SAT essay questions
Essay • January 20, 2011
Table of Contents
How to answer a SAT essay question?
College Board, a neutral body, conducts “SAT Reasoning tests”. The test seeks to measure the reasoning, subject, math, reading and writing skills of college aspirants. Many accept SAT as a standardized scale to assess the suitability of diverse school pupils, for higher studies.
SAT comprises of SAT I and SAT-II. SAT II deals with specific subjects of higher study. SAT I has three sections of Critical Reading, Mathematics, and writing. The time limit is 3 Hrs and 45 Minutes. The maximum score for SAT I is 2,400. All sections carry equal scores of 800 each. SAT essay question is in the Writing section. It carries approximately 30% of the total section score, i.e. 10% of the total SAT I score. In the present level of competition, your SAT essay question score is very important.
You should answer the entire Writing section within 60 Minutes. One SAT essay question with a 25 Minutes time limit starts this section.
This blog gives an idea of the type of SAT essay question topic in the post on scholarship essay contest under “descriptive topics”. It is similar to LSAT essays described in the blog post on law school essays-general types.
Two very senior academics, evaluate your essay. In case of disparity between the evaluations of these two, a third academic steps in to decide the issue by majority vote.
There are many sample SAT Essay prompts (Topics) in the internet. A prompt cites a famous quotation or a proposition and proceeds to ask a few questions. Your SAT essay should include your answers to these questions.
Here is a sample prompt
Discuss the underlying issues relating to the following idea.
“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” – The motto of the American Christopher Society, adapted from an ancient Chinese Proverb.
Assignment: Discuss whether the Fourth Estate does a good job by just pointing to an issue? Should nobody talk about any problem without a solution on hand?
The assignment questions present the proverb totally outside the context in which the American Christopher Society uses it. You should develop a clear and concise original perspective of the proverb in the light of the assignment. This is more of a test of clarity of thought and organization of ideas than your language skills. It is enough you minimize major language errors in your SAT essay. It should be in an accepted academic essay format. According to the College Board, a highly rated essay should have the following attributes.
- A well developed point of view of the prompt and assignment questions.
- Critical thought and appropriate examples.
- Clear organization of thought and well defined focus.
- Varied, accurate and apt vocabulary
- Meaningful sentence structures
- Acceptable level of grammar and spelling.
In addition the College Board says that the SAT essay should be “accessible” to pupils with English as a second language. They probably mean that your essay should not be verbose or pedantic.
Remember the time limit and practice actually writing on sample essay prompts.
Written by Martin Cardoso
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