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Introduction to the SAT Writing Test

Here's a Sample of What You'll Be Learning
Of the three SAT tests—math, reading, and writing—the last is where you'll make the fastest gains, on the multiple-choice questions as well as on the essay. Because grammar is probably not a subject you've studied recently, if ever, you may feel that the proofreading and editing section isn't likely to be one of your stronger areas on the SAT. Fortunately, unlike the math and reading sections for which there's a fair amount of information or vocabulary to master, you don't need to know that much grammar. And what little you do need to know, I'll teach you.

I'll show you exactly what to expect and how to handle any challenge you might encounter on the Writing Test. For example, you'll learn:

  • The twelve simple grammatical and writing concepts that show up in the proofreading questions, and which four will account for half the errors you need to spot. Indeed, you'll learn precisely how many errors of each type you can expect to find!
  • A simple grammar rule that doubles your chances of finding the answer on one-third of the multiple-choice questions.
  • The four factors that most influence SAT essay graders—positively or negatively!
  • Three simple phrases that instantaneously jump-start your pencil if you get writer's block during your 25-minute essay section.
  • The specific types of supporting examples that most impress the SAT essay graders—and how to prepare those examples before you get to the exam room!
I promise you that no matter what you think of your essay-writing or grammar skills, these two sections will soon be your favorite part of the SAT.

A Few Words on the Essay
It's important to realize that the essay portion of the SAT Writing Test is a particular type of writing: not creative or informative but persuasive. You'll be asked to take a position on an issue (usually whether you agree or disagree with a general statement, or "prompt" ) and to back up that position with reasons and supporting examples drawn from your reading, experience, or observation.

Here are the kinds of essay prompts you can expect for your SAT essay topic:

  • Do the benefits of technology outweigh the costs?
  • Are our most challenging battles within ourselves rather than against others?
  • Is the opposite of a profound truth another profound truth?
  • Do circumstances sometimes require individuals to compromise or sacrifice their most strongly held personal values and beliefs?
  • Do we learn more from our mistakes and failures than we do from our successes?
  • To accomplish great things, must we dream as well as act?
As you can see, there is no single "right answer" for topics like these. First, you must decide whether you agree or disagree with the essay prompt. Then you write a 300- to 500-word essay explaining why or why not. Your grade will be based on two things: what you say and how you say it. In other words, how well do you justify your position? And do you express yourself clearly, coherently, and logically?

Next: Page 3 >>

From The RocketReview Revolution: The Ultimate Guide to the New SAT and the PSAT by Adam Robinson. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here.


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