAT essay tasks in a little more detail. To write a winning SAT essay outline , it is important to know what to include in it. Any paper regarding this examination should include these elements:

SAT EXAMINATION STAGES 2

Introduction:

  • First impressions count;
  • Remember to avoid argumentative language;
  • Discuss, briefly, the analysis methods that the author has used;
  • Address the author’s points;
  • Examiners want to see an understanding of the source, a quote might be in order;

Feeling Overwhelmed Writing an Essay on Your Own?

We only need your paper requirements to create a plagiarism-free paper prompt.

  • Use examples that support your claims;
  • Quote the passage where the writer has used vivid language;
  • A short quote will suffice, no need to cite entire paragraphs;
  • Follow your evidence up with supporting claims;
  • Talk about what makes your arguments strong;
  • Explain why the examples are compelling to the reader;

Conclusion:

  • Restate the thesis;
  • Briefly talk about how your examples support it;
  • Be aware that this is not a place to write more in-depth text or more examples;
  • End with a conclusive sentence;

This outline should give you a pretty good idea of how to SAT when it comes to essay writing tasks.

SAT Essay Outline

In recent years, a new SAT essay format has been created. Take a look at how applicants tackle this assignment in 2022.

Introduction

  • This introduction paragraph is 2-5 sentences;
  • Write about the purpose of the source material;
  • Write a few lines describing the techniques used in the rest of the paper.
  • Usually, the body is made up of 2-3 paragraphs;
  • Each paragraph is around six sentences;
  • Your first sentence is a transition from the previous paragraph.
  • Paraphrase the thesis;
  • Mention the arguments discussed in the assignment;
  • End with a conclusive sentence.

Get more info about: HOW TO WRITE AN INTRODUCTION

Tips on How to Write an SAT Essay

For a high SAT essay score, consider these SAT essay tips below to get a good feel of how to create a great exam paper. They’ll give you a solid understanding of how to SAT in order to get a decent score.

How to Get a Good Score on SAT

  • SAT Essay Prompts Are Essential. Analyze the provided promptly. It can give you hints about the writer’s intent.
  • Introductions Are Essential. Ease your reader into the topic. Focus their attention and remember - it sets the stage for the rest of your essay.
  • Use Your Vocabulary & Effective Language. Only use formal language. Don’t repeat points, and watch your grammar. Avoid using simple words, slang, and writing in the first person.
  • Avoid Going Off-Topic. Keep your essay precise in regards to the source. It is essential to show the examiner that you have read and understood it.
  • Practice Makes Perfect. Looking at SAT essay examples will help you understand how the essay should be written. Practice writing your paper using an SAT essay sample as a reference.

What Is an Average SAT Essay Score?

An average SAT essay score is 5\4\5 (for reading\analysis\writing). But you don’t really want to aim for an average SAT essay score. You need to land above that if you want your application to benefit from it.

You have to consider several factors if you want to get a good SAT essay score. Here they are:

You have to demonstrate your proficiency in all three in order to get a perfect score. First, you have to show that you have a thorough understanding of the subject matter of your essay. There is no place for even the slightest missteps. You want to show that you have knowledge of the facts and can interpret them well.

Analysis has to do with the personal conclusions you draw in your essay. You have to show that your writing is not just a stream of consciousness. Your thesis should be well-thought-out and supported by relevant and strong evidence.

Finally, the writing aspect is about presentation. Here you need to show that you have a strong command of language. It’s not only about grammar. Even the particular choice of words matters. How well you form your thoughts will determine your writing score. You should also watch your writing style. For a serious academic paper like this one, it should always be formal. No matter the subject.

So what is a good SAT essay score? It’s the result of your careful consideration of source material, your argument, and your form.

Is SAT Now Optional?

SAT is indeed optional. Very few colleges still practice this approach to applicant screening. But you can still take this test if you’d like to showcase your formidable writing skills. Will it help you when applying to top universities? For example, does Harvard require SAT essay submissions? Ivy League institutions like Harvard have also opted to take SAT test score submission during the application process optional. If you want to get an edge in a competitive environment like this, you have to research modern methods of applicant assessment. Like writing a personal statement.

Should I Take SAT?

Well, that depends on your goals. For example, if you are going for a major that has to do with analytical writing - an SAT test with an essay is a great way to show your skills and talent. But you shouldn’t obsess over it if you’re not entirely sure you’d be able to get a good score. There are alternative ways to show your writing off.

SAT Essay Examples

Check out these SAT essay examples to get a further grasp of how to write an outstanding paper. Feel free to use them as a reference.

Paul Bogard’s “Let There Be Dark” illustrates a large variety of rhetorical writing methods to create a key message. The message being: before the almost infinite list of benefits of the night’s natural darkness is completely lost, people should make more effort to decrease light pollution.
Dr. John’s “The Classics” argues that the enthusiasm of modern children of English literature in the classroom is at the lowest it could possibly be. He argues that there can be some extreme consequences for the survival of classic texts. The claim, itself, mentions classroom surveys that have taken place in high schools across the country.

Don’t Know How to Start?

Have you read the whole article and found yourself in a situation where you type " write my essay online "? Start from structuring your ideas. Writing an outline and a pinch of professional writing help can put you onto the right path to writing your SAT essay paper.

You can also look for SAT essay prompts if you want to practice a bit before the actual exam.

SAT Topics: Best Ideas

The best ideas for an SAT practice essay come in the form of prompts. You are unlikely to find the same exact prompt you have been practicing with on your SAT exam. But it will give you enough experience to feel confident in your writing abilities.

  • Write an essay in which you explain how Volodymyr Zelensky builds an argument to persuade his audience that the democratic countries must unite to help the Ukrainian cause.
  • How does the availability of information influence our perception of global issues?
  • Analyze and evaluate societal constructs and stereotypes in regard to different age groups
  • Analyze and evaluate the importance of factors of competition and cooperation in relation to humanity’s technological progress.
  • Consider and analyze potential issues of creating a new society in isolation from the rest of humanity. For example, a colony on a faraway planet.

The SAT test is slowly going out of fashion. The pandemic has only reinforced this trend. Despite that, it still remains a pretty comprehensive way to gauge one’s abilities. So, while it’s not mandatory to take the SAT test anymore, you can certainly take it anyway if you think it will help you showcase the skills relevant to your education.

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8 Best SAT Essay Examples To Prepare For Your Test

Are you looking for the top SAT essay examples? Take a look at our guide containing the best examples to prepare for your examination.

