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Thinking about tackling the SAT Essay? Here's what you need to know: you'll be asked to read a text (typically a speech or editorial of some sort) and discuss how the author effectively builds an argument. This might be a familiar task if you’ve done it in school, but if not, don’t worry. The format is straightforward, and with some practice, you can learn how to write a great SAT essay.

What is the SAT essay?

The SAT essay is optional and costs an additional fee of $17.00. Currently, only 25 colleges and universities require the SAT essay. You can find a searchable list of school requirements for the essay here . If there is any chance that you might apply to one of those schools, you should sign up for the essay. If you are not sure where you will apply, you should strongly consider signing up for the essay. Your essay score will appear on every score report you send to colleges, regardless of whether or not the school requires an essay. 

Here are 5 tips for writing a killer SAT essay, should you decide to add on that section:

SAT essay tips

1. Stay Objective

The thing to remember here is that ETS (the company that writes the test) is not asking you for your opinion on a topic or a text. So be sure to maintain formal style and an objective tone. Tip: Avoid “I” and “you.

2. Keep It Tidy

Handwriting is becoming a lost art. Unfortunately, this is one occasion where your skill with a pencil matters. Graders read tons of essays each day. If they cannot decipher your script, they will lower your score. Do yourself a favor and write legibly.

3. (Indented) Paragraphs Are Your Friend

Remember the basic essay structure you learned in school: introductory paragraph, body paragraphs and a conclusion? The SAT essay graders love it! Your introduction should describe the text and paraphrase the argument being made, as well as introduce the specific elements of the passage and argument that you will discuss in the essay. Your conclusion should restate the goal of the passage/argument and sum up the points you made.

Read More: SAT Tips and Strategies

4. For Example…

Use your body paragraphs to back up your thesis statement by citing specific examples. Use short, relevant quotes from the text to support your points.

5. Don't Worry About the Exact Terms for Things

Blanking on terminology? When describing how the author builds his or her argument, “appeal to the emotions” is fine instead of specifically referencing “pathos.” And “comparison of two things” can be used instead of referring to a metaphor. If you do know the official terms, though, feel free to use them!

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The Optional SAT Essay: What to Know

Tackling this section of the SAT requires preparation and can boost some students' college applications.

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Even though an increasing number of colleges are dropping standardized test requirements, students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain from doing so.

Although the essay portion of the SAT became optional in 2016, many students still chose to write it to demonstrate strong or improved writing skills to prospective colleges.

In June 2021, the College Board opted to discontinue the SAT essay. Now, only students in a few states and school districts still have access to — and must complete — the SAT essay. This requirement applies to some students in the SAT School Day program, for instance, among other groups.

How Colleges Use SAT, ACT Results

Tiffany Sorensen Sept. 14, 2020

High school students having their exam inside a classroom.

Whether or not to write the SAT essay is not the biggest decision you will have to make in high school, but it is certainly one that requires thought on your part. Here are three things you should know about the 50-minute SAT essay as you decide whether to complete it:

  • To excel on the SAT essay, you must be a trained reader.
  • The SAT essay begs background knowledge of rhetoric and persuasive writing.
  • A growing number of colleges are dropping standardized test requirements.

To Excel on the SAT Essay, You Must Be a Trained Reader

The SAT essay prompt never comes unaccompanied. On the contrary, it follows a text that is about 700 words long or approximately one page. Before test-takers can even plan their response, they must carefully read and – ideally – annotate the passage.

The multifaceted nature of the SAT essay prompt can be distressing to students who struggle with reading comprehension. But the good news is that this prompt is highly predictable: It always asks students to explain how the author builds his or her argument. In this case, "how” means which rhetorical devices are used, such as deductive reasoning, metaphors, etc.

Luckily, the author’s argument is usually spelled out in the prompt itself. For instance, consider this past SAT prompt : “Write an essay in which you explain how Paul Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience that natural darkness should be preserved.”

Due to the essay prompt’s straightforward nature, students should read the passage with an eye toward specific devices used by the author rather than poring over “big ideas.” In tour SAT essay, aim to analyze at least two devices, with three being even better.

The SAT Essay Begs Background Knowledge of Rhetoric and Persuasive Writing

Since your SAT essay response must point to specific rhetorical devices that the author employs to convince the reader, you should make it a point to intimately know 10-15 common ones. The more familiar you are with rhetorical devices, the faster you will become at picking them out as you read texts.

Once you have read the passage and identified a handful of noteworthy rhetorical devices, you should apply many of the same essay-writing techniques you already use in your high school English classes.

For instance, you should start by brainstorming to see which devices you have the most to say about. After that, develop a concise thesis statement, incorporate quotes from the text, avoid wordiness and other infelicities of writing, close with an intriguing conclusion, and do everything else you could imagine your English teacher advising you to do.

Remember to always provide evidence from the text to support your claims. Finally, leave a few minutes at the end to review your essay for mistakes.

A Growing Number of Colleges Are Dropping Standardized Test Requirements

In recent years, some of America’s most prominent colleges and universities – including Ivy League institutions like Harvard University in Massachusetts, Princeton University in New Jersey and Yale University in Connecticut – have made submission of ACT and SAT scores optional.

While this trend began as early as 2018, the upheaval caused by COVID-19 has prompted many other schools to adopt a more lenient testing policy, as well.

Advocates for educational fairness have long expressed concerns that standardized admissions tests put underprivileged students at a disadvantage. In light of the coronavirus pandemic , which restricted exam access for almost all high school students, colleges have gotten on board with this idea by placing more emphasis on other factors in a student’s application.

To assess writing ability in alternative ways, colleges now place more emphasis on students’ grades in language-oriented subjects, as well as college application documents like the personal statement .

The fact that more colleges are lifting their ACT/SAT requirement does not imply that either test or any component of it is now obsolete. Students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain from doing so, especially those who wish to major in a writing-intensive field. The essay can also demonstrate a progression or upward trajectory in writing skills.

The SAT essay can give a boost to the college applications of the few students to whom it is still available. If the requirement applies to you, be sure to learn more about the SAT essay and practice it often as you prepare for your upcoming SAT.

13 Test Prep Tips for SAT and ACT Takers

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The essay portion of the SAT has a somewhat lengthy and tumultuous history. After all, the very first College Board standardized tests delivered in 1900 were entirely essay-based, but the SAT had dropped all essays from its format by the 1920s and did not reappear again until 2005.

When another redesign of the SAT was announced in 2014, many wondered if the essay, as the most recent addition, would make the cut. The College Board, considering whether to keep it or not, reportedly sought feedback from hundreds of members in admissions and enrollment . Advocates of the essay felt it gave candidates more dimension. Critics believed that the essay was not indicative of college readiness. A review of assessment validity confirmed that the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT “is deeply predictive of college success,” whereas the essay is much less so.

Ultimately, the decision was made to make the essay an optional part of the SAT. This was an innovative move, signaling the first time that the College Board had made any component of the SAT optional.

Furthermore, the essay format has changed as well. Instead of arguing a specific side of a debate or topic presented in the prompt, you will now be asked to analyze a passage for writing style. This prompt is more aligned with the types of critical writing pieces that you can expect to be assigned in college.

