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Optional SAT Essay Writing Prep

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SAT Essay

Writing Tips for the SAT Essay

By: Bani Randhawa

Writing an essay on a time crunch can be a really scary thing, so it’s important to have a toolkit you can fall back on in case you get stuck. Here are some tips that can help you succeed on a test day:


The most important part of writing an essay is to understand what you are (and are not) writing about. You’re probably reading this and thinking, “well, duh!”, but it’s easy to go off on a tangent- especially when you’re not entirely sure how to answer the exact question being posed- and turn that into your essay because you feel more confident about it. This is a common trap to fall into, and graders know that, which is why it’s something that you can lose points for.


So what are you supposed to do if you read the prompt for the first time and freak out because you have no idea how to approach it? Spend some time making an outline instead of rushing into jotting down the first thing that comes into your head. It’s always better to have a shorter essay that is well-developed and directly addresses the prompt than a longer one that rambles about unrelated things. Working out the kinks in your argument before you begin writing (and not when you’re already 20 minutes in) is your best bet.


Although you’re on a time crunch, it’s important to set aside some time to review what you wrote. Again, it’s more important to turn in a shorter but better essay than a longer rambling one, so your last 5 minutes are always best spent reviewing and tweaking your work. Graders know you didn’t have an infinite amount of time to write, so it’s okay to cross-through sentences you don’t want anymore and write new ones in the margins.


Incorporate these tips into your practicing so that they become second nature by test day, and you’ll quickly see that the SAT Essay is nothing you can’t prepare for!


Bani R. is a junior at Northwestern studying Economics


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