Thursday, June 7, 2007

SAT essay tips

I found some useful information on formatting the SAT Essay.

Before going into the SAT, your student should have a stash of examples from history, literature, science, current events or personal experiences that can illustrate different points - such as character qualities and struggles either to achieve, overcome or survive. If they make an effort to build up their reserve of illustrative examples, their mind will be trained to recall examples they may not have even thought of. It's really about training their mind to think analytically and to analogize a situation and make it global.

The key to impressing the reader is with the details you present in your example, use names, dates and details that seem unimportant. These things add meaning to your analogy.

There are a couple of different formats you could use for the SAT. One is the typical five point essay you would use for any college essay test. However, I just read a couple of others ideas for formatting the SAT. They seem better suited to using a very detailed example.

The first is to pick one very good example about which you will explain great detail in two paragraphs. Begin with your thesis statement, stating your position. Then, you will go into the example, using two paragraphs to explain it. Then, your fourth paragraph will discuss and explain how your example clearly proves your position. Your concluding paragraph will apply your example to other situations and explain how it applies globally to prove your position on an even bigger scale.

The second is to use two examples to illustrate two separate, supporting points. From our experience so far, it has been very difficult to explain more than two examples with much detail in only twenty five minutes.

A top scoring essay will be insightful and well organized. I've been using SAT essay prompts I've found on various sites on the internet and giving my daughter one timed and one untimed essay each week. Then, we go through each paragraph and discuss how it could have been more insightful, more detailed and more applicable. By doing this, I believe I'm helping her get into the habit of thinking more critically and making analogies by applying her knowledge of history and literature to life.

1 comment:

Rodney said...

Essays which have several examples score better than just one or two examples. Shoot for 3-4 examples. One paragraph to cover each for your best bet at a high score.

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