As with all things new, the new SAT has taken some getting used to. Students, parents, teachers, and tutors alike have had to adjust to some significant changes in format and content. But the good news is that the new SAT is no longer an unknown variable. The essay in particular is now a well-known and understood piece of the puzzle, with the prompt remaining the same on each administration of the test. The only thing that has changed is the passage to be analyzed.

To learn more about the most significant changes on the SAT, read CollegeVine’s A Guide to the New SAT or review Khan Academy’s video overview of Content Changes to the New SAT .

Do I have to take the SAT with Essay?

As mentioned above, the essay is technically an optional section on the SAT — so no, you are not required to take it. That being said, some colleges or universities do require applicants to submit SAT with Essay scores. If you choose not to take the essay portion of the test, you will not be an eligible applicant for any of these schools. To find the essay policy at schools you’re interested in, use the College Board’s College Essay Policies search feature.

Should I take the optional SAT Essay?

If you are at all unsure of which colleges you’ll be applying to, or you know that at least one of the schools you’re interested in requires the SAT with Essay, you should go ahead and take the essay portion of the test. If you don’t register for the SAT with Essay at first, you can add it later through your online College Board account. Registration for the SAT with Essay costs $57 as opposed to the $45 for the SAT without the optional essay section.

What is the format of the new SAT Essay?

The new SAT Essay is a lot like a typical college or upper-level high school writing assignment in which you’re asked to analyze a text. You’ll be provided a passage between 650 and 750 words, and you will be asked to explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his or her audience. You will need to use evidence from the text to support your explanation. Unlike on past SATs, you will not be asked to agree or disagree with a position on a topic, and you will not be asked to write about your personal experiences.

You will have 50 minutes to read the passage, plan your work, and write your essay. Although this seems like an extremely limited amount of time, it is actually double the time allowed on the SAT Essay prior to March 2016.

The instructions and prompt on the SAT Essay, beginning in March 2016, are always the same. They read:

As you read the passage below, consider how [the author] uses:

  • Evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims
  • Reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence
  • Stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed

These instructions will be followed by the passage that you’re intended to analyze. After the passage, you will see the prompt:

Write an essay in which you explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience of [author’s claim]. In your essay, analyze how [the author] uses one or more of the features listed above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of [his/her] argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.

Your essay should not explain whether you agree with [the author’s] claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience.

Although you can expect the passages to be different, they will all share some common characteristics. You can expect the SAT Essay to be based on passages that are written for a broad audience, argue a point, express subtle views on complex subjects, and use logical reasoning and evidence to support claims. These passages examine ideas, debates, or trends in the arts and sciences; or civic, cultural, or political life; and they are always taken from published works.

How will my essay be assessed?

Your essay will be assessed in three scoring categories, each of which will be included on your score report. Two people will read your essay and score it independently. These scorers will each award between one and four points in each scoring category. If the scores you receive in a single category vary by more than one point, an SAT expert scorer will review your essay.   

The scoring categories are:

A successful essay shows that you understood the passage, including the interplay of central ideas and important details. It also shows an effective use of textual evidence.

A successful essay shows your understanding of how the author builds an argument by:

  • Examining the author’s use of evidence, reasoning, and other stylistic and persuasive techniques
  • Supporting and developing claims with well-chosen evidence from the passage

A successful essay is focused, organized, and precise, with an appropriate style and tone that varies sentence structure and follows the conventions of standard written English.

Scores on the SAT Essay range from six to 24. To review a more specific breakdown for each scoring category, see the College Board SAT Essay Scoring Rubric .

Is my essay score always included on my score report sent to colleges?

Yes, your essay scores will always be reported with your other test scores from that day. There is no option to report only specific sections of your score. Even if you use Score Choice to choose which day’s scores you send to colleges, you can never send only some scores from a certain test day. For example, you cannot select to send Math scores but not Writing and Language or Essay scores.

What are the key strategies for the new SAT Essay test?

Remember the prompt.

On test day you will have only 50 minutes to read the passage, plan your analysis, and write your essay. Every minute will count. Because the prompt is the same on each SAT, you can save yourself some very valuable time by remembering exactly what the prompt asks you to do. That way, you won’t have to bother reading it on the day of your test.

Also remember that the prompt is asking only for your analysis. It is not asking you to summarize the passage or state your own opinion of it. Instead, while reading and creating a rough outline, you should focus on restating the main point that the author is arguing and analyzing how that point is made. Use only evidence taken directly from the passage and focus on how the author uses this evidence, reasoning, and other rhetorical techniques to build a convincing argument.

In short, when you begin your essay on test day, you should be able to skip reading the actual prompt and get straight to examining the author’s choices in presenting the argument. You should not waste any time summarizing the content of the passage or stating your own opinion of it.

Create a Rough Outline

When you’re under pressure to create a well-written essay in a limited amount of time, it can be tempting to skip the outline. Don’t fall into this thinking. While an outline may take some time to create, it will ultimately save you time and effort during the actual writing process.

The bulk of the outline you create should focus on the body paragraphs of your essay. You should have three main points you want to highlight, each being a specific method that the author uses to argue his or her point. These could include the use of logic, an appeal to emotions, or the style of diction or tone. As you read, identify the primary ways in which the author supports his or her argument. List the three most relevant methods in your outline, and then briefly cite examples of each underneath.

This very rough outline will shape the bulk of your essay and can ultimately save you the time it would take to remember these details during the actual writing process. 

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Stick to the Standard 5-Paragraph Essay Format

By this point in your high school career, you should have some experience writing a five-paragraph essay. The format is probably already familiar to you. As a refresher, a five-paragraph essay is generally structured like this:

I. Introductory Paragraph

  • Give some very basic background about the topic (for example, why the author is writing this piece)
  • Restate the author’s argument clearly
  • Write a concise thesis statement summarizing three ways in which the author proves his or her point

II. Body Paragraphs

  • One body paragraph per method used by the author
  • Include two to three specific examples directly from the passage
  • Analyze how effective these are

III. Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis
  • Briefly summarize the effectiveness of the author’s argument

While you may feel that 50 minutes is not enough time to plan and write an entire five-paragraph essay, you are best off keeping each paragraph brief and to the point rather than writing a more detailed essay in a shorter format. Each body paragraph should be only five or six sentences, while your introduction and conclusion can be even shorter if you write them effectively.

Practice Reading and Critiquing Opinion Pieces

The best way to prepare for the type of thinking and analysis required by the SAT Essay is to immerse yourself in reading and critiquing similar opinion pieces. The passage for the SAT Essay will always argue one side of a debate or topic, so other opinion pieces, editorials, and persuasive essays are all similar in content.

Read lots of these to become familiar with the style of writing. As you read, make mental notes of the methods that the authors use to make their points. Recognize patterns in these methods across pieces. For example, you might notice that casual diction is used to create a feeling of communal cause. These are points that you could also use in your analysis on the SAT Essay if they apply to the particular passage you receive.

Be An Active Reader

This will take you right back to your early high school and even junior high years. To be efficient on the SAT Essay, you will need to read closely and carefully in a limited amount of time. Staying engaged in the passage and making effective notations that will aid your analysis are critical.

You are probably familiar with some active reading strategies, and if that’s the case, stick with whatever notation you usually use. There’s no right way to do it, as long as your markings keep you actively engaged in the text and make your writing process easier.

This could include circling or bracketing off the thesis statement as you read. You might underline supporting details or come up with a system to mark for different literary devices (for example, a heart in the margin to denote an emotional appeal). If part of the argument seems unclear, put a question mark in the margin so that you can review it later.

