SAT Essay Writing: Solutions to 50 Sample Prompts by Vibrant Publishers - Read Online
SAT Essay Writing
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The proven way to get that perfect score on the SAT essay writing is through lots and lots of practice.
This book gives you exactly that. SAT Essay Writing: Solutions to 50 Sample Prompts is your guide to a perfect SAT essay score. As the name suggests, this book has fifty sample prompts that are either taken from previous administrations of the SAT or created to reflect issues commonly addressed by the essay portion of the test. Each prompt is followed by the assignment in the form of question, pre-writing guidance along with plenty of examples and a sample essay. Following the procedure in the samples provided will enable you to write an essay that earns a perfect score. Besides the fifty sample essays, the book includes all relevant information about SAT essay section, how the essays are scored and key strategies for mastering the essay writing section. With a wide variety of practice questions and solutions and much more, this book is a must-have resource for those aspiring to score high on the SAT essay section.

Key Features:

FIFTY sample SAT prompts and essays

Pre-essay writing guidance for each prompt

Key Strategies to master the SAT Essay writing section

Essay Scoring Criteria

Published: Vibrant Publishers on
ISBN: 9781301668779
List price: $7.99
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CHAPTER 1: Introduction to the SAT Essay

Success in college depends on the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in writing. The SAT essay predicts how successfully a college applicant will deal with the types of impromptu writing assignments and test questions that college professors typically create. Quickly developing and supporting a point of view is necessary in virtually every content area. The score earned on the SAT essay gives admissions officials some insight about the applicant's ability to write coherently.

You will have 25 minutes to organize, write, and revise your essay. The prompt will be a brief piece of writing that presents the idea that you will address in your essay. It is followed by a question that will enable you to create your point of view. You do not need any specialized knowledge to respond to the prompt. The topic is general enough that you may use any of several types of evidence to support your position. You can use examples from your studies in history, science, English or other courses you have taken. Recent events in your town, state, country or the world are appropriate as examples. Even experiences in your own life will let you compose a sophisticated response to the prompt and assignment. Scorers have been trained to expect a variety of responses and do not assign higher scores to any particular type of evidence or structure.

How the SAT essay is scored

Current and former high school teachers and college professors undergo extensive and repeated training as scorers of the SAT essay. Some of them read and score essays at a scoring center, and others read and score them on their personal computers in their homes. In both cases, scorers are expected to maintain reliability standards, and their work is carefully monitored. Your essay will be read and scored independently by two scorers. The scores must agree exactly or be immediately adjacent. If the scores disagree by more than one point, a scoring leader reads the essay and assigns a score. Each reader assigns a score between 1 and 6 based on criteria listed in the scoring guide, so your essay total will range from 2 to 12. Although the list of criteria at each score point is specific, readers score the essay holistically, judging its merit as a whole. The readers understand that each essay is essentially a first draft and reward the writer for what he or she has done well rather than penalizing the writer for elements that are weak or missing.

The criteria and expectations for each essay are identical, and the extent to which the writer meets them determines the assigned score. After reading the prompt, you must develop a point of view on the topic and support your position with examples. You must sustain a focus on the topic and move smoothly from one idea to the next within a well-organized structure. Use a variety of sentence structures and precise vocabulary that suits the purpose and enhances the clarity of the essay. Strive to avoid errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage.

Essays at score point 6 are considered outstanding. These essays demonstrate exceptional critical thinking and provide insightful examples to support the writers' positions. Sophisticated transitions connect ideas and create smooth progression within the essay. Vocabulary is purposeful and precise, providing clarity of abstract ideas. The writer uses a variety of sentence structures to demonstrate how ideas are connected and their relative importance. These essays are virtually free of most errors in spelling, grammar, usage and mechanics.

Score point 5 indicates an effective essay. Demonstrating strong critical thinking, this essay contains appropriate examples to support a clearly stated position on the topic in the prompt. The writer uses transitions to connect examples and create a smooth progression of ideas and coherence throughout the essay. The essay is crafted with an appropriate variety of sentence structures. Few errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics appear in this essay.

Essays that meet the criteria at a competent level are assigned score point 4. The writer uses adequate examples to support a point of view and generally creates coherence and progression of ideas. The essay demonstrates some variety of sentence structure and uses generally appropriate vocabulary. Although this essay meets the requirements and demonstrates adequate critical thinking, it displays weaknesses in development and some errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

Essays at score points 3, 2, and 1 contain obvious weaknesses. Those at score point 3 include a point of view but lack sufficient support and development. There is evidence of some critical thinking. Although the writer's intention may be obvious, the essay contains an accumulation of spelling, grammar, usage and mechanical errors. There is little sentence variety, and the organizational structure may cause weaknesses in coherence and progression of ideas. These essays are generally described as inadequate. Seriously limited essays are assigned a score of 2. These essays may contain a point of view but display little or no critical thinking. Development is minimal leading to a lack of coherence or progression of ideas. Errors in usage, grammar, and mechanics may be severe enough to interfere with meaning. At score point 1, essays are fundamentally lacking. The writer may have attempted to respond to the prompt, but fails to display any critical thinking. There is little to no development of the topic, and the essay displays serious problems with usage, grammar and mechanics. Essays may also be assigned a score of 0 for any of the following reasons. The essay is off topic, written in a foreign language, or consists of symbols instead of words.

