Make sure you have a good balance between quality and quantity, and don't burn through all 14 of the real prompts in a row— take the time to learn from your experiences writing the practice essays. This doesn't just mean identifying a technique, like asking a rhetorical question, but explaining why it is persuasive and what effect it has on the reader in the context of a particular topic.
We have more information on this step in our article about 6 SAT persuasive devices you can use. No extra time allowed! Choose the prompts you think will be the hardest for you so that you can so that you're prepared for the worst when the test day comes. For instance, the passage about the plastic bag ban in California Official SAT Study Guide sample essay prompt 2, above has a counterpoint here —you could try analyzing and writing about that article as well. We've written a ton of helpful resources on the SAT essay.
I f you're just getting started, we recommend beginning with our top SAT essay tips for a quick overview of the essay task and what you need to know. A little more familiar with the SAT essay but still not quite sure how to write one? Follow along with our step-by-step guide to writing the SAT essay. Looking to earn a high score? Learn what it takes to get the highest score possible on the SAT essay here. Plus, if you want a reference linking you to all of our great articles on the SAT essay, be sure to check out our ultimate SAT essay guide.
Check out our best-in-class online SAT prep program. Our program is entirely online, and it customizes your prep program to your strengths and weaknesses. We also have expert instructors who can grade every one of your practice SAT essays, giving feedback on how to improve your score. How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? How to Get a Perfect 4. How to Write an Amazing College Essay. A Comprehensive Guide. Choose Your Test. Overview SAT essay prompts always keep to the same basic format.
Every time, before the passage, you'll see the following: As you read the passage below, consider how [the author] uses evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
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SAT Essay Topics
Find Out How. Get the latest articles and test prep tips! Looking for Graduate School Test Prep? Policies are typically finalized in late spring or during the summer. A common question regarding SAT scores is whether the whole mess can be avoided by skipping the essay.
WHAT IS THE SAT ESSAY
Despite serious misgivings about the test and the ways scores are interpreted, Compass still recommends that most students take the essay unless they are certain that they will not be applying to any of the colleges requiring or recommending it. Almost all Compass students take the SAT Essay at least once to insure that they do not miss out on educational opportunities.
In addition to practicing exercises and tests, most students can perform well enough on the SAT Essay after 1—2 hours of tutoring. Students taking a Compass practice SAT will also receive a scored essay. ACT makes it difficult to obtain a copy of your Writing essay, but College Board includes it as part of your online report. Yes, colleges are provided with student essays. We know of very few circumstances where SAT Essay reading is regularly conducted. Schools do not always list this policy on their website or in their application materials, so it is hard to have a comprehensive list. We recommend contacting colleges for more information.
In general, the essay will have little to no impact at colleges that do not require or recommend it. Art graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he was the top-ranked liberal arts student in his class. Art pioneered the one-on-one approach to test prep in California in and co-founded Compass Education Group in in order to bring the best ideas and tutors into students' homes and computers. G, Thank you for the kind words. At Compass, we like to think of ourselves as the experts in testing and test prep.
Answering questions gives us insight that we might otherwise miss. Question regarding what I believe is a unique situation.
This was prior to him ever taking algebra, and therefore, we knew from the start that he would need to retake them in high school. We did opt to keep his scores in his record with the college board. He scored a on verbal and on math. When he retakes the SAT, I was thinking he should NOT redo the essay, because if anything, it seems to be a fair chance his score could drop. Would you agree, or am I not thinking about this the right way?
There is a decent chance that the SAT Essay will be dead by the time he applies. I would go ahead and have him retest with the essay unless it has disappeared. Some schools will not use his early scores. Thank you very much for the input! He recently turned 14 and is about to start 9th grade. Interesting to hear that the essay may be gone by the time he takes it. In addition to the University of California system, there are only a handful — and not a full handful — of schools still requiring the essay.
I am planning on retaking the SAT again, but should I also retake the essay? Thank you! Devmika, Your essay score is fine for most schools and is inline with your SAT scores. I hate doing it, but I usually recommend that students retake the essay. Having two full tests gives you the most flexibility. I am happy with the essay score, so if I take it without the essay in August, is that acceptable for UC applications?
I am targeting UC Berkeley. I am unsure if the SAT and essay scores that I submit need to be from the same date. Thank you. Kitt, UC is one of the only schools that expects students to take the Essay with every submitted test. I would not risk taking the test without the essay. Shortly after he received his scores, the only school he plans to apply to that required an essay reversed policy and no longer requires it. My questions regard submitting scores to colleges during the application process. If not required to do otherwise, should he only submit the better ACT score, in order to avoid submitting the SAT essay ?
He would prefer not to test again. He is applying to East Coast schools. His 35 is definitely the stronger score. Yes, his Math is a bit better than his 32 on the ACT, but superscoring is not done across tests. And his 36s more than make up for it. Would you recommend he retake it to get the essay score up? The Essay plays a small enough role that I would not let it drive his testing decisions. If his primary focus is on the UCs, keep in mind that they will consider his highest scores from a single administration. So if he decides to retest and does worse, it will not hurt his chances.