Are you busy preparing for the SAT essay? The College Board is responsible for administering the SAT, which is essential for determining college decisions. In addition, writing is important for every field of study, which is why the SAT values the essay. As a result, your SAT essay score can have an impact not only on the entirety of your test performance but also on your college admissions decisions. Therefore, it may be helpful to look at a few sample essay prompts, allowing you to determine how you can maximize your performance on your essay.

1. The Value of Struggle

2. the topic of greed, 3. politicians and personal character, 4. demonstrating a lack of knowledge, 5. fame and fortune, 6. truth and lies, 7. expectations and public figures, 8. quick reaction times, what should i write in my sat essay, how long should my sat essay be, what should i do before i write my sat essay.

Prompt: Do we only value the things that we struggle for?

Plan your response carefully, and make sure you support your point of view with specific examples. The examples can come from history, a personal anecdote from high school, or knowledge of particular subjects.

This is a very common type of SAT writing prompt. In the prompt, the essay alludes to absolutism. In this case, the absolute is that we only value things we struggle for. Unless we struggle for it, we will never love it. In general, taking an absolute point of view will unnecessarily pigeonhole you into an impossible argument. Therefore, it is essential to change your response slightly. Instead, it would help if you talked about situations where you value things you struggle for and do not value things you struggle for. Just because you do not struggle for it doesn’t mean it is not valuable.

For example, you may not necessarily have valued your relationships with your siblings. If you are lucky, you may get along well with your siblings without stressing about it. This could be an example you can use in your essay. Likewise, you value your relationships with your family members but do not struggle for them. Then, you might want to share an example of something that you value after struggling for it.

SAT essay examples: The topic of greed

Prompt: Is greed always a bad thing?

Greed is a driving force behind a lot of decisions that we make. There are some situations where greed is terrible and others where greed is good. You don’t want to take the standpoint that greed is always wrong. For example, greed is something that can help you maximize your score on the SAT. Because you want to go to an established college, someone could say you are greedy. It depends on how you use that motivation. Because you are channeling it for a positive force, such as doing well on the SAT, it is not necessarily bad. You can also talk about athletes who are greedy for success and decide to channel that motivation into excelling in their chosen field.

On the other hand, there are situations where greed might be bad. For example, you may want to point out a famous person who has gone to jail for financial misdeeds. You might even want to talk about Bernie Madoff , who ran one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. He hurt many people out of greed and ended up paying a steep price for it. It would be best if you wrapped up the essay by discussing specific circumstances where greed is bad and others where greed is good. Then, you can talk about how that difference can guide our decisions and make us better people. 

Prompt: Should you consider the personal character of a politician before deciding to vote for that person?

Anyone who has recently paid attention to politics has likely seen many attack ads. They are trying to convince people to vote for politicians based on personal character instead of what they might do (or not) for the country. Even though the personal character is not necessarily the most important thing you should think about, it should play a role in your decision-making process.

As you write this essay, you may want to use an example of a situation where the personal character is important for deciding who to vote for. For example, you may want to talk about Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign after the press unveiled the Watergate scandal. While Richard Nixon did many great things in the office, such as opening up China, the Watergate scandal demonstrated that he could not be trusted. Because he lost the trust of the people, he would not be able to govern effectively, forcing him out of office.

Another example includes Bill Clinton, who is widely known to have cheated on his wife with Monica Lewinsky. Despite this, he was not forced to resign from office, and he is widely respected as a good president, if not a good person. He presided over one of the largest economic expansions in US history, and he was the last person to have a balanced budget. In this case, despite his personal character flaws, he was able to govern effectively.

There are plenty of other examples you can use to write this essay, but it all comes down to whether someone’s personal character has an impact on their ability to govern. If their individual character flaws do not impact their ability to govern effectively, then it might not impact their potential success as a leader. On the other hand, if someone’s personal character flaws completely remove their ability to govern effectively, then you may want to vote for someone else. You can use these general points to craft a strong essay. You might also be wondering, which colleges require SAT essay section for consideration .

Prompt: Are you required to admit your lack of knowledge before you are able to learn something?

This essay prompt is one that just about everyone can relate to. The premise of the essay is clear: if you feel like you already know everything, you will not be able to learn something new. At the same time, it is possible for you to learn something without admitting that you totally lack knowledge. You simply need to be open to a new point of view. You might be able to pull an example of this from the classroom.

For example, the first day you walked into chemistry class, you probably didn’t know the first thing about chemistry. You did not necessarily need to admit your lack of knowledge before you can start learning something new. This could be an example you can use that goes against the premise of the prompt.

On the other hand, there are situations where admitting a lack of knowledge can help you learn something new. For example, you may want to point out a discussion that you recently had with an expert in a certain area. By admitting that you did not know anything, you might have allowed that person to teach you. If you acted like you knew everything, that expert may not have wanted to teach you anything. By admitting your lack of knowledge, you open yourself up to new sources of information. 

To do well on this essay, you will need to specify when admitting a lack of knowledge can help you learn something and when it is unnecessary. That difference will help you maximize your SAT essay score. You might also be interested in these GRE writing examples .

SAT essay examples: Fame and Fortune

Prompt: Is fame always a good thing? 

Fame and fortune have been popular topics of discussion recently. There are many people who believe that famous people lead lives of comfort and luxury. Many people believe that they lead lives that the rest of us can only dream of. Even though it may look nice to be a famous person, it is not always a good thing. Therefore, you should immediately take the point of view that there are situations where fame can be good, but there are other situations where fame can be bad. 

You might want to start with an example of a situation where fame is good. You can talk about almost any famous athlete, actor, or actress. You can talk about how their fame has landed them a lot of endorsement deals, making them enormous sums of money that they can use to support a luxurious lifestyle, their children, and future generations. Clearly, there are situations where fame can be a good thing.

On the other hand, you will need to use examples where fame might not necessarily be a good thing. For example, you may want to talk about the tremendous mental health issues that Britney Spears has suffered because of her fame and her conservatorship. Or, you may want to talk about the mental health struggles that a lot of famous musicians have, such as Kurt Cobain (who ultimately committed suicide).

You might also want to talk about the tremendous anxiety that Naomi Osaka struggles with when she has to talk to the press. Despite her tennis success and fortune, she doesn’t always appear happy on the tennis court. Based on the examples you choose, you will ultimately have to decide when fame is a good thing and when fame is a bad thing. The answer varies from person to person, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer. You simply need to write a strong essay that supports your point of view. 