Writing the Essay - Key Strategies

Although you will have limited time to write your essay, you should take a couple of minutes to organize your ideas. You may answer the question in the affirmative, take an opposing position, or agree with both sides. You may know immediately which point of view you will adopt, or you may need to think about it. Either way, you should consider both sides of the issue. Create both a statement that expresses agreement with the issue and one that expresses the opposing viewpoint. The directions tell you to support your position with examples or reasons from your reading, studies, experience or observations. Briefly list ideas to support each position from novels you have read in English class, historical figures who have performed heroic or infamous deeds, inventors who made advances in medicine, communication, or technology, or your own experiences in sports or band or church. No type of support is better than another. Using evidence from your studies in an AP history class, for example, is no more valuable than using events that have occurred in your own life.

Now that you have listed some ideas, you are ready to begin writing. As you write, you may discover that some examples from your list do not provide sufficient support for your position, so do not include them. On the other hand, ideas may pop into your head, and you should not hesitate to use them if they strengthen your argument. Your approach to the topic may take one of several forms. You may create a narrative based on personal experiences or observations, compare or contrast two historical figures, or use your learning in a philosophy class to persuade your audience to adopt your point of view. Just as no type of evidence is better than another, no approach is preferable to the others. You should avoid writing an expository or descriptive essay.

No matter the format or examples you select, you should fully develop your ideas. You will be rewarded for sophisticated development of two ideas and penalized for simply listing several ideas. In order to show how your examples clearly support your position, you should use precise vocabulary. In your daily interactions with peers, you may commonly use or hear people, events, or objects described as awesome or amazing. You do not have to avoid using these words in your SAT essay, but they are subjective descriptors, and something that you think is amazing may be dull and boring to the next person. Provide enough details in your essay to make clear to the reader why you were amazed or awestruck by the person or event in your example. Be wary of throwing in advanced vocabulary unless the word enhances the clarity of your writing. Avoid wordiness. It is more effective to say shoe store rather than a retail establishment that sells footwear. Pay close attention to correct usage, especially in the case of homophones. Writers who hope to earn a high score on the essay should know the difference between there, they're, and their and when to use its instead of it's. Review lists of commonly misused homophones, either in a grammar text or on the Internet. Scorers are trained to overlook the occasional error, but an accumulation of errors in usage will cause you to receive a lower score. Great writers use great verbs. Strong verbs are the engine that drives an essay. It's okay to say that she went to the next room, but it is more effective to say that she tiptoed down the hall and burst through the door of the next room. Perhaps she glided or stumbled or staggered. Each verb creates a unique impression in the mind of the reader.

It may be tempting to show the scorers how much history you've committed to memory throughout your high school years in the hope of earning a high score on your essay. The purpose of the essay, however, is not to demonstrate what you know, but how well you express your ideas. Do not use historical events or figures unless they contribute to the focus of your essay. In fact, scorers are cautioned against assigning a lower score because the writer used incorrect dates or chronology in the essay. Appealing to the reader's emotions is also likely to be ineffective. Whether your essay makes the scorer laugh or cry, he or she will assign a score based on the criteria in the scoring guide.

You must write your essay in the space provided in the test booklet. If your handwriting is a reasonable size and you keep margins to a minimum, you should have enough room to complete your essay. Scorers are not evaluating your handwriting, but you should strive to make it legible in order to avoid obscuring your meaning.

Scorers understand that your essay is essentially a first draft and make allowances for that when they assign a score. Even so, you should allow yourself a few minutes at the end of the testing period to review what you have written and make any important revisions. Responding to practice prompts before the date of your test will help you become familiar with the process and help you use the time efficiently and to the best effect. The most competent writers are people who read widely in a variety of disciplines. It increases vocabulary and familiarizes the reader with structure and flow of ideas. Remember that responding to the prompt does not require any specific knowledge, so you are free to use evidence from any aspect of your life that will enable you to create an outstanding response.


CHAPTER 2: Practice Essays with Solutions and Strategies

The following material is designed to help you prepare for the SAT essay. You will find fifty prompts either taken from previous administrations of the SAT or created to reflect issues commonly addressed by the essay portion of the test. The prompt expresses a point of view on an issue concerning an abstract concept such as happiness, success, or honesty. It may contain a common saying about the topic or use an excerpt from a particular author to support the position. The prompt is followed by the assignment in the form of a question that asks if the position and argument in the prompt is true. Look for words in the prompt or assignment that express an absolute, for example, everyone, always, or never. Very rarely is something true for everyone or in all cases. As you think of exceptions to the position in the prompt, you are beginning to develop your own position and support for it. You should also be aware of phrases such as on the other hand or in contrast. These let you know that two points of view appear in the prompt and they may help you to form your own perspective on the topic. You may expand on the argument in the prompt or develop your own. Next is a brief statement about possible sources of examples to support your position on the issue in the prompt. Those examples may come from your studies, books or articles you have read, your own experiences or your observations of people or events. You will find some brief prewriting activities that list examples taken from studies, reading, experiences or observations that will support either an affirmative, a negative, or a balanced position on the issue. Use the suggestions for approaching the task to help you understand how the writer crafted the response to each assignment. Following the procedure in the samples provided will enable you to write an essay that earns a high score from those who will use the SAT Scoring Rubric to evaluate your response.


Essay 1

Prompt: It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In addition, repeating the successful actions of others is sure to lead to success. Others claim that this stifles innovation and limits success. Those who have achieved at the highest levels found their own path to success.

Assignment: Is innovation the key to great success? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

The directions tell you to develop your point of view on the topic. In other words, state your opinion. You may answer in the affirmative, the negative, or take a balanced approach. In addition to stating your opinion, you must support it with examples and show how the examples are appropriate. You do not have to list ideas for every topic suggested. You may only be able to remember examples from a class you took or a book you read.


Innovation is the key to great success.


a) Vikings sailing from Scandinavia to seek their fortunes

b) Hannibal’s using elephants to cross