Keep These Key Questions in Mind

It’s easy to get off track when you’re under pressure and rushing to complete a task. These are some good questions to keep in mind to ensure your essay stays on track:

Does the author use facts or logic to support claims? How does he or she do so? Is this effective? Could it be more effective? How so?

Discussing the author’s use of logic — often called an appeal to logos — speaks directly to an audience’s sense of reason. This is a very effective method of persuasion since it will just “make sense” to most readers.

What stylistic rhetorical devices does the author use to support claims?

Another common strategy used by authors involves the style and flow of their words. Does he or she make use of analogies, word repetition, or alliteration? These are all rhetorical devices about which you could write.

How does specific word choice contribute to the overall effectiveness of the piece?

Words are powerful. They can elicit emotions; they can create a sense of common cause; and they can use precision to draw pictures in your mind. What word choices are particularly powerful in the passage? Are there any patterns worth mentioning?

Of course, these are just a few of the many ideas you can use to get started with shaping and organizing your analysis. It’s a good idea to have a handful of possible questions to consider while reading. This will guide your thinking and can definitely help you out if you suddenly draw a blank.  

Study the Glossary

This is the most straightforward way to guide you as you prepare for the SAT Essay. Khan Academy has compiled an official Essay Glossary of key terms for the essay, and having a solid grasp of this vocabulary will allow you to use the correct words to describe the literary devices you discuss. And beyond that, the glossary can help give you some ideas for possible features in analyzing in your writing.

Where can I find free study materials for the SAT Essay?

Because the new SAT Essay was just rolled out in March 2016, there are not tons of resources yet for preparation. Many of the SAT Essay resources were designed before the new test, rendering them obsolete now. As you look for study materials, make sure that anything you use was created after March 2016 to ensure you are getting relevant information.

Some great resources are:

Sample passages and scored essays from the College Board are available for your review. These will give you an accurate idea of the types of passages you can expect to read and how your response will be assessed. These include examples of high-, medium-, and low-scoring student responses to help you gauge the quality of work that is expected.

Khan Academy tutorials are also available to help you prepare specifically for the SAT Essay. These include video overviews and a message board where students share and discuss strategies.

Finally, don’t skip the Khan Academy Essay Glossary as discussed above. Memorizing key terms from this resource will legitimize your response and help shape your thinking.

If you still have questions about the new SAT Writing and Language Test or you are interested in our full-service, customized SAT tutoring, head over to CollegeVine’s SAT Tutoring Program , where the brightest and most qualified tutors in the industry guide students to an average score increase of 140 points.

To learn more about the SAT, check out these CollegeVine posts:

  • ACT vs SAT/SAT Subject Tests
  • Are PSAT Scores Related to SAT Scores?
  • What Should I Bring to My SAT?
  • A Guide to the New SAT
  • The CollegeVine Guide to SAT Scores: All Your Questions Answered
  • How to Register For Your SATs

Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

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Retooling During Pandemic, the SAT Will Drop Essay and Subject Tests

By dropping or suspending the requirement that applicants submit standardized test scores, colleges have cut into the College Board’s business model.

essay in sat

By Anemona Hartocollis ,  Kate Taylor and Stephanie Saul

In the latest sign of trouble for the standardized testing empire that has played a major role in college applications for millions of students, the organization that produces the SAT said on Tuesday that it would scrap subject tests and the optional essay section , further scrambling the admissions process.

The move comes as the testing industry has been battered by questions about equity and troubled by logistical and financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

Critics saw the changes not as an attempt to streamline the test-taking process for students, as the College Board portrayed the decision, but as a way of placing greater importance on Advanced Placement tests, which the board also produces, as a way for the organization to remain relevant and financially viable.

“The SAT and the subject exams are dying products on their last breaths, and I’m sure the costs of administering them are substantial,” said Jon Boeckenstedt, the vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University.

The main SAT, taken by generations of high school students applying to college, consists of two sections, one for math and the other for reading and writing. But since at least the 1960s, students have also had the option of taking subject tests to show their mastery of subjects like history, languages and chemistry. Colleges often use the tests to determine where to place students for freshman courses, especially in the sciences and languages.

But the College Board said the subject tests have been eclipsed by the rise of Advanced Placement exams. At one point, A.P. courses were seen as the province of elite schools, but the board said on Tuesday that “the expanded reach of A.P. and its widespread availability for low-income students and students of color means the subject tests are no longer necessary.”

More than 22,000 schools offered A.P. courses in the 2019-20 school year, up from more than 13,000 two decades earlier, according to the College Board. There are some 24,000 public high schools in America.

The College Board said it would discontinue the essay section on the main SAT test because “there are other ways for students to demonstrate their mastery of essay writing,” including, it said, the test’s reading and writing portion. The essay section was introduced in 2005 , and was considered among the most drastic changes to the SAT in decades. It came amid a broader overhaul of the test, which included eliminating verbal analogies that were a mainstay of SAT-prep courses.

Admissions officers hoped the essay would give them a way to look at original samples of students’ writing, to better evaluate their skills. It came to be criticized, however, for promoting an overly formulaic approach to writing, and was made optional in 2016 as part of another redesign.

In recent years, the SAT has come under increasing fire from critics who say that standardized testing exacerbates inequities across class and racial lines. Some studies have shown that high school grades are an equal or better predictor of college success.

More than 1,000 four-year colleges did not require applicants to submit standardized test scores before the pandemic, and the number rose — at least temporarily — as the coronavirus forced testing centers to close and made it difficult for many students to safely take the test.

Perhaps the biggest hit came in May, when, following a lawsuit from a group of Black and Hispanic students who said the tests discriminated against them, the influential University of California system decided to phase out SAT and ACT requirements for its 10 schools, which include some of the nation’s most popular campuses.

The College Board acknowledged that the coronavirus had played a role in the changes announced on Tuesday, saying in a statement that the pandemic had “accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to simplify our work and reduce the demands on students.”

But David Coleman, the chief executive of the College Board, a nonprofit organization that in the past has reported more than $1 billion a year in revenue, said that financial concerns were not behind the decisions, and that despite the growing number of schools making the SAT optional, demand for the test was still “stronger than some would expect.”

He said the organization’s goal was not to get more students to take A.P. courses and tests, but to eliminate redundant exams and reduce the burden on high school students. “Anything that can reduce unnecessary anxiety and get out of the way is of huge value to us,” he said.

Some experts, though, said eliminating the subject matter tests could have the opposite effect, increasing pressure on students to take A.P. courses and exams, especially in their junior year, so credits can be submitted in time for college admissions decisions.

Saul Geiser, a senior associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley, said the move would “worsen the perverse emphasis on test prep and test-taking skills at the expense of regular classroom learning.”

Mr. Geiser said that mastering writing skills and subject matter “is the best predictor of how students perform in college.”

Experts in college preparation said the announcement, while a major change, was partly just a recognition of a shifting environment for standardized testing. Jonathan Richard Burdick, vice president for enrollment at Cornell, said the “handwriting was on the wall for both the subject exams and the essay option long before the pandemic struck.”

Harris Zakarin, part-owner of the test preparation company Regents Review, said consideration of the tests had diminished in recent years. “From my experience, over the past couple of years, it has become extremely rare for a college to require a student to submit an essay with the SAT,” he said.