Prompt: Is it always important to tell 100 percent of the truth?

Growing up, we are always taught to tell the truth. It is easier to tell children that they should tell the truth no matter what. At the same time, life is not black and white. There are some situations where shades of grey matter. When you write this essay, you should not do it as a “yes or no” answer. Instead, you need to talk about when it is important to tell the truth and when telling a lie, even a lie of omission, is important.

For example, you may want to take the point of view that telling a lie is a good thing if it benefits the person listening. You might want to use an example of explaining life and death to a small child. If your child really loves your next-door neighbor, but your next-door neighbor is dying of cancer, you don’t necessarily want to tell the child that the neighbor has cancer. The child might not be able to understand this. Instead, you may want to say that the person is not feeling well.

On the other hand, there are plenty of situations where telling the truth is a good thing. For example, you definitely don’t want to lie to your significant other about major financial issues. You probably don’t want to lie to your family members about major events in your life. If you lie to people important to you, particularly if you hurt them, it can damage your relationship with them, causing irreparable harm. When you close this essay, you will have to define when it is okay to lie to someone and when it is not. You might find it easier to say that lying is okay when it benefits the person you are talking to. You will need to use specific examples to write a strong essay. 

Prompt: Do we expect too much from our public figures?

As a society, we tend to hold our public figures in high esteem. What this means is that we also hold them to a higher standard. Therefore, things that might not necessarily get us fired from our jobs could force a public figure to resign. At the same time, public figures are people, not superheroes. Therefore, do we expect too much from them?

You may want to start by discussing whether it is appropriate to place high expectations on the shoulders of public figures. After all, they have only earned that position by demonstrating that they may have more knowledge, wisdom, or personal capacity than the average person. Therefore, it should only make sense that we would hold them to a higher level. Then, you may want to share some of the high expectations we place on public figures. We expect them to defend the country, help those less fortunate, and foster scientific and economic growth. 

On the other hand, you may want to talk about situations where the expectations we have for public figures are not necessarily reasonable. For example, you may want to discuss the expectation that public figures should immediately end a global pandemic. Or, you may want to talk about situations where public figures fall short because of events outside their control.

For example, our public figures are still accountable to the law. They are not dictators and could fall victim to significant companies or politicians who do not cooperate with them. When you finish this essay, you may want to discuss the difference between reasonable and unreasonable expectations. How do you define reasonable and unreasonable? You may even want to take the point that what is reasonable or unreasonable can vary from person to person.

Prompt: Is it better for us to react instinctively in times of crisis?

They call them reflexes for a reason, you want to respond as quickly as possible when there is a crisis. Evolutionarily, we would expect our reflexes to guide us in the right direction, but that is not always the case. For this essay, you will need to specify when it is better to react instinctively and when it is better to take a slower approach.

For example, you might want to talk about slamming on the brakes when trying to avoid an accident. If a child crosses the street in front of you, you don’t have time to pause, think, and decide whether you want to swerve or stop. Therefore it would be best if you reacted instinctively. If you wait too long, you will hit the child, leading to a catastrophe. In this situation, your reflexes are good.

Then, there are situations where it is better to take a more thought-out approach. For example, you might want to talk about a politician behind a desk trying to deal with energy, climate, or military crises. It may be prudent for politicians to reach out to their advisers, get everyone’s input, and decide what to do next. To write a strong essay, you will have to decide when it is crucial to react instinctively and when it is essential to pause for a moment and take a step back. Then, if you choose strong examples, you can write a solid response.

Looking for more? Check out these SAT writing tips .

FAQs About SAT Essay Examples

It would help if you used specific, varied examples to write a strong essay. The models need to support your point of view. It would help if you tried to choose examples from your personal life, current events, and history to demonstrate an extensive knowledge base. With a bit of test prep, you could get a perfect score. 

There is no set length for your SAT essay. A five-paragraph essay is an excellent rule of thumb, but it is not required. It is more critical to show that you know how to organize your essay using paragraphs. There will be a time limit, so your essay cannot be super long. 

It is always helpful to spend a couple of minutes brainstorming and outlining your essay before you start writing. You only have so many sheets of paper, so you need your essay to be organized before you begin. Think about your central claim, your sentence structure, and word choice. Next, write your thesis statement, topic sentences, and examples you want to use before you start writing your new SAT essay. Then, step by step, you will have a template around which you can build your central idea.

For help with this topic, read our guide explaining what is persuasive writing ? If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics .

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Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.

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SAT Essay Scores: How To Get A Perfect Score

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Many students ask me about SAT essay scores and request an example of an SAT essay with a perfect score.

I will share my response below and explain why this SAT essay example fulfills all the scoring requirements. There are four simple tips you can apply when completing the essay portion of the SAT that will allow you to replicate a perfect score on the SAT essay, which we will cover below!

How Are SAT Essays Scored?

student practicing sat essay

According to the College Board , SAT essays are scored using a specific process. Additionally, the College Board states that every official scorer is trained to ensure all students are held to the same exacting standards listed below.

  • Every essay will be read and scored by two different scorers.
  • The scores for each dimension from both scorers are added together
  • You will receive three separate scores—one for each of the dimensions listed above—that range from 2 to 8 points
  • The SAT Essay score will not be a composite score in which all of the scores are added together, nor are there percentiles

What Is A Perfect SAT Essay Score

Based on the criteria from above, a perfect score on the SAT essay would be three scores of 8 .

In other words, you will need to score a 4 from each scorer in each dimension.

Here’s what a perfect score on the SAT essay will look like:

SAT Essay Example Assignment & Answer

Now that we know how SAT essays are scored, let’s take a look at the example I promised to share with you earlier. Then we’ll discuss how you can earn a perfect score on your SAT essay.

Example SAT Essay Assignment:

“Is it wise to be suspicious of the motives or honesty of other people, even those who appear to be trustworthy? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.”

Example of a Perfect Scoring SAT Essay Answer:

The quagmire of whether to trust categorically or to bring skepticism into all interactions is one that has plagued mankind since inception. From one perspective, to trust is to engage in humanity; however, from another angle, humans are a self-promoting species who will advance themselves while thwarting the less shrewd, if allowed. In the end, the answer is clear and evident: as proven through examples in history, literature, and current events, it is obvious that it is always better to enter interactions with a sense of cynicism toward all others.