Hello Mr. Art, I finished my SAT in my 10th grade and got a score of and an essay score of Eventhough I was not planning to retake it, my school has a graduation requirement to take the SAT in April for all juniors. I was planning to cancel the score as i was happy with my initial score but after the test I feel i should not cancel as I did very well in the essay this year and should defenitely score around Is it okay for the SAT score to go down a little and essay to go up. Do you think I am making the right choice by not cancelling it?
I would not cancel. I have a strong CV, with national and international awards at science Olympiads among other things. Do you think I should retake, mainly to boost my essay score? Argy, I would recommend retaking the exam — but not just because of your essay score.
Even at an excellent your score falls just at or below the average SAT scores for the colleges you mention. As you probably know, admission can be particularly competitive for international students. Ok Thanks! You could see how you do in May and then decide if October is even necessary. I am an A minus-A student at a very highly rated and competitive High School. English is typically my best subject and I am taking AP Language and Composition this year with a weighted 99 average.
Adam, Generally I tell students not to worry once their scores are at least in the teens. I have no doubt that you can improve. The question then becomes, is it worth it and how much do you want it. Many of the schools on your list superscore or accept Score Choice, so dropping from a would not hurt you. Yale, though, is an example of a college that wants all scores.
So a retest is not without its risks. Improving a is not easy to do, and I only recommend it if a student feels really motivated. You might want to consider the August SAT date. Even though they are only recommended at many colleges, they can help improve your testing portfolio. I recently took the March SAT and received a math, reading and writing which I was extremely happy about.
However, my happiness ended when I saw that my essay score was I thought this was extremely surprising considering my score from the August SAT was and that was before I started taking APLang at my high school. Should I retake?
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My dad thinks that it will because most students applying to these colleges will have a high score like I do and a low essay score may lead to a rejection. Do you think this is true? Sophia, I would not recommend that you retake the test. A should not disadvantage you versus other applicants. There has to be something very unusual about an essay score for it to play a role, and your is not that unusual.
What is the SAT?
Score Choice and superscoring are common enough that some of the stress is reduced, but your AP results and Subject Tests — if you are planning on them — would be more important. For my scores in SAT it was total, for each but, by essay scores were should I take the test again? I would recommend looking at the SAT scores at colleges you are interested in to see how your stacks up.
I am a junior who just got their SAT scores back; I got a , of which I am proud of, but I did not score as well as I would have liked on the essay. I am in AP level writing classes and I thought I would do better. I am worried that the essay score might affect my chances at certain colleges mainly UNC Chapel Hill and Boston College, neither of which require the essay , so do you think it is necessary to retake the essay? I am not sure if it is better to try and improve my essay score or just leave it as it is.
Jenna, I would be proud of both your scores. Sometimes the analysis is an odd outlier. I would, however, consider retaking the SAT. Getting that higher would help even more than would an essay improvement. And is there an option to not send my first essay score to colleges? Carol, As you have probably read, I almost never recommend retesting due to an essay score. There is not an option to hide your essay score unless you use Score Choice and choose not to send your first score at all.
My son is a junior and just took the SAT in March the first time. He got a score of , However, his essay score was only 6,3,6. We are aiming for some good schools such as Georgia Tech, UPenn, etc. May I ask your advice whether we should retake the SAT? If so, should we take it without the essay?
Jessica, My rule of thumb is that a student scoring in the teens should not retest unless there are other reasons, such as a desire to raise a section score. Interesting that you should mention GA Tech, as its policy is now to not even look at the Essay score! The essay is simply not that important at most colleges. I just received my SAT scores from the March 9th test date, and I am a little disappointed with my SAT essay score of especially the 5 in reading.
Is it worth it to retake the essay? A is still a good score. I thought that I did well on the essay and I was confident going into it. I am in AP level English classes, and writing is one of my strong suits, but I think that the timing of the essay affected my score. I am worried that this might negatively impact my college admissions. I am planning on taking the June SAT to try and improve my composite score, and I am wondering if should I retake the essay as well.
None of the colleges I am applying to require the essay. Jenna, A total score of 15 is not that unusual in your score range. I would not retest just to raise your Essay score. My son is indeed a gifted writer and won our state writing contest. He took SAT on March 9, , and we just got his score back. He got on his SAT. He took the essay, but somehow, he also got the experimental section, which prolonged the entire test. He said that he could not finish his essay with badly needed going to the bathroom:.
So his essay was 6, 4, 8, which was very disappointing to him. I want to ask your opinion if he shall retake the SAT. I am bit concerned given is a pretty decent score, and retake may not improve the score, although he may get a higher essay score. Does SAT essay score really matter?
Thanks for your advice! Those students had originally been exempt from an experimental. Your son should not repeat. His application essays and his award will reflect his skills far more accurately than the SAT. Although anything can happen, on practice SATs from prepsholar I have been scoring in the range. Do you have any suggestions as to whether I should take the risk of doing the essay or not?