Mr. Zakarin said he expected that the SAT’s rival, the ACT, would follow suit and eliminate its writing component. The ACT said in a statement that it continuously evaluated demands for its products.

At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, officials dropped the SAT essay requirement in 2016 because they saw it as an undue burden on students, including an added fee, said Mike Drish, the university’s director of first-year admissions.

Mr. Drish said the university evaluated students’ writing preparedness based on their grades in English classes, as well as teacher recommendations and essays submitted as part of the admissions process.

Mark Rosenbaum, director of the California-based pro bono law firm Public Counsel, which represented the plaintiffs who sued the University of California over standardized testing, said the College Board’s decision was a step in the right direction but did not go far enough.

“Everyone knows that A.P. tests are also discriminatory in terms of student access to those tests and preparation for those tests,” Mr. Rosenbaum said. “It’s not like it eliminates racial and class discrimination.”

In addition to dropping the essay and subject tests, the College Board said it would continue to develop a version of the SAT test that could be administered digitally — something it tried and failed to do quickly with an at-home version last year after the pandemic shut down testing centers. The board gave no time frame for when a digital version of the SAT might be introduced, but said it would be given at testing centers by live proctors.

There were about 2.2 million registrations for weekend SAT tests in 2020 (some students take it more than once), but because of the pandemic, only 900,000 such tests were taken.

Anemona Hartocollis is a national correspondent, covering higher education. She is also the author of the book, “Seven Days of Possibilities: One Teacher, 24 Kids, and the Music That Changed Their Lives Forever.” More about Anemona Hartocollis

Stephanie Saul covers national politics. Since joining The Times in 2005, she has also written about the pharmaceutical industry, education and the illicit foreign money fueling Manhattan’s real estate boom. More about Stephanie Saul

clock This article was published more than  3 years ago

College Board is scrapping SAT’s optional essay and subject tests

essay in sat

Two major stress points in the grueling rituals of college admissions testing are vanishing this year: the optional essay-writing section of the SAT and the supplementary exams in various fields known as SAT subject tests.

The College Board announced Tuesday that it will discontinue those assessments. Citing the coronavirus crisis, officials said the pandemic has “accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to reduce and simplify demands on students.”

The testing organization, based in New York, also revealed the launch of a process to revise the main SAT, aiming to make the admission test “more flexible” and “streamlined” and enable students to take the exam digitally instead of with pencil and paper.

There were few details available on how the main SAT might be changed. David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board, said the organization is not pursuing an at-home version of the exam. He said more information would be coming in April.

The pandemic, which shuttered schools in March and continues to disrupt all levels of education, has created unprecedented turmoil for the SAT and the rival ACT admission test. Many college-bound students have struggled since spring to find testing centers available at the right time and place.

With some exceptions, colleges and universities have ended or temporarily suspended testing requirements. Some college admissions leaders have concluded that SAT or ACT scores are not needed to choose a class and that testing requirements might deter otherwise worthy applicants. Others are making temporary concessions to the reality of the pandemic upheaval and uneven access to testing.

Colleges are ditching required admission tests over covid-19. Will they ever go back?

Spring term delays: New wave of coronavirus uncertainty slams higher education

In 2020, the College Board said, students filed 2.2 million registrations to take the SAT on a weekend. But only about 900,000 tests were taken during those sessions as numerous exam centers closed for public health reasons, sometimes with little notice. Hundreds of thousands more SATs were administered last year through publicly funded programs during school days.

Even before the pandemic, the subject tests and the optional essay were losing influence. Fewer schools were requiring applicants to take them, and many experts questioned their value.

The subject tests, lasting an hour apiece, used multiple-choice questions to cover discrete topics such as math, literature, history, biology, chemistry, physics and various foreign languages. The maximum score for each was 800.

These tests long served a niche role in admissions as a way for students to amass extra credentials showing their prowess for ultracompetitive schools. For many years, Ivy League schools and others, including Georgetown University, recommended, encouraged or accepted subject test scores in addition to the scores they required from the main SAT or ACT. In the high school Class of 2017, about 220,000 students chose to take at least one subject test.

Fewer students are taking them. Few colleges require them. So why are SAT subject tests still needed?

But use of the subject tests has dwindled. The tests also have seemed in some ways to overlap with the College Board’s Advanced Placement testing program. AP tests, which are longer and include free-response questions, have proliferated in recent years. So a student who scored well on an AP calculus test, for example, might wonder why it would be necessary to also take an SAT subject test in math.

“AP provides a much richer and more flexible way for students to distinguish themselves,” Coleman said. The wide availability of AP programs, he said, make subject tests less necessary. More than 1.2 million students in the high school Class of 2019 took at least one AP test.

The College Board said it will no longer offer subject tests to U.S. students, effective immediately, and it will phase them out for international students by next summer.

The main SAT, which takes three hours, not including breaks, has one section on mathematics and another on evidence-based reading and writing. Each is worth up to 800 points. The reading and writing section covers editing and other language skills through multiple-choice questions.

The optional essay adds 50 minutes to the main test. Its score is reported separately and does not factor into the main score. About 1.2 million students in the Class of 2020 took the SAT with the essay — more than half of all who took the exam.

The modern SAT first included an essay prompt in 2005, at the urging of some in higher education, including leaders of the University of California, who thought that an independent measure of free-response writing was essential for admissions.

The most recent version of the essay assessment, which debuted in 2016 , is an analytic writing exercise that asks students to respond to a text. The College Board has said it is meant to resemble a “typical college writing assignment.” The ACT also includes an optional essay.

But enthusiasm for these essays has waned. Many colleges have found the essay scores are not useful or necessary for admissions. In 2018, Harvard University and numerous other highly selective schools dropped their requirement for students to submit an essay score. Last year, University of California officials took the same step as part of a larger policy shift to phase out use of the SAT and ACT.

Pencils down: Major colleges stop requiring essay test for admission

Even though few schools still require the essay scores, many students fret over whether they should take the essay option, and whether their essay scores are good enough to achieve their goals. Now, the College Board is pulling the plug on the essay in all but a few places.

The SAT essay will continue to be offered through June to anyone who wants to take it. After that, the College Board said, it will be available only in certain states, including Delaware and Oklahoma, that use the SAT for school accountability measurement and offer the test during the school day.

Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid at Yale University, applauded the College Board’s announcement. Yale recently stopped considering SAT subject test scores, he said. Quinlan said the SAT’s optional essay had limited value. “The essay score never really became a part of our review process,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan said he is inclined to favor revisions to the SAT that will make it more flexible and accessible and available in a digital format. “They’re going to have to plan, take time, do their due diligence,” he said of the College Board. “It will be a lift, but I think they are up for it.”

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essay in sat

essay in sat

Understanding the SAT and ACT Exams: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the SAT and ACT Exams: A Comprehensive Guide

For high school students in the United States, the SAT and ACT exams are critical milestones on the path to college admissions. These standardized tests are designed to assess a student’s readiness for college and provide colleges with a common data point to compare all applicants. While both exams serve a similar purpose, they have distinct formats, content areas, and scoring systems. This comprehensive guide explores the SAT and ACT exams, highlighting their structures, contents, and roles in the college admissions process.

essay in sat

The SAT Exam

The SAT, originally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a standardized test administered by the College Board . It was first introduced in 1926 and has since undergone several changes to better assess students’ academic abilities and potential for success in college.