Historically, Abraham Lincoln was an exemplar proving that it is always best to be skeptical of the motives of others. When he called upon the know how of General William Tecumseh Sherman, he was not without his doubts as to the motives of the once-radical general.

( Filler…………..Filler……………Filler……………Doesn’t matter what you write here because the introduction and the first two sentences the second paragraph were so strong……..Filler…………Filler……….Filler )*

Hence, Lincoln was a superlative leader not only because of his political acumen, but because of his persistent doubt of the morals and morays of other people.

Even in current times, the collapse of the housing market is a supreme example outlining the necessity of doubting the motives of others. Loan officers in the late ’90s encouraged homeowners to purchase with 100% loan-to-value ration, and because homeowners were not skeptical of this proposition, they found themselves upside down owing more than their house was worth

( ………..Filler……………………… )*

The literature of Dostoevsky confirms what history and current events have suggested: it is always better to be skeptical of others as demonstrated by the character  Ivan Fyodorovich in The Brothers  Karamazov. Vanka never lets down his guard in dealing with others, and resultantly is the only truly successful and fulfilled character in the novel

The debate of whether to trust everyone until he or she errs, or to be guarded against the motives of others is not lost in history, literature, or current events. Each tells us that it is far better and even necessary to doubt the motives of our cohort

(*Note: when you read “Filler…” in the SAT essay example, I just mean to write pretty much anything that is on topic—it doesn’t matter.)

And… done. ..

4 Things You Need To Do For A Perfect SAT Essay Score

Were you able to identify any of the four characteristics that make the example assignment answer earn a perfect SAT essay score?

They might be more obvious than you think!

What Earns A Perfect SAT Essay Score?

In a nutshell…

  • A lot of writing
  • Very high-level examples
  • Clean, easy to follow logic

That’s all it takes.

That wasn’t so difficult, right?

SAT Essay Scoring FAQ

What is the most important thing to do when writing an ACT and SAT essay? Is it development, mechanics, originality or something else?

In this order:

  • You have to write legibly. If they can’t read it, you’re going to do very poorly.
  • You have to abide by the standard conventions of English. If you do not use complete sentences, if you avoid punctuation, or if you abuse capitalization or paragraph rules, you will do very poorly.
  • You must address the question. Immaculate writing that is off-topic will receive a very low score.
  • Clearly identify your points.
  • Develop your points
  • Use strong varied language
  • Use unique arguments
  • Be original

How Can I Cheat on the SAT?

I am assuming your intentions are to explore the question as an intellectual experiment, and not to actually cheat on the SAT . With that in mind, the way most people are able to cheat on the SAT is mostly through one of the following methods:

  • identity fraud
  • access to the material early (either by accident or intentionally)
  • communication during the test

I suggest reading my article, How Can I Cheat on the SAT? , for more insight on this controversial topic.

When should my student take the SAT?

Unfortunately, there is no one single answer to this question. It depends on many factors including where your student is starting out from, which school they hope to get into, and how much prep time they will need. I wrote a comprehensive guide on when to take the SAT which includes many helpful and actionable tips to help you formulate the perfect plan for SAT test prep and when the best time for your student is to take the SAT. Read When To Take The SAT: Ideal Timeline .

Can you get a good score on the SAT if you’re taking it for the first time and studied for only a month?

That depends on what your starting score is and on what you consider “good.” There are too many factors to be able to answer this with any sense of certainty.

What I can tell you is how to make sure you have the highest likelihood of the largest improvement in the time you have. The tips and test prep techniques I outline in this article will show you how to do just that.

Does “Test Optional” mean optional for me?

We are all familiar with the difference between “optional” (it makes no difference whether you do or don’t) and “ optional ” (technically you can choose this, but you probably shouldn’t).

Just because a school touts a “testing optional” policy does not mean that they want all their applicants to forgo tests. However, the answer to this question depends on some specifics that will vary among students.

Read this article to help you understand what “testing optional” really means for students like you .

Everything You Need To Know About The SAT and ACT Tests:

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Boost Your SAT Score 100 Points Or More

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Remember, the SAT essay score is only one portion of the SAT test.

(Not to mention the SAT essay is technically optional .)

Many of the Ivy League schools don’t require the essay portion of the test , although I do recommend that students still complete the essay .

While the tips we’ve just covered will help you earn higher marks on the essay, it’s even more important to study and prep for the main sections of the SAT.

Here’s why:

Getting accepted to a top-tier college or university is more competitive than ever—and along with GPA and extracurricular activities, your child’s SAT score is one of the most important factors for gaining acceptance to the Ivy Leagues or other elite schools.

It’s also the only factor that can be substantially improved in a short period of time.

At Powerful Prep, we have a proven test prep method that does just that.

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Get That High SAT Essay Score With These Tips

NOTE: The SAT Essay no longer exists as of 2024. The SAT has transitioned to a new digital format, which is radically different. For an updated guide to the new digital SAT, follow the link here.

You’ve decided to take the optional SAT Essay . You’re familiar with the essay’s format and instructions .

Now what does it take to get that high SAT Essay score?

The SAT Essay presents test-takers with a challenging task. Students must analyze an author’s argument and write a response that discusses the components of that argument.

AP English and SAT test prep students are at an advantage here. But keep in mind that the SAT Essay comes last , when students’ brains are already pretty tired! 

The good news? It is possible to achieve that amazing SAT essay score.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to use those 50 minutes to get closer to that perfect score.

Here’s what we cover:

The Anatomy of a Perfect SAT Essay

Breakdown of a perfect sat essay response, your game plan for writing a stellar sat essay.

  • 10 Argument Techniques to Use in Your Essay  
  • Quick Ways to Improve Writing Quality

As a reminder, the SAT Essay requires students to read an argumentative essay and then analyze how the author uses various techniques to build his/her argument.  

SAT Essay Parts

What does a perfect SAT essay look like? 

SAT Essay Response Skeleton Structure

Notice how this skeleton structure looks a lot like a standard five-paragraph essay structure, commonly taught in high school.

Keep in mind, however, that on the SAT Essay, most students will likely only have time to compose two body paragraphs.  Plus, the introduction and conclusion paragraphs can consist of as few as two sentences .

Now, take a look at this SAT essay response that scored a 4 in each of the three categories: Analysis, Reading, and Writing. 

Notice how this response follows the skeleton structure we have just outlined.

