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How to write an SAT essay

How to write an SAT essay

This is a more interesting form of essay writing that is commonly used to assess your reading, analytical and writing skills. The SAT essay involves commenting on the author's way of assembling the arguments. Kindly note that your opinion should not be included in an essay, neither should be restating the author's argument. To write an SAT essay, you are provided with a passage consisting of between 650 to 750 words. You use information obtained from the passage to identify the author's point and analyze how the author builds on their argument to persuade the reader. Most importantly, to write this essay needs proper time management as you are only provided with 50 minutes to write the essay.

Writing an SAT essay has 4 main steps; reading, analyzing, writing and revision. This should be distributed within the provided 50 minutes of writing the essay. Come up with a time combination in relation to the four stages that works for you and allows you to write the best possible essay. However, it is definite to allocate more time to some of these stages such as the writing stage.

  1. Reading

The reading strategy varies depending on whether you are a first or a slow reader. In either case, the need to work under pressure is solidified. You may choose to read or skim through as long as you gather the main points crucial to writing your essay. When conducting the read in detail, focus on the techniques used to build on arguments. Ultimately, it is essential to remain open-minded while reading the passage. Note down key points that you identify; makes it easy to find them when analyzing thus saves on time.

  1. Analyzing

This precedes the writing stage as it allows you to develop an outline for your work. Many skip this stage but I would consider it mandatory as it will guide your essay writing. It promotes writing in a logical sequence. From the key points identified, conduct an analysis and prepare an outline. Decide on which point will succeed which one. Furthermore, locate evidence to your main ideas and number them. This makes it easier to write an essay without delays of having to search for evidence.

  1. Writing

If an analysis has been done and a proper outline developed, not much of moving back and forth from the passage to the essay is done. Writing is done without obstacles. Your essay should include an introduction, body and a conclusion. The introduction is where you state your thesis statement. Do not restate the prompt when writing your essay. In the body, state your key points and evidence them with text obtained from the passage. The key points should be in support of your thesis statement. Finally, conclude your work with a summary of your main points and possibly an insightful statement.

  1. Revision

In spite of the limit of time, set aside a few minutes to go through your essay. Conduct an edit on places with errors or areas you find your point was improperly addressed.

Dos and don’ts of writing an SAT essay

Do provide a thesis statement. The statement involves making the audience understand whether you found the author convincing or not.

Illustrate specific examples and reference ideas from the text provided. Use paraphrasing or direct quoting skills to illustrate examples one at a time and react to these ideas accordingly.

Provide a summary of your main points at the end e.g. restate your thesis statement. Ensure not to add new evidence. It is best when you conclude with something crafty and intuitive.


Avoid complicating your sentence structure. Often, people seek to impress using grammar. Use of particular punctuation marks to prove literacy capabilities or the use of synonyms doesn’t necessarily stir the audience. Improved language is not worth the risk of possible grammatical errors. Effective communication of ideas is preferred.

Avoid expressing uncertainty. Use of phrases such as ‘I think’ is distaste to the audience. Be direct, simple and concise

Avoid repetition. Distinctively state your point and build on it. Repetition bores the reader of your essay.