The ESSAY on standard tests

THE SAT: The Essay

When the SAT was changed in 2005, the most significant change was the inclusion of a handwritten essay based on a prompt.   Every student is given 25 minutes to plan and compose a complete essay on an assigned topic.  The single best piece of advice that I think you need to know for the essay is that it is much more important how you technically write your essay than the content of the essay.

The rubric used to score the essay has six parameters, of which five are primarily concerned with the essential mechanics of the essay including:

  • presentation of a clear purpose of the essay and a thesis statement
  • proper use of sentences
  • proper use of grammar and spelling appropriate
  • use of vocabulary and word choice
  • organization and development of the essay

Only a more subjective “overall impression” is left to the opinion of the reader.  It should be clear that the overall presentation is what score points on the essay.  Each of the parameters is scored by the reader on a 1-6 scale and the scores are summed and averaged and rounded to the nearest integer.

To complete the essay, the student should take a short time, to plan and organize his thoughts prior to beginning writing.  Further, these plans should he used as an outline for the essay. Remember, you have only 25 minutes to produce a finished product including Proofreading and minor editing.

For more information on test preparation, or general academic tutoring, or a free educational personal evaluation of your child’s need, contact Steven Greene Ed.D. at mAke the grAde Academic Services at 215 540 TEST (8378) or www makethegrade.net

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