Write an essay in which you explain how Paul Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience that natural darkness should be preserved. In your essay, analyze how Bogard uses one or more of the features in the directions that precede the passage (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.

[Find the full reading selection for this task here .]

Introduction 

  • Sentence 1: Restates the argument
  • Sentence 2: Thesis statement with three argument techniques
In response to our world’s growing reliance on artificial light, writer Paul Bogard argues that natural darkness should be preserved in his article “Let There be dark”. He effectively builds his argument by using a personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Sentence 1: Topic statement including argument technique and quote evidence of the technique
  • Sentence 2: Paraphrases quote and explain the effect on the audience
  • Sentence 3, 4: Continues to explain the effect of argument technique on the audience, the persuasive value of technique, and includes an additional quote reference
  • Sentence 5: Conclusion sentence
[ 1] Bogard starts his article off by recounting a personal story – a summer spent on a Minnesota lake where there was “woods so dark that [his] hands disappeared before [his] eyes.” [2] In telling this brief anecdote, Bogard challenges the audience to remember a time where they could fully amass themselves in natural darkness void of artificial light. [3] By drawing in his readers with a personal encounter about night darkness, the author means to establish the potential for beauty, glamour, and awe-inspiring mystery that genuine darkness can possess. [4] He builds his argument for the preservation of natural darkness by reminiscing for his readers a first-hand encounter that proves the “irreplaceable value of darkness.” [5] This anecdote provides a baseline of sorts for readers to find credence with the author’s claims.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Sentence 1: Topic statement includes argument type and includes two examples of the argument
  • Sentence 2,3,4: Explains the persuasive value of example 1 and effect on the audience
  • Sentence 5: Discusses example 2 and restates quote evidence
  • Sentence 6, 7, 8, 9: Paraphrases content relevant to example, explains the persuasive value of example 2, explains how the technique and example build the argument
[1] Bogard’s argument is also furthered by his use of allusion to art – Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – and modern history – Paris’ reputation as “The City of Light”. [2] By first referencing “Starry Night”, a painting generally considered to be undoubtedly beautiful, Bogard establishes that the natural magnificence of stars in a dark sky is definite. [3] A world absent of excess artificial light could potentially hold the key to a grand, glorious night sky like Van Gogh’s according to the writer. [4] This urges the readers to weigh the disadvantages of our world consumed by unnatural, vapid lighting. [5] Furthermore, Bogard’s alludes to Paris as “the famed ‘city of light’”. [6] He then goes on to state how Paris has taken steps to exercise more sustainable lighting practices. [7] By doing this, Bogard creates a dichotomy between Paris’ traditionally alluded-to name and the reality of what Paris is becoming – no longer “the city of light”, but more so “the city of light…before 2 AM”. [8] This furthers his line of argumentation because it shows how steps can be and are being taken to preserve natural darkness. [9] It shows that even a city that is literally famous for being constantly lit can practically address light pollution in a manner that preserves the beauty of both the city itself and the universe as a whole.

Body Paragraph 3

  • Sentence 1: Topic statement includes an argument technique
  • Sentence 2: Includes quote that includes evidence of the technique in action
  • Sentence 3,4: Explains the persuasive value of example 1 and effect on the audience
  • Sentence 5: Emphasizes how technique builds the argument
[1] Finally, Bogard makes subtle yet efficient use of rhetorical questioning to persuade his audience that natural darkness preservation is essential. [2] He asks the readers to consider “what the vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?” in a way that brutally plays to each of our emotions. [3] By asking this question, Bogard draws out heartfelt ponderance from his readers about the affecting power of an untainted night sky. This rhetorical question tugs at the readers’ heartstrings; while the reader may have seen an unobscured night skyline before, the possibility that their child or grandchild will never get the chance sways them to see as Bogard sees. [4] This strategy is definitively an appeal to pathos, forcing the audience to directly face an emotionally-charged inquiry that will surely spur some kind of response. [5] By doing this, Bogard develops his argument, adding guttural power to the idea that the issue of maintaining natural darkness is relevant and multifaceted.
  • Sentence 2: Restates thesis statement with three argument techniques
Writing as a reaction to his disappointment that artificial light has largely permeated the presence of natural darkness, Paul Bogard argues that we must preserve true, unaffected darkness. He builds this claim by making use of a personal anecdote, allusions, and rhetorical questioning.

The College Board also has other sample responses to this prompt. We recommend viewing these as well.

What steps can you take to get that perfect SAT essay score? Here’s your game plan!

Step 1: Read and Annotate (~ 3-5 minutes)

Read carefully and mark up your text before diving into your response. Underline the author’s central claim.  

Pay particular attention to the author’s argument techniques and make sure to underline evidence of these in action.

Step 2:  Make an Outline and Thesis Statement (~ 3-5 minutes)

Consider 2 or more key argument techniques, and connect these techniques to 

  • Specific examples from the text (IMPORTANT!)
  • The purpose and effect of these techniques on the audience (IMPORTANT!)

If you have done this step properly, your essay will almost write itself. You must also study and prepare argument strategies and purposes of these strategies before the test.  

In the next section, we will show you common argument strategies and their purposes.

Backup Thesis: If you are completely lost, you can almost always use this emergency thesis statement format:

In [ essay ], [ author ] uses a combination of evidence and emotional appeals to build his/her argument.

Step 3:  Write! (~ 35 minutes)

Follow a standard Intro + Body Paragraph + Conclusion model, using tips from our skeleton structure. 

We also recommend integrating advanced vocabulary and transition words (discussed later on in this post).

Step 4:  Revise! (~2-3 minutes)

Make sure to take a couple of minutes at the end to revise your essay for spelling, grammar, and, if possible, content.

You won’t be marked off for individual grammatical errors. However, if these errors impede the reader’s understanding of your response, you will lose points!

10 Argument Techniques to Use in Your Essay

The SAT Essay prompt ultimately tests students’ knowledge of argument techniques. These are the “building blocks” that make an argument compelling and persuasive.

We highly recommend you study commonly used argumentative /persuasive techniques and their purposes before you take the SAT Essay. 

Remember: a successful essay states the techniques used in the text and analyzes these techniques. It also thoroughly explains their impact on the reader.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a great start! Whenever you’re reading an article/essay with a main claim of any kind, see if you can detect these techniques in action.   

Quick Tips to Improve Writing Quality

What are some other ways you can improve your SAT essay score?

We recommend using advanced vocabulary and transition words.