Harry, Few colleges require the essay. The University of California system and the United States Military Academy may stick with it for a little while longer. That said, several prominent colleges still recommend the essay, and I usually still recommend taking it. You would have to do pretty poorly to actually damage your chances of admission. Have your tried the automated Khan Academy essay scorer? On the old SAT essay, a good writer could wing it and do well. The current essay requires a bit more thought and structure.
Hi, I am an international student and I took the sat last year when I was in grade I did receive a decent composite score but my essay score was a I still thought it was ok until my teachers told me that the essay score should be improved, and now I am considering retaking the test. Should I? Especially since I was under time attack my handwriting was even worse, and now I fear that my messy essay itself would be a great disadvantage, let alone the score.
Jessica, You should not retake the SAT because of your Could it be improved? Your teachers presumably think highly of your writing skills, so you might be able to do better on a repeat testing. Will it strengthen your application? For example, if you had a and an application that read like it came from a prize-winning novelist, it might raise an eyebrow.
Should I retake to improve my essay, especially since I got a 4 in one of the sections? Maria, A 17 total is a good score for the essay. Should I retake essay portion? I see where these essay tests are not required but recommended for college admissions. Do I have to send essay scores if I take essay portion? None of these schools require it. Every application keeps saying I need to enter in a score from , but the essay scores are three parts. Would you be able to help me?
Isabella, Do you have an example or two? The Common App has a single field that has you add up your three scores to get a value this is not actually what College Board intended, but it is how many colleges deal with the 3 essay domain scores. You are absolutely correct that there is no such thing as a Essay score. Thanks, Maddie.
Maddie, Your essay score will not hinder your application. Your , of course, is well above typical. You should be very proud. Bhavya, Sorry for the late reply. If you are not planning on applying to a University of California campus, you should be OK skipping the essay on your next sitting. We are applying to the good schools.
6 SAT Essay Examples to Answer Every Prompt
Your response is greatly appreciated. Sure, it would be nice to show an versus a , but the practical impact is virtually nil. On the other hand, I think there is a danger in showing the Even colleges that say they superscore sometimes make all scores available to admission officers. Could she get eliminated or filtered out early if she goes with SAT Essay score? The Essay is by far the least important score component. Admission offices are more likely to favor what students are capable of, not their lowest scores.
I still believe that sending both scores is the best decision. The Subject Scores will certainly help her testing portfolio. My daughter really wants to apply with the SAT score even though her Essay Scores are lower at Which of the above 2 scores gives her a better chance? If, for some reason, only one score could be submitted, I would probably side with your daughter — although, honestly, those scores are very close.
There is no such restriction, though, so I would send them both. Pomona, in fact, requires all scores. Seo Yeun, Not many colleges report essay scores. The closest analogue that does report scores is UC Berkeley. Do you think that you have a better score in you? If you nail the March test, you can decide whether or not to keep the essay under wraps. One argument for sending it would be that you are an international students. Your scores might actually put their minds at ease. I was wondering if I should retake? I plan on applying to colleges like Rice, Northwestern, Cornell, Emory, etc.
Sara, Those are actually excellent essay scores. Do not retake just to get a higher essay score. I am planning to apply to some Ivy League colleges, such as Brown, and I think Brown requires the essay. So again, should i retake everything? Av, The good news is that none of the Ivy League colleges require the essay.
In fact, virtually every college and university has dropped the essay requirement outside of the University of California and West Point. The risk of repeating is that your might go down — especially since you already maxed out your Math score. Depending on where you are applying and their policies on Score Choice and superscoring, that risk may not matter. Tiffany, I generally recommend against repeating the SAT just to improve an essay score.
Since the UCs will use your highest score, there is no risk if you do decide to re-test. The first time I took it I got a with a on the essay. The second time I got a with a on the essay. Lucy, Unless a college requires all scores, send only your The essay is simply too minor a factor to drive this decision — and, again, your is just fine as is. And his essay score was He will retake the SAT in December. None of the schools he will apply requires or recommends the SAT Essay. Or should he skip the Essay portion in December?
Just one more thing. So, is it better to retake the SAT essay to improve the chance? Thank you very much. John, While most schools will simply ignore the essay score, there is no guarantee that this will be true in all cases. If he feels that he can do better on the essay, I would include it in December. Hello, I am an international student. I took sat twice.
The first time was without an essay and scores were ERW: and M: I also took subject tests Math 2: and Physics: Which scores do you recommend to send? Oleksii, First, you might want to consider which colleges will superscore your results or only consider your highest overall performance. That makes the decision easier, since you can send both scores. Your scores are not that dissimilar.
The SAT Essay 12222-2020: What to Expect
We did not realize she would have to send the scores of the essay. She is in range or on the cusp with the for most of her schools she will apply for. None of the schools require the essay, do you think she should take the SAT without essay again in hopes of equaling her score or better, so she can send scores without the essay. Time will soon is also a factor? Thank you for any advice you can provide.
Herb, There are very few times when I recommend a retest based on an essay score. Her is not unusual for a student in her score range. The most common score is , so she did a bit better in two of the domains and a bit worse in Analysis where almost everyone struggles somewhat.
None of her schools requires the essay, and it is likely that they will not care at all. If she thinks she can and wants to improve upon her , then she should go fo it without essay.