Top 5 SAT Writing Prep Tips

Top 5 SAT Writing Prep Tips

Nov 14

Preparing for the SAT may seem overwhelming and daunting for many test takers when they begin studying for the writing portion of the SAT. If you study the right way and study to the test, you will find that you can succeed on the SAT writing section. Developing good test prep strategies and becoming familiar with the SAT writing section will ensure that you are best prepared for this exam.

  1. Read the entire question before you being any portion of the writing section of the SAT. The questions will explain the issue for your consideration and will also provide a short paragraph explaining the expectations of the assignment. A common mistake many test takers make is that they assume the know what the questions is asking and skip ahead without reading the entire questions from start to finish. To avoid doing this on the actual exam, be sure to get in the habit of reading all writing questions thoroughly so that you don’t miss any valuable information that can help you answer the question to the best of your ability.
  2. Pick a side and stick to it. Avoid the “middle of the road” approach because it will leave you with a weak argument that is tough to support. SAT writing samples will often ask you to support an opinion or idea presented. You should always pick a side and completely support that opinion whether it is your actual opinion or not. Choose the side that has the most evidence so that you will be able to support the opinion in your writing.
  3. Be focused and specific in your writing samples. Any time you answer a question it is helpful to be detailed and comprehensive in your response. Oftentimes test takers will try to think of as many examples to support their claim as possible. This actually backfires, and the writing response is left seeming scattered, unorganized and vague. Too many short, brief examples will detract from you argument. It is better to focus on one or two really solid examples and go into detail to use them as support for your argument. One thoughtful, solid example will be more convincing and persuasive than too many ideas, which come across as rushed and thoughtless.
  4. Read sample essays to see what scorers are looking for. Often websites such as Collegboard.com will offer students sample essays from previous SAT exams to show what type of work earns a high or low score and everything in between. These exemplars will give you and idea of what a strong essay looks like including the examples used, the tone and writing skills as well as many other factors.
  5. Get into the habit of using writing outlines. While it may be temping to jump right in for the sake of time, using an outline is essential to crafting a well thought out and organized SAT essay or short answer response. Take a few quick minutes to draft out a bulleted list of what each of your 5 paragraphs will consist of so that once you start writing you have a roadmap, instead of writing aimlessly. An outline helps you to see the big picture so that you can incorporate all the necessary elements to support your case thoughtfully.

Utilizing all of these test-taking tips as you prep for the SAT as well as during the test itself can help you to successfully achieve the writing section score you are hoping for.Whether you study on your own or you use online tutoring, it is best to practice the way you want to perform on the SAT, so start developing good habits during your study time so that when the big test arrives you will have well established test-taking strategies such as reading the entire question first, choosing a side, giving specific examples, understanding what scorers are looking for based on sample essays, and using outlines before writing.