ETS graders focus on three major things when looking at your SAT essay.

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ETS graders focus on three major things when looking at your SAT essay.

1、Clear Point of View

Every essay should have a clear thesis. In other words, the essay should say what you think. The essay directions even tell you to state your point of view. So make sure that the grader knows exactly what your point of view is.

You have only 25 measly minutes to write your essay. You may be tempted to argue every single side of the issue that you can think of, and show why both sides have valid points. Although in the real world it's certainly good to think reasonably about both sides of an issue, you don't have time or space enough to argue both sides convincingly here. So pick a side and stick to it. Don't straddle the fence.

You may not feel comfortable arguing forcefully for one side. If so, don't worry about it. Remember: This essay exists solely to get you a decent Writing score. Even if you don't think that "people are unwise to pursue love if it causes them pain," it's an easier essay to write (and grade) than an essay whose thesis is "there are many possibilities, really." The SAT is asking you a "yes" or "no" question. Don't answer "maybe."

2、Support Your Position

Go back and look at the directions for the essay from a couple pages ago. Notice that they tell you to support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations? That's the meat of your essay. It's not enough to just say "yes" or "no"; you have to explain why you think yes or no.

In addition to having an example, you need to show the grader how that example proves your point. It's not enough to say "Gatsby from The Great Gatsby shouldn't have pursued love because it caused him pain"; we want to know what, exactly, happened with Gatsby. The more you support your position, the more convincing your position is.

3、Have a Logical Structure

You may have written five-paragraph essays in school. Those essays start with an introduction, have three body paragraphs, and then end with a conclusion. You won't have the time or space to write a full five-paragraph essay and explain each example, so we're going to limit ourselves to two good examples, rather than rushing through three mediocre ones.

Having a logical structure will help the rushed and uncaring grader locate your main points easily, but it will also help you as you write. What's your first paragraph? The introduction! What do you have to do? State your thesis, and mention your examples. What are your next two paragraphs? Examples. Explain each example, and connect it to your thesis. And last, of course, is the conclusion paragraph. Restate your thesis, and you're done.

Is it a boring essay if it's always the same like that? Sure, it can be. But do you care about being exciting in any other portion of the SAT? Do you ever change your answer to an SAT math question because your answer is boring? Nope. So why would you do it here? Your goal with the essay is to make it easy for the grader to see how great you are. A logical structure can help do exactly that.

If you love writing, all this may seem like the wrong way to focus your attention. But our purpose is to help you raise your SAT score, and it will help to know what the College Board readers are really looking for. Don't forget, this essay is about getting your point across in the best rough draft possible.

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