Structure and Content

The SAT is divided into three main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW), Math, and an optional Essay. The test lasts for 3 hours, or 3 hours and 50 minutes if the Essay section is included.

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)

  • Duration: 65 minutes
  • Number of Questions: 52
  • Content: This section includes passages from literature, historical documents, social sciences, and natural sciences. Questions assess reading comprehension, including understanding of words in context, command of evidence, and analysis of arguments.
  • Duration: 35 minutes
  • Number of Questions: 44
  • Content: This section focuses on grammar, punctuation, and effective language use. Questions are based on passages and test a student’s ability to identify and correct errors and improve the quality of writing.
  • Duration: 25 minutes
  • Number of Questions: 20
  • Content: This section includes questions on arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Students are not permitted to use a calculator.
  • Duration: 55 minutes
  • Number of Questions: 38
  • Content: This section covers similar topics to the No Calculator section but allows the use of a calculator. It includes more complex problems, often requiring multi-step solutions.

Optional Essay

  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Content: The essay prompts students to analyze a given argument or passage. It assesses their reading, analysis, and writing skills. Though optional, some colleges may require the Essay for admission.

The SAT is scored on a scale of 400 to 1600, combining scores from the EBRW (200-800) and Math (200-800) sections. The Essay is scored separately on three dimensions: Reading, Analysis, and Writing, each on a scale of 2 to 8.

Importance in College Admissions

The SAT is widely used in college admissions as a measure of academic readiness and potential. Many colleges use SAT scores as part of a holistic review process, considering them alongside high school GPA, coursework, extracurricular activities, and personal essays.

essay in sat

The ACT Exam

The ACT, initially known as the American College Testing Program , is another widely accepted standardized test for college admissions in the United States. First administered in 1959, the ACT assesses students’ academic skills and readiness for college.

The ACT is divided into four main sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science, with an optional Writing section. The test lasts for 2 hours and 55 minutes, or 3 hours and 35 minutes if the Writing section is included.

  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Number of Questions: 75
  • Content: This section tests grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills. It includes multiple-choice questions based on passages that require students to identify and correct errors and improve writing clarity and effectiveness.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Number of Questions: 60
  • Content: The Math section covers a broad range of topics, including pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry. Calculators are permitted.
  • Number of Questions: 40
  • Content: This section includes passages from prose fiction, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. Questions assess reading comprehension, including the ability to determine main ideas, locate details, understand sequences of events, and analyze the author’s tone and purpose.
  • Content: The Science section evaluates the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. It includes questions on biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth/space sciences, based on provided data sets, research summaries, and conflicting viewpoints.

Optional Writing

  • Duration: 40 minutes
  • Content: The optional Writing section presents a prompt on a contemporary issue. Students are required to write an essay that presents their perspective on the issue, supporting it with reasoning and examples.

The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, which is an average of the four test sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science). Each section is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, and the composite score is the rounded average of these four sections. The optional Writing test is scored separately on a scale of 2 to 12.

Similar to the SAT, the ACT is an important component of college admissions. Colleges and universities use ACT scores to compare applicants from different high schools and educational backgrounds. Many institutions accept either SAT or ACT scores, giving students the flexibility to choose which test best showcases their abilities.

essay in sat

Comparing the SAT and ACT

Test format and timing.

While both the SAT and ACT are standardized tests used for college admissions, they have key differences in format and timing. The SAT has a total duration of 3 hours (without Essay) and includes fewer, but longer sections. The ACT, on the other hand, is shorter in terms of individual section durations but includes more questions overall.

Content and Focus

The SAT emphasizes evidence-based reading and writing, with a strong focus on analytical skills and command of evidence. Its Math section includes a segment where calculator use is not allowed, testing fundamental math skills. The ACT includes a unique Science section, testing scientific reasoning and interpretation skills, which the SAT does not have.

Scoring Systems

The scoring systems for the SAT and ACT are different, with the SAT being scored out of 1600 and the ACT out of 36. While both tests include an optional essay, the scoring and structure of these essays differ.

Regional Preferences

Geographical preferences can also influence a student’s choice between the SAT and ACT. Historically, the SAT has been more popular on the East and West Coasts, while the ACT has had a stronger presence in the Midwest and South. However, this trend is changing, with increasing numbers of students taking both exams to maximize their college admission opportunities.

Preparation and Strategy

Preparation for the SAT and ACT can differ based on the content and structure of each test. The SAT requires a strong focus on reading comprehension and evidence-based writing, while the ACT demands proficiency in a wider range of subjects, including science. Test-taking strategies may also vary; for example, pacing is crucial for the ACT due to the higher number of questions in a shorter amount of time.

Should I take the SAT or ACT Test?

Deciding between the SAT and ACT depends on individual strengths, college preferences, and test-taking strategies. Some students may find the SAT’s focus on analytical reading and evidence-based writing aligns with their skills, while others might prefer the ACT’s straightforward questions and scientific reasoning section. Many students take practice tests for both exams to determine which format suits them better.

How to Prepare for SAT and ACT exams?

MyStudyLife is an invaluable tool for students preparing for the ACT and SAT exams. This versatile app helps manage study schedules, track assignments, and set reminders for important test dates. The app’s task management feature allows you to break down your study goals into manageable tasks, set deadlines, and receive notifications to stay on track. Additionally, MyStudyLife’s calendar synchronization ensures you never miss a practice test or study session, making your exam preparation more structured and less stressful.

The SAT and ACT are essential components of the college admissions process in the United States, each offering a unique assessment of students’ academic abilities and readiness for college. Understanding the structure, content, and scoring of these exams helps students prepare effectively and choose the test that best aligns with their strengths and college aspirations. As the landscape of college admissions evolves, the SAT and ACT continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the futures of high school students across the country.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, what's an average sat score for 2024.

I'm currently preparing for the SAT, and I just wanted to know what the average SAT score is for the Class of 2024. What score should I aim for to have a better chance at competitive schools? Any advice would be appreciated!

For the Class of 2024, the average SAT score was around 1050, with 528 in Math and 522 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. However, it's essential to note that competitive schools usually have higher score expectations. To be a competitive applicant for selective colleges, you should aim for a score at least within the middle 50% range for the schools you're interested in.

For top-tier universities, the middle 50% SAT scores often fall in the range of 1450-1550. It's important to research your target schools and check the average or middle 50% ranges for those specific institutions. This information can typically be found on the college's admissions website or through resources like CollegeVine's School Search tool.

Besides achieving a strong SAT score (if the schools you're applying to still consider them), it's also crucial to focus on other aspects of your application, like maintaining a strong GPA, demonstrating involvement in extracurricular activities, and writing compelling essays. These factors will contribute to a well-rounded application, which admissions officers consider in a holistic review.

Remember, every school's expectations will differ, and some schools may be test-optional due to the COVID-19 pandemic's ongoing impact. Always go through each college's specific requirements to know how your SAT scores and other application components will be assessed.

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

Most Asian Americans think SAT but not race is fair to consider for college admissions

A student takes a practice SAT test.

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Most Asian American adults support use of the SAT and other standardized testing, along with high school grades, in college admission decisions but reject considering race or ethnicity to determine access, according to a new national survey released Wednesday.

