Step 1: The Basics
On the test day you will be presented with a very broad topic for example, is it ever okay to tell a lie and can success be disastrous. These questions can be answered in many shades of gray, however this is not what the grader are looking for. To get a high score you need to choose either yes it is okay to tell a lie or no one should never tell a lie, following the example above.
Once you choose your position you will need to clearly state what you support and provide good examples to support it, but these examples do not need to be completely true, they just need to support your point of view well.
Once you have taken your position and come up with the ideas that you will use to support it, you will need to form it into an essay. The 25 minutes provided is not nearly enough time to think of good examples and write a well organized essay so it is essential that you prepare.
This guide will help your prepare by providing generic examples that can be applied to almost any topic plus a formula that outlines sentence by sentence how you can apply the broad ideas to get a high scoring essay.
Step 2: The Template
-Hook - catchy statement to grab the readers attention
-Become more Specific - move from your general hook to the theses
-Thesis statement - take your position on the topic and briefly mention the examples that will
-Topic sentence - introduce the type of example you will use, and link it to the previous paragrph
(body paragraph 2 and 3)
- Give 2-3 sentence of background on the topic. These should be very detailed and show that you
know a lot about the topic. According to some sources, the details do not need to be factually
correct as long as they sound reasonable
-Concluding Sentence - clearly restate the point of the paragraph and tie it back to the thesis.
-Restate the thesis including the examples that you used as supports
-Provide a "so what " statement that makes some kind of general remark about your position on
the topic and how it would effect the world if others took it
It is recommended that you use either 2 or 3 examples to support your point, which each receive there own body paragraph. This will yield either the classic 5 paragraph essay or the abbreviated 4 paragraph essay.
The next step will go over the topics of examples that can be used and some genreal examples that fit each category
Step 3: Topics to Use, What to Insert Into the Template
I am including some good examples from each category that apply to many topics.
WWI, WWII - Japanes Internment, Holocaust, Atomic Bomb, War effort at home Korean War, Vietnam War - note I would advise avoiding the current War on Terror as you do not know the political leanings of the grader
Civil Rights/ Martin Luther King
To Kill a Mocking Bird
Brave New World
*Current Events/Pop Culture
Sports Stars/ Celebrities
Recent Baseball Steroid Scandal
Popular Fashions/ Fads
Computers, Cellphones, Ipods other modern conviences
*Personal Experience real or made up- do not use this if you decide that you only have time for two body paragraphs
Any other topic that you are familiar with that you think applies
Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice
Look online or in prep books for practice topics and try using this method so you will be ready when test day comes.
As you practice you might also want to look up some of the topics that you use to see if you can find out any more information to add.
I hope this is able to help you achieve a good score on the SAT essay.
Here are some key points that apply to any SAT essay whehter you decide to use this method or not.
Take a strong stance - do not try to argue both sides, but acknowledge the other side of the argument in the introduciton
Use good detailed examples to support your point
Make sure the essay is well organized - have intro, body and conclusion paragraphs
Use all the space provided
Use advanced vocabulary, but if you are unsure of the correct usage of a word, do not put it in the essay
Proofread your work for spelling and grammar mistakes