Transition Words 

Transition words show the relationship between ideas. They can improve the flow and organization of your essay. 

This chart shows transition words that connect similar, contrasting, and cause-and-effect ideas.

Doing so will impress your SAT essay reader and influence your writing score.

Advanced Word Choice

Another way to quickly improve your writing score is to arm yourself with a very specific set of strong vocabulary words and phrases before the essay.  

You should certainly keep working on building your overall vocabulary. A shortcut for the SAT Essay, however, is to build a strong vocabulary that is related to the specific writing task (analyzing an argument and its effectiveness) and prepare to use strong words and phrases on the essay.  

Here’s a sample set of effective essay words.

Other writing tips that can improve your score:

  • Write legibly.
  • Write more than one page! Quality is always better than quantity, but your analysis should be substantial. 

The SAT Essay task may feel daunting, but now you have a range of strategies for improving your score. 

In addition to these strategies, we strongly recommend that students regularly practice SAT essay responses . Doing so with the help of a professional instructor can be particularly beneficial.

Please note that the CollegeBoard has decided to discontinue the SAT Essay after the June 2021 administration of the SAT. 

Kate is a graduate of Princeton University. Over the last decade, Kate has successfully mentored hundreds of students in all aspects of the college admissions process, including the SAT, ACT, and college application essay.

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The SAT Writing Section (Essay): Here’s What You Need to Know

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The SAT recently revamped itself to more accurately test what students learn in school. The new version is less deliberately tricky and confusing, but it’s still a challenging, exhausting test. Let’s say you’ve taken both the ACT and the SAT and you perform better on the SAT. Now that you’ve chosen it as your go-to test, how do you get through the essay portion, especially if you hate writing?

Fun fact: the SAT has plenty of new practice tests , which include essays. For the purposes of this post, I’ll be working from this practice essay , so it might be useful to have it open as you read. We’ll go through what’s expected, what scoring looks like, and how to go about writing the best essay you can.

Understand What You’re Being Asked to Do

The new SAT no longer asks you to make up ideas and references from scratch (which, honestly, is probably for the best). Instead, it provides you with an essay and asks you to analyze it, much in the same vein as an in-class analytical or an AP English Language essay.

The Assignment

The assignment reads as follows. At the top you’ll see a generic introduction for what to look for as you read:

As you read the passage below, consider how (the author of the passage) uses:

  • evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
  • reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
  • stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.

Then, at the bottom, the instructions get specific. For this essay, they read like this:

Write an essay in which you explain how Bobby Braun builds an argument to persuade his audience that the US government must continue to invest in NASA. In your essay, analyze how Braun 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 his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Braun’s claims, but rather explain how Braun builds an argument to persuade his audience.

What does this mean? Essentially, as you read, pick out the techniques the author uses to make his or her point, then write a detailed essay that covers a couple of the main ones. Brush up on your knowledge of literary terms and devices well in advance of writing the SAT essay. You don’t have to know them all, but know the most commonly used ones really well (tone, diction, imagery, simile/metaphor, allusion, rhetorical question, anecdote, and symbolism, to name a few) so you can rely on those. In an argumentative essay, like this one, an author will always use tone, diction (choice of words), and some kind of persuasion technique (Logos? Pathos? Ethos? Anecdote? etc.).

How is the essay scored? Two testers will read your essay and will provide a score of 1-4 on three different benchmarks: reading, analysis, and writing.

Did the writer understand the content? Did they quickly summarize the argument/point and then move quickly into their interpretation of it? Did they paraphrase and directly quote?

Did the writer not only identify the right literary terms/devices but assess their uses effectively? In other words, did the writer understand why the author used those devices and say so? Did the analysis integrate into the rest of the essay?

Is there a strong thesis, body paragraphs for each device, and a quick conclusion? (More on organization below.) Is the writing “strong,” i.e., sentence variety, no unnecessary words or repetition, strong words, and sophisticated reasoning?

The testers’ scores are then added together for an aggregate final score. So, a top score would be 8/8/8.

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Final Thoughts

Unless you’re being given extra time, you have exactly 50 minutes to complete the essay. This sounds like a lot (and it’s more than it used to be), but don’t be fooled. You’ll use the time.

Students with special accommodations might be able to take the test on a computer, but otherwise it’s a written test. Your test booklet will be scanned into a computer. If you make a mistake, don’t erase your work, because it causes smudges and can make it hard for the tester to read. Simply cross out and rewrite. The testers are trained not to read crossed-out material. If you’ve been told your handwriting is impossible to read, write a little more slowly than you might otherwise. Choose the style that’s more legible for you: print or cursive. When you write practice tests, give it to someone and ask if they can read it.

You’ll take the SAT essay last, after every other section has been completed. So you’ll be exhausted. There’s no way around that, unfortunately, beyond bringing snacks and water on test day and walking around during breaks to take the focus off your brain for a couple minutes. Practice is key; you’ll want to be able to read an essay quickly, pull out devices, and write a straightforward essay with a minimum of confusion and anxiety. Only practice and memorization of the right information will get you there.

As you prepare to take the SAT, take a look at some example essays that scored highly. It won’t be the same subject matter, but the structure and language will be aspects you can emulate.

Read with the Assignment in Mind

Imagine that your proctor has told you to turn to the essay section. You already know the basic assignment, so you can actually skip the top introduction and dive right in to the essay. Don’t get bogged down with unfamiliar words or the most complex sentences. You don’t need to absorb every single word of the essay. Read to find devices you can use. Circle them and ID them as you go. Don’t be picky right away—just observe and note what you see.

Go ahead and skim the bottom instructions, but even then the first sentence is the only really important one. In this case, the gist is: how does Braun persuade his audience to invest in NASA? Then, go back to the devices you found, and pick out the three strongest and/or most used devices to structure your essay. Can’t find three? Remember, an author always uses tone (point of view) and diction (word choice) so those are two easy ones if you’re stuck.

The process of reading and pulling out devices should take no more than eight minutes.

Make a Quick Outline

I know this one sound counterintuitive, given what I said about time limits, but bear with me. Just starting to write without a clear path is hugely problematic for timed essays. Even the best writers make a mental note of their general direction. Without planning, you might change directions mid-essay, forget your thesis and end up arguing something else, or wander off completely without realizing it.

