How to Write an SAT Essay (Or Any Essay for That Matter)

Since 2005 the SAT exam has featured a section requiring test-takers to write an essay. This essay is aimed at gauging both a student's writing ability as well as critical thinking. In recent years there has also been a growing disparity between the grades received on the quantitative section and the verbal section. Student's develop anxiety over these less popular sections of the exam and any unnecessary stress makes test-taking that much more difficult. The goal to mastering writing an essay is to understand that written language is a tool of communication. Your writing will only be as strong as your idea. The way to develop as a writer is to develop as a thinker. Here are several key methods that can make writing an essay not only painless, but also possibly even enjoyable.

  1. What's your thesis?

    Remembering my days in High School, the word thesis was always associated with the conclusion of the first paragraph of an essay. This school of thought should be tossed out the window and replaced with something that can be understood as opposed to just memorized. The thesis is the idea, the argument, the reason why you're writing a piece in the first place. The thesis of this article is that these tips will help you write a great essay. Before putting pencil to paper you should always decide what it is you want to say. What do you believe, what do you know to be true? Prepare your argument as if you are debating basketball players with a friend, or what movie is funnier, or what beach is more relaxing. There needs to be passion behind your thesis so make sure to really think about it.

  2. Defend your ideas

    You have decided what the thesis of your essay will be. Anyone reading your work does not abide by a rule where they must automatically accept your word as fact. In fact, people reading your essay will approach your essay with skepticism and doubt because chances are you are not yet an accredited professional of the field you are writing about. After you decide what your argument (thesis) will be for the essay you need to plot out the reasons why you're right. These arguments need to be convincing and logical. When explaining that a certain athlete is the best of his or her generation you would present their various career statistics and accolades. When writing an essay you should use supporting evidence to defend your ideas. Simply ask yourself, why do YOU believe your ideas. Why do your ideas make sense to you.

  3. One sentence, one thought

    When writing an essay it can become very easy to confuse the reader. The ideas all make sense to you as a whole, however, the reader is as ignorant to your argument as a five year old would be. It is your responsibility to make sure that every idea is communicated clearly and that the reader walks away with a full understanding of your argument.

Our culture has changed so much in the last several decades that the use of language as communication has taken a back seat to technology. Clicking LIKE or up and down voting items has become deemed expression. One should never blindly accept that verbal skills are their weak point, these are just skills that haven't been fully developed. Getting back to the basics of reading and using words, as many as possible, to express as specific an idea as possible is the best way to make a large portion of the SAT exam a little less stressful. The best part is, this new learned information and appreciation for verbal communication will help your studies in College and any professional task further on the road.