The majority also think it’s unfair for colleges to consider an applicant’s athletic ability, family alumni ties, ability to pay full tuition or parents’ educational levels in determining who should get acceptance letters, the survey found.

At the same time, most Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders surveyed believe that slavery, racism and segregation should be taught in schools and oppose individual school boards restricting classroom discussion of specific topics, as some conservative districts have done.

Overall, AAPI adults value higher education not only as a pathway to economic well-being but for teaching critical thinking, fostering the free exchange of ideas and advancing equity and inclusion.

The survey by AAPI Data, a UC research enterprise, and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,068 AAPI adults age 18 and older. The poll, conducted April 8-17 in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean, has a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.

The poll offers a comprehensive look at attitudes toward education among Asian Americans, who make up a disproportionately large share of students at the University of California and other selective institutions — yet are often overlooked in policy discussions about equity and diversity.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 29: Kashish Bastola, a rising sophomore at Harvard University, hugs Nahla Owens, also a Harvard University student, outside of the Supreme Court of the United States on Thursday, June 29, 2023 in Washington, DC. In a 6-3 vote, Supreme Court Justices ruled that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional, setting precedent for affirmative action in other universities and colleges. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Supreme Court strikes down race-based affirmative action in college admissions

In another major reversal, the Supreme Court forbids the use of race as an admissions factor at colleges and universities.

June 29, 2023

Several polls have shown that Asian Americans support affirmative action, depending on how the question is asked. A 2022 survey found support at 69% when respondents were asked if they favor programs to help Black people, women and other minorities get access to higher education. But Asian American plaintiffs who led a landmark lawsuit against Harvard University argued that affirmative action policies that use race as a factor in admissions discriminated against them. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down such race-conscious practices.

In the new survey, the question about using race in admissions, worded without context about whom it would help, drew little support. Asked if they think it is “fair, unfair or neither fair or unfair for colleges and universities to make decisions about admitting students” based on race and ethnicity, 18% of respondents said it was fair, 53% said it was unfair, and 27% said it was neither.

The AAPI Data/Associated Press-NORC survey is among the first to gauge Asian American attitudes on standardized testing and other metrics for college admissions, along with broader questions about the value of education.

“The stereotype of AAPIs might suggest that they care about education only in a narrow way as it relates to economic mobility and hard skills related to job prospects,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a UC Riverside professor of public policy and political science and founder of AAPI Data. “This study reveals a more nuanced and fuller portrait, illustrating that AAPI individuals value education ... also for fostering critical thinking and nurturing a more informed citizenry.”

A strong majority — 71% — of those surveyed believe the history of slavery, racism, segregation and the AAPI community should be taught in public schools. A smaller majority, 53%, favor teaching about sex and sexuality — including 72% of AAPI Democrats and 25% of Republicans.

Overall, AAPI adults hold similar views as the general American public about the keys to children’s success: hard work, time spent with parents and which schools they attend. Asian Americans, however, are significantly more likely to believe the neighborhoods they live in are important to educational success — 62%, compared with 49% of all Americans. Ramakrishnan said research has shown that AAPI families are more willing to move to areas with good schools even if it means living in worse housing.

Asian American support for standardized testing comes as several elite universities have restored those requirements for admissions after pausing them during the pandemic. In recent months, Harvard, Caltech, Yale, Dartmouth and the University of Texas at Austin, among others, have reinstated testing mandates.

Access Youth Center students working on SAT test prep.

UC slams the door on standardized admissions tests, nixing any SAT alternative

The University of California has slammed the door shut on standardized testing for admissions, saying no alternative to the SAT can avoid bias based on race, income.

Nov. 18, 2021

Some institutions say their reviews showed that the testing requirements increase diversity — benefiting applicants with less access to a rigorous high school curriculum, strong letters of recommendation or impressive extracurricular activities. Others have said it’s harder to assess an applicant’s readiness for college work without standardized testing — especially because many educators have reported significant grade inflation since the pandemic.

The University of California and California State University have both eliminated standardized testing requirements for admission.

Although some UC leaders have indicated interest in reviewing the effect of that decision on student outcomes, faculty leaders say there may not be much of an appetite for it. The UC Board of Regents rejected the Academic Senate’s recommendation to retain testing requirements and voted to bar them for admissions decisions.

USC is continuing its test-optional policy — accepting scores from those who wish to submit them but not penalizing those who don’t — and is reviewing whether to continue that course.

Frank Xu, a San Diego parent of a high school sophomore and an MIT student, said he opposed UC regents’ decision to nix testing mandates and believes that the preponderance of research shows that test scores highly correlate with college success.

“I’m all for research-based decisions, and I felt that at UC, it was a completely political decision to ignore the faculty senate,” he said.

But some Asian American students say testing is an unfair factor in admissions decisions.

At Downtown Magnets High School, students Rida Hossain and Shariqa Sultana said their families were not able to afford test prep, with annual incomes of less than $30,000 and relatives in Bangladesh to support.

“Standardized testing doesn’t portray a student’s capacity for how they’ll perform in higher education, because in the classroom, they’ll be doing a lot of essay writing, research, collaboration and projects that wouldn’t necessarily be put into a multiple-choice exam,” Shariqa said. “How you actually perform in class and your extracurriculars are a better metric than one test that determines your entire future.”

Ramakrishnan said there are several reasons why many Asian Americans support standardized testing. The majority are immigrants from China, South Korea, India and other countries that use such tests for college admissions, he said. They are accustomed to a system of high-stakes testing and see it as an equitable way to determine college access, compared with wealth or political connections.

The survey backs up that point, showing that 70% of AAPI respondents who are immigrants back testing, compared with 56% of those born in the United States. A plurality of those surveyed, 45%, said it was fair to consider personal experiences with hardship or adversity.

But 69% of those surveyed said legacy admissions — preferential treatment for children of alumni — was unfair, while 48% oppose consideration of an applicant’s ability to pay. A majority, 54%, don’t think it’s fair to consider whether applicants are the first in their family to attend college.

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FILE - Protesters dressed as Abraham Lincoln chant during a Planned Parenthood rally in support of abortion access outside the U.S. Supreme Court, April 15, 2023, in Washington. A new poll from from AAPI Data and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. are highly supportive of legal abortion, even in situations where the pregnant person wants an abortion for any reason. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard, File)

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Irvine, CA - May 11: A view of students and faculty at the courtyard at the University of California-Irvine in Irvine Thursday, May 11, 2023. UC Irvine is boosting student housing construction amid a critical statewide shortage of affordable dorms, which has pushed some students to live in cars, tents or squeezed into cramped quarters with several roommates. UCI received a state housing construction grant, one of the few UC campuses to do so; the funds will help the university offer rents at 30% below market value. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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LOS ANGELES, CA-February 2, 2024:Karen Umemoto, director of the Asian American Studies Center at UCLA, is photographed next to the multicultural mural between between the Asian American and American Indian studies centers depicting the program's legacies. Two UCLA alumni who fought for UCLA to create ethnic studies programs 55 years ago have doubled down on their commitment to the field with a 10 million dollar grant that will endow four chairs in the Asian American, African American, Chicano and American Indian studies centers. (Story is embargoed until 6 am Monday, February 5, 2024) (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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essay in sat

Teresa Watanabe covers education for the Los Angeles Times. Since joining the Times in 1989, she has covered immigration, ethnic communities, religion, Pacific Rim business and served as Tokyo correspondent and bureau chief. She also covered Asia, national affairs and state government for the San Jose Mercury News and wrote editorials for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. A Seattle native, she graduated from USC in journalism and in East Asian languages and culture.