The outline can be short and sweet. For example, with this practice essay, it could look like this:

Intro: Braun argues that continuing to invest in space tech and research keeps us competitive in the world economy. Devices: logos, imagery, allusion

Body 1: Logos (logic): paragraph 3, 5, 7

Body 2: Imagery: paragraph 4, 6

Body 3: Allusion: paragraph 8

Don’t even bother to include your conclusion in your outline. It’s pretty much the same content as your intro. Also, remember that you don’t need to tackle every aspect or device in the essay. Highlight where your devices are, then focus your analysis to those sections. In the outline above, I’ve structured the devices so that you’re going through the essay in almost chronological fashion. You don’t have to do this, but it makes the essay-writing a bit easier.

The process of outlining should take no more than two minutes.

Write Quickly but Methodically

Don’t waste a lot of breath with a big, drawn out introduction. State the argument of the author in one sentence, then your thesis, which should be a list of the three devices you plan to use. Keep it simple and easy, then move on.

For each body paragraph, make a quick topic sentence explaining which device you’re analyzing. Spend one sentence (ONLY one) summarizing how the author is using the device. Begin to use quotes or paraphrase; after each example, analyze why the author uses the device and the effect it has. About three quotes or examples are usually standard. Then, at the end of the paragraph, use one sentence to sum up the effect the device has on the whole essay. Use sample essays for examples of this structure.

See the numbers at the side of each paragraph? When you quote directly or summarize directly, put the number of the paragraph in parenthesis afterwards to cite where you’re getting the information from.

For your conclusion, simply restate what you’ve said before. If you’re feeling extra-confident, feel free to add a key takeaway from the analysis, but it’s not necessary. So, your conclusion can be two sentences just like your intro.

What if your writing style isn’t advanced or similar to the example essays? Work with a teacher or tutor who can help you develop your skills if you have the time. If not, just write simply and clearly. Don’t use overly technical words. Don’t make really long sentences just for the sake of doing so. Even simple, forceful language can be effective so long as your argument is good. So focus your attention on ensuring that you know what good analysis is and how to replicate it.

You’ll have 35 minutes to write. Keep an eye on the clock, but mostly just focus on writing quickly and clearly.

Leave a Few Minutes for Proofreading

Again, I know you’ll be flying through this essay at lightning speed to get everything done effectively. But this one’s important too. When you write quickly, grammar and spelling can fall by the wayside. That’s totally normal, so don’t freak out. But you will be graded on such aspects in your final score, so leave 5 minutes max at the end to skim through your essay, pinpoint where you made mistakes, cross out the word or phrase, and write the correct word or phrase above it. Try to make corrections clearly so that the tester knows which version to read.

And that’s it! Easy, right? (Totally kidding.) As with everything else, practice will help. If you’re not already doing this kind of essay in class, do a few practice essays at home. Make sure you do the EXACT process start to finish: time yourself, write an outline, and so on. Part of success is building the muscle memory to go into the essay with a solid base of experience and confidence that you’ll succeed.

Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

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SAT® Essay Example: How to Get a Perfect Scoring Essay

Looking for an example of an awesome SAT® Essay?  Further to our last post on the SAT® essay, below I’ve posted a full version of the essay I started in our video with 3 Tips to Improve Your SAT® Essay Score   (I made a few adjustments– I hadn’t finished writing it when I posted the first two paragraphs 🙂 ).

The essay is based on Prompt #3 from the SAT® Official Guide, which you can download free here.

To persuasively make the point that technology benefits young people, In her article, The Digital Parent Trap, Eliana Dockterman asserts the importance of the topic using statistics, acknowledges her counter arguments while providing dim evidence of their validity, and supports her own side by synthesizing multiple sources of authoritative evidence.

In the beginning of her essay, the author first establishes the importance of discussing this pressing issue, utilizing numbers to clearly illustrate her point. For example, she cites statistics to establish the widespread use of technology among children: “27% of them use tablets, 43% use smartphones, and 52% use laptops.” She capitalizes on the power of data to reveal how broad reaching the issue of children’s technology use is. Moreover, she establishes that the decision to put technology in kids’ hands is not only one that matters on an individual scale, but one that effects public policy: Los Angeles County “will spend $30 million on classroom iPads this year, outfitting 640,000 kids by late 2014.” If schools are rolling out technology in droves, the question of whether doing so is to their benefit certainly warrants consideration.  Furthermore, Dockterman uses numbers to also establish the lengths to which parents will go to stop the potential negative effects of digital device use: “Some (parents) are even paying as much as $24,000 to send their kids to monthlong ‘digital detox’ programs.”  Using such striking statistics, Dockterman captures the audience’s attention: this is an issue that must be discussed.  Furthermore, she builds a case that includes two sides with obviously passionate proponents: if both sides are fronting so much cash to protect their interests, a serious debate must be underway.

Next, Dockterman moves to explore her opposing arguments: what motivates parents and schools that choose to avoid technology when possible?  By very simply presenting the thoughts of Lucy Wurtz, an administrator of a school that completely eliminates the use of digital products, Dockterman shows the other side’s proponents to have little concrete evidence or logical reasoning to back up their claims. Wurtz’s explanation is rife with incongruity.  Her school’s policy “connects children to nature” but does not address why using a computer is so detrimental. The blindness insinuated by Wurtz’s comment “But I don’t see any benefit” further reminds people of the void of reasoning behind her argument.  Dockterman allows this faulty argument to speak for itself, laying the groundwork for the audience’s acceptance of her well supported claims to follow.

Dockterman furthers her argument by then presenting multiple sources of evidence that more thoroughly support her own side: that technology exposure does benefit kids. Using appeals to authority, Dockterman borrows arguments from multiple respected researchers in the fields of communication and social sciences to build her own argument’s credibility.  For example, she cites Mimi Ito, an anthropologist at the University of California at Irvine, who argues in favor of kids using social networking: “Online, kids can engage with specialized communities of interest” and are “no longer limited by what’s offered in school.” Ito further introduces the argument of interactivity, contending that “actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating” than just watching TV. Effectively Ito points to benefits technology offers, social engagement and active learning, that wouldn’t exist without these opportunities. Dockterman also cites education specialists, such as Shawn Jackson, principal of Spencer Tech, who encourages kids to use digital gadgets for a more practical reason: “If we’re not exposing our students to this stuff early, they’re going to be left behind.” Dockterman thus builds her point that without adoption of technology, our kids will be less social, less enriched and possibly left behind.  Thus, citing authorities, the author renders her argument more credible and convincing.

