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A few more things about your essay. Positioning: The strength and clarity of the position on the given topic. Examples: The relevance and development of the examples used to support your argument. Organization: The organization of each paragraph and of the essay overall.

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4 essential ingredients of a great sat essay

Positioning: The strength and clarity of the position on the given topic.

  • Examples: The relevance and development of the examples used to support your argument.
  • Organization: The organization of each paragraph and of the essay overall.
  • Command of Language: Sentence construction, grammar, and word choice.
4 essential ingredients of a great SAT Essay
1 positioning the strength and clarity of the position on the given topic

Make it clear and in your own words

  • The essay should be over 400 words in length. Research has found that 90% of essays over 400 words in length receive the highest score of 12.
#1 Positioning: The strength and clarity of the position on the given topic.
2 examples the relevance and development of the examples used to support your argument

The SAT Essay should use scholarly examples.

  • There should be two or three examples with at least one from literature. Examples from history are also good.
  • If an essay uses primarily personal experiences it is not a good guide to helping you learn as SAT graders don't score these as highly as essays that use content learned in school.
#2 Examples: The relevance and development of the examples used to support your argument.
3 organization the organization of each paragraph and of the essay overall

The essay must be organized into paragraphs.

  • At the minimum there is an introductory paragraph with at least a sentence or two. Then one paragraph to cover each example. And often a short conclusion.
  • If the essay has paragraphs that cover multiple examples it won't score as well and won't serve as a good example for your learning.
#3 Organization: The organization of each paragraph and of the essay overall.
4 command of language sentence construction grammar and word choice

The essay must make its points explicitly.

  • If you are reading an Essay that you must read between the lines to get or re-read in order to understand it is not a good essay.
  • Use higher level vocabulary
#4 Command of Language: Sentence construction, grammar, and word choice.
slide8

Make sure to start with your thesis statement (can be preceded by a quote, but needs to be within the first 2 sentences)

  • Write your supporting examples in cohesive sentence format in order from best/strongest to worst/weakest.
  • In summary your introduction:
    • Restates the essay prompt in your own words
    • Takes a clear side
    • Introduces your SAT essay evidence/examples
slide9

Prompt:

Consider carefully the following quotation and the assignment below it. Then plan and write an essay that explains your ideas as persuasively as possible. Keep in mind that the support you provide—both reasons and examples—will help make your view convincing to the reader.

                                                “There’s no success like failure.”

Assignment:

What is your view on the idea that success can begin with failure? In an essay, support your position using an example (or examples) from literature, the arts, history, current events, politics, science and technology, or from your personal experience or observation.

slide11

Learning the lessons taught by failure is a sure route to success. (THESIS) The United States of America can be seen as a success that emerged from failure: by learning from the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, the founding fathers were able to create the Constitution, the document on which America is built. ([1]) Google Inc., the popular Internet search engine, is another example of a success that arose from learning from failure, though in this case Google learned from the failures of its competitors. ([2]) Another example that shows how success can arise from failure is the story of Rod Johnson, who started a recruiting firm that arose from Johnson’s personal experience of being laid off. ([3])

why did it earn a 6

It takes a very strong and clear stance on the topic in the first sentence and sticks to it from start to finish.

  • It uses three examples from a very diverse array of disciplines—from Internet technology to history and politics to a profile of an entrepreneur—and it never veers from using these examples to support the thesis statement’s position.
  • The command of language remains solid throughout.
  • Sentence structure varies often, making the entire essay more interesting and engaging to the grader.
  • Finally, no significant grammar errors disrupt the overall excellence of this SAT essay.
Why did it earn a 6?
slide14

Failure can sometimes lead to success. (THESIS) Many Internet commerce businesses have learned from the terrible failures of the dot-com boom and bust, and today are in much stronger more successful positions than they were just a few years ago. ([1]). Another example proving that failure sometimes leads to success is that of Arnold “Arnie” Wagner, a heavy metal drummer who learned to play the drums in a better different style after a crippling car accident almost killed him and his band. ([2])

why did it earn a 4

The topic sentence/thesis is not resoundingly clear from the start: “Failure can sometimes lead to success.” The thesis statement is vague and makes the essay’s positioning wishy-washy.

  • It does use examples to support its position, but its examples are not as sophisticated or as varied as the examples in the 6 essay.
  • It contains only two examples. Though not disastrous, including only two examples limits the breadth of your support. It also makes the strength and quality of your examples all the more crucial, since having only two will make the grader scrutinize them more closely than if your support were spread over three examples.
Why did it earn a 4?
blue print practice 1

Prompt:“A little inaccuracy saves a world of explanation.” - C.E.Ayers

  • Assignment:Is it always essential to tell the truth, or are there circumstances in which it is better to lie? Plan your response, and then write an essay...
Blue Print Practice 1
thesis

Ok Thesis:

    • Telling the truth is always essential.
  • Better Thesis:
    • Truth is necessary at all times.
  • Even Better Thesis:
    • Lying is a path with many curves and bumps whose end is pain and destruction. Truth; however, is a clear and level path which leads to life.
Thesis
3 points

#1:

    • Lies have serious consequences
      • Example of Ananias & Saphira
  • #2:
    • Lies destroy trust
      • Example of “The boy who cried wolf”
  • #3:
    • Truth creates respect
      • Personal example of a person who you respected and trusted because of their honesty
3 points
a bad introduction paragraph

Telling the truth is always essential. This can be seen in the examples of Ananias & Saphira, the story of “The Boy who cried Wolf”, and a personal experience.

A bad Introduction paragraph
a better introduction paragraph

Truth is necessary at all times. One reason I believe this is because lies have serious consequences. Another reason why the truth is essential is that lies destroy trust. Lastly, truth creates respect.

A better Introduction paragraph
an even better introduction paragraph

Lying is a path with many curves and bumps whose end is pain and destruction. Truth; however, is a clear and level path which leads to life. The Bible offers us an example of the consequences of lies in the story of Ananias & Saphira. Another insight on the destructive nature of lies can be found in the well known fairytale “The boy who cried wolf”. Finally, personal experience has proven the benefits of being truthful in fostering respect amongst your peers.

An even better Introduction paragraph
blue print practice 2

Prompt:Many societies believe that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human right. But it is also true that attainment of happiness remains elusive. Perhaps Bertrand Russell had it right when he said, “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

  • Assignment:What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? Plan your response, and then write an essay...
Blue Print Practice 2
blue print practice 3

Prompt:"That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value." -Thomas Paine

  • Assignment:Do we value only what we struggle for? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)
Blue Print Practice 3
blue print practice 4

Prompt:“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” -Alexander Pope

  • Assignment:Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions? Plan your response, and then write an essay...
Blue Print Practice 4
blue print practice 5

Prompt:A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he is not a man of action. It is as if a tennis player before returning the ball stopped to think about his views of the physical and mental advantages of tennis. You must act as you breathe. -Georges Clemenceau

  • Assignment:Is it true that acting quickly and instinctively is the best response to a crisis? Or are there times when an urgent situation requires a more careful consideration and a slower response? Plan your response, and then write an essay...
Blue Print Practice 5
blue print practice 6

Prompt:“What man calls civilization always results in deserts. Man is never on the square – he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth. Each generation wastes a little more of the future with greed and lust for riches.” -Don Marquis

  • Assignment:With our modern awareness of ecology are we likely to make sufficient progress in conservation, or are we still in danger of damaging the earth beyond repair? Plan your response, and then write an essay...
Blue Print Practice 6