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Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 6 sat essay examples to answer every prompt.


Just as with most essays, the major secret to excelling on the SAT essay is to pre-plan the examples and evidence you want to use.

"But wait!" I hear you cry. "Can you do that on the new SAT essay? Isn’t the point of the essay that you’re supposed to be using information from the passage in your answer, which you don’t know about ahead of time?"

The answer: Yes and no. While the specifics of each example will obviously change, depending on the passage, the types of examples you choose to discuss (and the way you explain each example builds the author’s argument) can be defined, and thus prepared for, ahead of time.

In this article, we give you 6 good SAT essay examples you’ll be able to find in nearly every prompt the SAT throws at you. By assembling a collection of these reliable types of evidence that can be used to answer most prompts, you'll cut down on planning time and significantly increase the amount you can write, making you able to walk into every SAT essay confident in your abilities.

feature image credit: 1 to 9 mosaic , cropped/Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

UPDATE: SAT Essay No Longer Offered

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In January 2021, the College Board announced that after June 2021, it would no longer offer the Essay portion of the SAT (except at schools who opt in during School Day Testing). It is now no longer possible to take the SAT Essay, unless your school is one of the small number who choose to offer it during SAT School Day Testing.

While most colleges had already made SAT Essay scores optional, this move by the College Board means no colleges now require the SAT Essay. It will also likely lead to additional college application changes such not looking at essay scores at all for the SAT or ACT, as well as potentially requiring additional writing samples for placement.

What does the end of the SAT Essay mean for your college applications? Check out our article on the College Board's SAT Essay decision for everything you need to know.

Why You Can Prep SAT Essay Examples Before Test Day

The SAT essay prompts have several important things in common:

  • They’re all passages that try to convince the reader of the veracity of the author’s claim
  • They’re all around the same length (650-750 words)
  • They’re all meant to be analyzed and written about in a relatively short period of time (50 minutes)

This means that you can have a pretty good idea ahead of time of what types of argument-building techniques you might see when you open the booklet on test day.

The main techniques the author uses aren't going to be overly complex (like the first letter of every word spelling out a secret code), because you just don’t have the time to analyze and write about complex techniques. B ecause of that, you can prepare yourself with SAT essay examples that’ll be likely found across persuasive passages about many different issues .

Naturally, for each passage you're going to want to play to its particular strengths—if there are a lot of facts/statistics, make sure to discuss that; if it dwells more on personal anecdotes/appeals to emotion, discuss those. However, if you struggle with analysis in a short period of time, memorizing these categories of examples ahead of time can give you a helpful checklist to go through when reading the SAT essay prompt and point you in the right direction.

Below, we've chosen two examples of evidence, two examples of reasoning, and two examples of stylistic/persuasive elements you can use as stellar evidence to support your thesis .

For each example below, we also show you how you can use the type of evidence to support your thesis across a range of prompts. This flexibility should prove to you how effective pre-planned examples are.

So, without further ado, onto our list of multipurpose support for any SAT Essay prompt.

Examples of Evidence

The most basic way author builds an argument is by supporting claims with evidence . There are many different kinds of evidence author might use to support her/his point, but I'm just going to discuss the two big ones I've seen in various official SAT Essay prompts. These two types of evidence are Facts and Statistics and Anecdotes .

Example Type 1: Facts and Statistics

Employing statistics and facts to bolster one's argument is one of the most unassailable methods authors can use to build an argument. This argument-building technique is particularly common in essays written about scientific or social studies-related topics, where specific data and facts are readily available.

How Can You Identify It?

Statistics usually show up in the form of specific numbers related to the topic at hand —maybe as percents, or maybe as a way to communicate other data.

Here are a couple of examples of statistics from an official SAT essay prompt, "Let There Be Dark" by Paul Bogard :

Example : 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way

Example : In the United States and Western Europe, the amount of light in the sky increases an average of about 6% every year.

Factual evidence can also be in the form of non-numerical information. Often, you'll see facts presented with references to the research study, survey, expert, or other source from which they're drawn. Here's another example from "Let There Be Dark":

Example : Already the World Health Organization classifies working the night shift as a probable human carcinogen[.]

Why Is It Persuasive?

Facts and statistics are persuasive argument building techniques because the author isn't just making up reasons for why his/her argument could possibly be true— there's actually something (data, research, other events/information) that backs up the author's claim .

In the case of the examples above, Bogard presents specific data about issues with light pollution (8 in 10 children won't be able to see the Milky Way, light in the sky increases 6% annually) to back up his statements that light pollution is real, then goes on to present further information that indicates light pollution is a problem (working the night shift puts humans at risk for cancer).

By presenting information and facts, rather than just opinion and spin, Bogard empowers the reader to connect the dots on her own, which in turn gives the reader ownership over the argument and makes it more persuasive (since the reader is coming to the same conclusions on her own, rather than entirely relying on Bogard to tell her what to think).

Example Type 2: Anecdotes

Another form of evidence that is often used as an alternative to actual facts or statistics is the anecdote. This type of evidence is most often found in speeches or other sorts of essay prompts that are written as a personal address to the reader.

An anecdote is a short story about a real person or event . When an author discusses own personal experience or personal experience of someone they know or have heard of, that's anecdotal evidence.

Here's an example of (part of) an anecdote from an official SAT essay prompt that was adapted from a foreword by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter :

One of the most unforgettable and humbling experiences of our lives occurred on the coastal plain. We had hoped to see caribou during our trip, but to our amazement, we witnessed the migration of tens of thousands of caribou with their newborn calves. In a matter of a few minutes, the sweep of tundra before us became flooded with life, with the sounds of grunting animals and clicking hooves filling the air. The dramatic procession of the Porcupine caribou herd was a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife spectacle. We understand firsthand why some have described this special birthplace as “America’s Serengeti.”

Even though anecdotes aren't statistics or facts, they can be powerful because it’s more relatable/interesting to the reader to read an anecdote than to be presented with dry, boring facts. People tend to put more faith in experiences if they can personally connect with the experiences (even though that doesn't actually affect how likely or not a statement is to be true).

In the example above, rather than discussing the statistics that support the creation of wildlife refuges, Jimmy Carter instead uses an anecdote about experiencing the wonder of nature to illustrate the same point—probably more effectively.

By inviting the reader to experience vicariously the majesty of witnessing the migration of the Porcupine caribou, Carter activates the reader's empathy towards wildlife preservation and so makes it more likely that the reader will agree with him that wildlife refuges are important.


Examples of Reasoning

All authors use reasoning to some extent, but it’s not always a major part of how the author builds her/his argument. Sometimes, though, the support for a claim on its own might not seem that persuasive—in those cases, an author might then choose to use reasoning to explain how the evidence presented actually builds the argument.

Example Type 3: Counterarguments and Counterclaims

One way in which an author might use reasoning to persuade the reader to accept the claim being put forward is to discuss a counterargument, or counterclaim, to the author's main point. The discussion (and subsequent neutralization) of counterarguments is found in prompts across all subject areas.

