Before we move to the tips, let us first understand what is SAT?
SAT or Scholastic Aptitude Test is an assessment conducted by the College Board, which is the first step towards admission in colleges in a plethora of countries, it is a combination of tests which measure the written, verbal and mathematical skills of the candidates. Conducted five times a year, the test spans over three hours followed by additional 50 minutes for the essay writing which is optional and marked out of 24.
Even though the essay is optional, attempting it would be prudent, since it showcases the analytical and writing skills of the candidate, additionally, many Universities like the Oxford and Cambridge, do take the essay scores into account along with the SAT scores. Therefore, it is important that one is aware of the nuances of essay writing, since it is quite different from the conventional essays at the school level. Since the scoring and test both are different, here are some tips which will help you sail through it smoothly -
1. Reading and understanding
The question is in the form of a passage, which has to be carefully read and understood. While reading the passage, it is important that you establish the main argument that the author is trying to make and the evidences he/she has used to back it up. Distinguishing the central point is the most important step while reading the passage, it would make it clear to the scorer that you've thoroughly understood the crux of it.
2. Eye-catching introduction -
Introduction sets the tone of your entire write-up, it is thus important that it comprises the main argument along with your interpretation of the passage. Since the introduction has to be brief, it will be appropriate if you are able to summarise your point in a couple of lines, don’t worry if it is not too explicit, because the explanation has to be in the main body of your essay. If you are unable to think of an introduction immediately, a wise step would be to leave five to ten lines in the beginning of the page. Once you have written the entire essay, you would be well aware of your interpretation of the author’s argument, you could then summarise is it in the introduction.
3. Vocabulary does the magic -
It is quite possible that other candidates might similar;ly interpret the main argument as you have, so it is important that you make your write-up stand out. Vocabulary is to the rescue. Try to use synonyms of regularly used words, wherever possible. Repetition will make your essay look dull and monotonous. Enhancing your vocabulary is something that takes time, thus reading previous years’ passages and understanding the pattern of the passage can help you in learning some words that can be commonly used for most of the themes. For example - sagacious, it means a person who is wise, you can use it for the following themes -
a. Environment- it is imperative that sagacious men make policies for the conservation of endangered species.
b. Morality- sagaciousness lies in the act of unbridled honesty and integrity. The point is to memorise words that can be used in multiple ways.
4. Prepare a rough draft -
Once you have thoroughly read the passage, jot down keywords/points that come to your mind. This will give you a primary idea of the flow of the essay, having a rough framework ready will save you a lot of time, which you can later use to proof-read the entire essay. Make sure that the rough draft has the central argument , around which your essay will revolve.
5. Practice sample papers -
50 minutes can pass in a jiffy if you do not manage your time. You must keep in mind that the majority of your time must be devoted to writing. Reading must not take longer than 7-8 minutes. Agility while reading can be easily achieved through practice during your preparation. Try reading passages from previous years papers, gauge how much time it takes in the beginning. Then, try to understand what is consuming most of your time, is it the language, the argument or the evidence that the author uses, once you have an idea, try to work upon your weakness, you can always work on your vocabulary from early on during your preparation, it will speed up your reading.
6. Proof - read -
The College Board expects your writing to be impeccable. Thus, it is important that your writing is free of grammatical errors and silly mistakes. Time management is the key to have sufficient time fir proof-reading. The lesser the errors, the better your marks. SAT essay is marked out of 24, thus, a score of around 20 is considered appreciable. Essay writing for SAT, would give you an opportunity to showcase your interpretational, analytical, grammatical and writing skills all together, so you are definitely going to have an edge over others if you attempt it. Preparation is for it is easy and if you keep the above mentioned points in mind, you will definitely sail through smoothly