Best SAT Essay Writing Tips

Updated on: May 15, 2024

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a standard test to assess the academic knowledge of students who plan to pursue their undergraduate studies in the US. The test measures students' reading, writing, and mathematics skills, and colleges and universities widely use it in their admissions process. The SAT essay is an optional section of the SAT exam, which assesses a student's ability to analyse and demonstrate a given text. Here, we cover the best SAT Essay writing tips for you.

SAT Essay writing tips: An overview

Conducted byCollege Board
SAT Essay duration50 minutes
SAT Essay score range2-8
SAT Essay total score24

Note: The College Board decided to discontinue the SAT essay writing task in 2021. Only a few states have access to this task now.

SAT Essay writing

  • The SAT Essay is an optional task in the SAT exam that measures a student's reading comprehension, analytical, and writing skills. 
  • The task includes a passage of 650-700 words, where you are required to read the text, analyse and interpret the ideas and views of the author.
  • In contrast to other writing tasks, you are not required to provide your own views or opinions on the given text.
  • Your essay will be graded on three factors: reading, analysis, and writing. 
  • The SAT Essay has a score ranging from two to eight. Two evaluators will review your essay and provide a score between 1-4. The grades are then added to obtain the final SAT Essay score.

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SAT Essay writing tips

Although the SAT Essay is an optional task in the assessment, the essay has good scope for some fields of study. Here are some great tips to write a good SAT essay.

Understand the essay format and scoring

It is essential to understand the task at hand before working on it. The optional essay task requires you to analyse and interpret the information as required. It is advised only to add your opinion or idea if you are instructed to.

Another SAT Essay writing tips suggest you understand the grading criteria of the task. The essay is graded based on three factors.

  • Reading - The score reflects your ability to understand the passage as expected.
  • Analysis - This score determines your skills in analysing the tone the author uses to capture the reader.
  • Writing - This score explains how well you have expressed the requirements of the task through your writing.

Check previous task samples and gather ideas

You may think 50 minutes is ample time for SAT Essay writing. But you can finish the task only with constant practice and learning. Make use of the sample practice essays available and work on the essay. You can then compare your work with well-written samples to analyse and work on your mistakes. This way, you can prepare to obtain high scores in the SAT Essay writing task.

On exam day: Tips to write a good SAT essay

  • Read the passage thoroughly before proceeding to write. Remember, your reading and analytical skills are scored too.
  • You can start with an overview of the essay, as it gives you a better flow in writing and helps you provide good content.
  • Make sure you provide a strong thesis statement and conclusion in your essay. This creates a good impression and helps you get great scores.
  • You can use specific examples or points to give a better understanding of the essay. This also gives you the upper hand in the task.
  • It is essential to allow some time for editing. Do not spend the entire 50 minutes in writing. Ensure you have some time for grammar checks, editing, and corrections.

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Frequently asked questions

How do you start an SAT essay?

It is essential to start the SAT Essay with a strong statement or sentence for a chance to obtain good scores. You can describe the argument or issue mentioned in the passage or write about specific elements of the text.

How long does it take to write an essay for the SAT?

A candidate is required to complete the SAT Essay in 50 minutes.

What is the highest essay score on SAT?

The highest perfect score on SAT Essay is 24. The score is the sum of three categories: reading, analysis, and writing; each scored out of 8.

Is 14 a good SAT essay score?

Out of the 24 score range, 14 is considered an average score in the SAT Essay.

Does SAT essay affect your score?

SAT Essay writing is an optional task that does not contribute to the overall SAT score. Although, the essay can boost the candidate's application in certain undergraduate courses.