What Is the SAT?
American higher education is considered one of the most prestigious in the world. But to get the right to gnaw the granite of science under the Stars and Stripes banner, you must go through a strict selection system. Every applicant who wants to enter a prestigious American college is faced with preparation for important and required exams. One of the ways to test students is the SAT, which contains three sections, each of which contains several tasks.
Per the test results, the general literacy of yesterday’s schoolchildren, their verbal abilities, as well as proficiency in mathematics, is assessed. Approximately 80% of American universities enroll based on the scores of this test. On the territory of the United States, the exam is taken in specialized centers seven times a year — monthly from October to June, except for February and March. In other countries, it can be taken at American consulates during the same months, except for April.
Most of the tasks are based on the multiple-choice principle. The prospective student is asked to choose one correct answer out of several options. The test results are evaluated by a computer. The exception is the part where you need to write an essay. The SAT is taken for a fee and costs from 49 to 80 dollars, depending on the country. The cheapest way to pass the exam is in the USA, and the most expensive is in India and Pakistan. The results are sent to the applicant by mail three or four weeks after submission.
Essential Tips for Writing the SAT Essay
Understand the basic rules of grammar and punctuation for SAT
Half of the assignments in the Writing and Language sections are based on the rules of formal English. Therefore, you may not even expect to get a good grade for this part if you do not master the basic grammar and language norms! That does not mean that you have to study all the existing rules. You can dwell only on those that are found in the SAT most often. You can find a detailed list of these norms and recommendations in the detailed guides Grammar for SAT and Punctuation for SAT. More tips for SAT essay tasks are next.
Using the right preparation materials
Trust only proven manuals that are popular with SAT takers. In the rating of the best publications, the top lines are occupied by The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar by Erica Meltzer, Barron’s 2400, Official Study Guide, PWN the SAT Essay Guide, etc. You can order new manuals online or buy books from the hands of those who have already passed the SAT. Do not forget about the useful materials that are published on the official exam website. You can also take some practice tests here to gauge your chances of success. Also, learn SAT essay techniques and try to write essays on different topics to be prepared.
Since there are no literary passages in the Writing section, it will be most beneficial for you to read articles from regular newspapers and magazines, reasoning, and essays. During the learning process, you will use such texts to refine your editing skills, identify introductory constructions, and linking words. You also need to understand how the author arranges their arguments and forms the main idea of the passage. What evidence do they use? How effective is it? Why? In the passages of the Writing section, you can come across a wide variety of topics, so feel free to check out any articles. Start with major publications in the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic, Wired, and Psychology Today.
Hone your writing skills
To be a good editor, you must understand what it means to write well. To do that, you need to learn from reviews of your own writings and explore the SAT essay tips and tricks. Start paying attention to all the comments about your schoolwork, sort out the mistakes that constantly haunt you. If you have any difficulties, ask your teacher to explain why you are wrong and give advice on how to avoid such missteps in the future.
When creating a study essay, be sure to pay attention to the structure of your own arguments. Here’s the order of presentation in the form of a simple hamburger: introduction (top roll), evidence and facts (lettuce, tomato, and meat), and conclusion (bottom roll). The ability to create an effective structure for your essays will, over time, help you develop a fine understanding of the organization of passages in the SAT. Do not forget about SAT essay persuasive techniques.
Training and Writing Tips for SAT
This is one of the most important writing tips for SAT — it is important to practice writing essays against the clock, like in a real exam. During testing, applicants, as a rule, are overcome by panic and fear of failing the exam, and this is what the system is designed for. To prepare for the exam, you should complete as many tasks as possible on time. It is better to take a practice test not at home, but in a library or cafe in order to learn not to react to noise.
The final grade for an essay depends on its length. Les Perelman, one of the MIT faculty members, was able to predict the grade of most written works without even checking them. He just looked at the SAT essay length — the more words in it, the higher the score. Therefore, you should not skimp on words, but you do need to monitor the correctness of writing and the content of the essay. A good essay is filled with facts and examples from literature, history, or pop culture. It is important to be able to paraphrase, play with the structure of the text. There is nothing worse than an uninteresting essay built from the same short sentences, so it is important to expand your vocabulary and practice.
Analysis of errors
One of the essay tips for SAT — it is impossible to move forward in learning if you do not pay attention to your mistakes. It is important to thoroughly analyze each mistake in order to prevent it from happening again in the future. It is necessary to analyze not only errors but also those questions, the correct answers to which were guessed. Thorough analysis helps to move forward.
The creators of the test are well aware that for many applicants, English is not their native language, therefore they formulate each question in such a way that the test taker makes a mistake by not reading the task carefully. Therefore, before answering a question, you need to read it carefully.
Learning new terms
To understand what is said in the assignment, you must have a sufficient level of English (preferably no lower than upper-intermediate). The math section with its terms is not as scary as the need to write a decent essay. To “pump” academic English, you should read more English-language publications, like the New York Times, New Yorker, National Geographic, etc. It is enough to devote 30 minutes of reading a day to see the result.
Special applications for mobile devices
You can improve your English and read tips for SAT essay tasks at any convenient time, even while standing in a traffic jam or in a queue. To learn more new words, use special applications running on iOS and Android. Also, on the Internet, you can find a selection of the most used SAT test words that you need to learn in order to understand the essence of the tasks. Those were our tips for SAT essay tasks.