To fully convince her readers, Dockterman first establishes the importance of this debate, and then allows an academic conversation to unfold.  In the structure of the overall passage, the author utilizes a good amount of space for discussion of each viewpoint, including that of her opposition, allowing her point to seem more balanced and fair—even though she has clearly cited more reputable sources for her own point. Furthermore, she qualifies her own position, admitting its limitations and drawbacks. She admits, for example, “None of this means kids deserve unfettered access to the gadget of their choice.”  Clearly, young people should not have screen access 24-7.  Using these tropes of academic conversation, Dockterman keeps her argument convincing and reasonable, and reveals to readers how technology exposure is important to keep children competitive and engaged in our modern world.

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Saahas scored a 1570 on his sat. maximize your score, too., want to learn more nifty tricks check out more related posts.

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Join our mailing list for exclusive offers, akhil scored a 1590 on his sat. get your best score, too, john got a perfect score on his act with the help of our online course and one of our tutors, saahas got a 1570 on his sat. get your best score, too, yue raised her act score by 10 points raise your score, too, mohamad improved 320 points on his sat. get your best score, too, ismael improved his act score by 6 points. improve your score, too, leo improved 380 points on his sat & got accepted into harvard, colby scored a 35 on his act. get your best score, too.

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  1. How to Get a Perfect 8|8|8 SAT Essay Score

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VIDEO

  1. 3 Tips: Writing the Perfect SAT® Essay! CRUSH THE TEST!

  2. How To Write A Perfect SAT Essay

  3. How to Write a Good SAT Essay

  4. About the SAT Essay: What to expect

  5. How to Write the SAT Essay

  6. SAT ESSAY ✍️: Complete Guide with SAT TRICKS [2021]

COMMENTS

  1. 6 SAT Essay Examples to Answer Every Prompt

    Here are a couple of examples of statistics from an official SAT essay prompt, "Let There Be Dark" by Paul Bogard: Example: 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way. Example: In the United States and Western Europe, the amount of light in the sky increases an average of about 6% every year.

  2. SAT Essay Samples

    Essay Sample Response (High Scoring) "In response to our world's growing reliance on artificial light, writer Paul Bogard argues that natural darkness should be preserved in his article "Let There be dark". He effectively builds his argument by using a personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions.

  3. PDF The SAT® Practice Essay #1

    Adapted from Paul Bogard, "Let There Be Dark." ©2012 by Paul Bogard. Originally published in Los Angeles Times, December 21, 2012. At my family's cabin on a Minnesota lake, I knew woods so dark that my hands disappeared before my eyes. I knew night skies in which meteors left smoky trails across sugary spreads of stars.

  4. 5 SAT Essay Tips for a Great Score

    Here are 5 tips for writing a killer SAT essay, should you decide to add on that section: 1. Stay Objective. The thing to remember here is that ETS (the company that writes the test) is not asking you for your opinion on a topic or a text. So be sure to maintain formal style and an objective tone.

  5. How to Get a Perfect Score on the SAT Essay

    When you complete an SAT essay, two graders from CollegeBoard will score it, and they will give your essay a score from 1-4. Then, those two scores are added together to create your cumulative score, which can range anywhere from 2-8. If you receive a score of 8, that is a perfect score. When you are graded on your essay, you are graded on ...

  6. SAT Essay Prompts (10 Sample Questions)

    10 Official SAT Essay Prompts For Practice. Practice Test 1. "Write an essay in which you explain how Jimmy Carter builds an argument to persuade his audience that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should not be developed for industry.". Practice Test 2.

  7. PDF Practice Essay 1

    2 SAT PRACTICE ESSAY #1 SCORE EXPLANATIONS Student Sample 1 In this article, Paul Bogard talks about the dark. Paul gives many ideas about light and dark. It seems like Paul is a person who likes the dark. He is facinated in the night skies. He gives many pros and cons about the dark. The dark isn't

  8. What Is the SAT Essay?

    College Board. February 28, 2024. The SAT Essay section is a lot like a typical writing assignment in which you're asked to read and analyze a passage and then produce an essay in response to a single prompt about that passage. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your reading, analysis, and writing skills—which are critical to ...

  9. How to Write a SAT Essay: Outline, Tips, Examples

    A winning SAT essay requires a range of specific skills for the top result. In this article from the cheap essay writing service EssayPro, we will discuss how to write SAT essay and get that SAT essay score for college admission. This includes the definition, preparation steps, time-management, SAT essay outline, tips, and examples.

  10. 8 Best SAT Essay Examples To Prepare For Your Test

    Based on the examples you choose, you will ultimately have to decide when fame is a good thing and when fame is a bad thing. The answer varies from person to person, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer. You simply need to write a strong essay that supports your point of view. 6. Truth and Lies.

  11. SAT Essay Scores: How To Get A Perfect Score

    Based on the criteria from above, a perfect score on the SAT essay would be three scores of 8. In other words, you will need to score a 4 from each scorer in each dimension. Here's what a perfect score on the SAT essay will look like: Reading Score. Analysis Score. Writing Score.

  12. Get That High SAT Essay Score With These Tips

    Breakdown of a Perfect SAT Essay Response. Now, take a look at this SAT essay response that scored a 4 in each of the three categories: Analysis, Reading, and Writing. ... (analyzing an argument and its effectiveness) and prepare to use strong words and phrases on the essay. Here's a sample set of effective essay words. Vivid: Cogent ...

  13. The SAT Writing Section (Essay): Here's What You Need to Know

    For example, with this practice essay, it could look like this: Intro: Braun argues that continuing to invest in space tech and research keeps us competitive in the world economy. Devices: logos, imagery, allusion. Body 1: Logos (logic): paragraph 3, 5, 7. Body 2: Imagery: paragraph 4, 6. Body 3: Allusion: paragraph 8.

  14. Perfect SAT Essay in 4 Steps

    To get a perfect score on the SAT essay you will need to practice, and practice is more productive with feedback. If you have any questions you can reach out to us at 650-273-7258 or by email at [email protected].

  15. SAT® Essay Example: How to Get a Perfect Scoring Essay

    In the beginning of her essay, the author first establishes the importance of discussing this pressing issue, utilizing numbers to clearly illustrate her point. For example, she cites statistics to establish the widespread use of technology among children: "27% of them use tablets, 43% use smartphones, and 52% use laptops.".

  16. Khan Academy

    Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more. Khan Academy is a nonprofit with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

  17. Example of a Great Essay

    This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people's social and cultural lives.