A counterargument or counterclaim is simply another point of view that contradicts (either fully or partially) the author's own argument. When "some might claim," "however," or other contrast words and phrases show up in an essay prompt, the author is likely presenting a counterclaim.

Here's an example of an effective presentation (and negation) of a counter claim from an official SAT essay prompt, "The Digital Parent Trap" by Eliana Dockterman :

“You could say some computer games develop creativity,” says Lucy Wurtz, an administrator at the Waldorf School in Los Altos, Calif., minutes from Silicon Valley. “But I don’t see any benefit. Waldorf kids knit and build things and paint—a lot of really practical and creative endeavors.”

But it’s not that simple. While there are dangers inherent in access to Facebook, new research suggests that social-networking sites also offer unprecedented learning opportunities.

So how does bringing up an opposing point of view help an author build her argument? It may seem counterintuitive that discussing a counterargument actually strengthens the main argument. However, as you can see in the brief example above, giving some space to another point of view serves to make it seem as if the discussion’s going to be more “fair.” This is still true whether the author delves into the counterargument or if the author only briefly mentions an opposing point of view before moving on.

A true discussion of the counterargument  (as is present in Dockterman's article) will   also show a deeper understanding of the topic than if the article only presented a one-sided argument . And because the presence of a counterargument demonstrates that the author knows the topic well enough to be able to see the issue from multiple sides, the reader's more likely to trust that the author's claims are well-thought out and worth believing.

In the case of the Dockterman article, the author not only mentions the opposite point of view but also takes the time to get a quote from someone who supports the opposing viewpoint. This even-handedness makes her following claim that "it's not that simple" more believable, since she doesn't appear to be presenting a one-sided argument.


Example Type 4: Explanation of Evidence

In some cases, the clarity with which the author links her evidence and her claims is integral to the author's argument. As the College Board Official SAT Study Guide says,

Reasoning is the connective tissue that holds an argument together. It’s the “thinking” — the logic, the analysis — that develops the argument and ties the claim and evidence together."

Explanation of evidence is one of the trickier argument-building techniques to discuss (at least in my opinion), because while it is present in many essay prompts, it isn't always a major persuasive feature. You can pretty easily identify an author's explanation of evidence if the author connects a claim to support and explains it , rather than just throwing out evidence without much ceremony or linking to the claim; however, whether or not the explanation of the evidence is a major contributing factor to the author's argument is somewhat subjective.

Here's a pretty clear instance of a case where an author uses explanations of each piece of evidence she discusses to logically advance her argument (again from the Dockterman passage):

And at MIT’s Education Arcade, playing the empire-building game Civilization piqued students’ interest in history and was directly linked to an improvement in the quality of their history-class reports. The reason: engagement. On average, according to research cited by MIT, students can remember only 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 50% of what they see demonstrated. But when they’re actually doing something themselves—in the virtual worlds on iPads or laptops—that retention rate skyrockets to 90%. This is a main reason researchers like Ito say the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of a two-hour screen-time limit is an outdated concept: actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating than vegging out in front of the TV.


Unfortunately, the explanation the Official SAT Study Guide gives for how to discuss an author's "reasoning" is a little vague:

You may decide to discuss how the author uses (or fails to use) clear, logical reasoning to draw a connection between a claim and the evidence supporting that claim.

But how exactly you should go about doing this? And wh y is it persuasive to clearly explain the link between evidence and claim?

In general, when an author explains the logic behind her argument or point, the reader can follow along and understand the author’s argument better (which in some cases makes it more likely the reader will agree with the author).

In the Dockterman example above, the author clearly lays out data ( Civilization leads to improvements in history class), a claim (this is because of engagement with the game and thus the subject material), provides data that back up that claim (retention rate skyrockets when students do things for themselves), and links that smaller claim to a larger concept (actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating than vegging out in front of the TV).  This clear pattern of data-explanation-more data-more explanation enables the reader to follow along with Dockterman's points. It's more persuasive because, rather than just being told " Civilization leads to improvements in history" and having to take it on faith, the reader is forced to reenact the thinking processes that led to the argument, engaging with the topic on a deeper level.

Examples of Stylistic/Persuasive Elements

This final category of examples is the top layer of argument building. The foundation of a good argument is evidence, which is often explained and elucidated by reasoning, but it is often the addition of stylistic or persuasive elements like an ironic tone or a rhetorical flourish that seals the deal.

Example Type 5: Vivid Language

Vivid language is truly the icing on the persuasive cake. As with explanations of evidence, vivid language can be found across all topics of essay prompts (although it usually plays a larger role when the passage is lacking in more convincing facts or logic).


Vivid language is pretty easy to spot—it shows itself in similes, metaphors, adjectives, or any words that jump out at you that don’t seem to have purely functional purposes . Here are a couple of examples—the first is Paul Bogard again:

…show that what was a very dark country as recently as the 1950s is now nearly covered with a blanket of light.

This example is relatively restrained, using the metaphor of "a blanket of light" to add emphasis to Bogard's discussion of light pollution. A more striking example can be found in another official SAT essay prompt, adapted from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech "Beyond Vietnam—A Time To Break Silence":

Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube.

Vivid language is an effective argument building device because it puts the reader in the author’s shoes and draws them into the passage . If used in moderation, vivid language will also make the topic more interesting for the reader to read, thus engaging them further.

In the excerpt taken from Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech above, the phrase "demonic destructive suction tube" is startling and provocative, meant to rouse the audience's indignation at the injustice and waste of the Vietnam war. If King had left out the second part of the sentence and only said, "Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money," his point would not have had as big of an impact.

Example Type 6: Direct Addresses and Appeals to the Reader

The last category I'll be discussing in this article are direct addresses and appeals to the reader. These stylistic elements are found across all sorts of different passage topics, although as with the previous category, these elements usually play a larger role when the passage is light on facts or logic.

Direct addresses and appeals to the reader are wordings or other stylistic devices specifically designed to provoke a response (often emotional) in the reader . This category covers many different elements, from appeals to emotion to rhetorical questions. Here's an example of an appeal to emotion, taken again from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech:

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.

And here's an example of a rhetorical question (from the Paul Bogard article):

Who knows what this vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?

Appealing to the emotions , as Martin Luther King, Jr. does in his speech, is an alternate route to persuasion, as it causes readers to emotionally (rather than logically) agree with the author . By describing how the war was causing "their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and die," King reminds the reader of the terrible costs of war, playing upon their emotions to get them to agree that the Vietnam War is a mistake, particularly for the poor.

Rhetorical questions , on the other hand, get the readers to step into the author's world. By reading and thinking about the author's question, the reader engages with the topic on a deeper level than if the reader were just given a statement of what the author thinks . In the case of the Bogard example above, the rhetorical question draws the reader into thinking about his/her descendants, a group of people for whom the reader (presumably) only wishes the best, which then puts the reader into a positive mood (assuming the reader likes his/her descendants).

As you can see, these examples of different argumentative techniques can be extracted from a lot of different article types for a wide range of topics . This is because the examples themselves are so meaningful and complex that they can be used to discuss a lot of issues.

The main point is, you don't have to wait until you see the prompt to develop an arsenal of types of argument-building techniques you can use to support your points. Instead, preparing beforehand how you’ll discuss these techniques will save you a lot of time and anxiety when the test rolls around .


What's Next?

If you're reading this article, you probably want to excel on the SAT essay. We've written a bunch of detailed guides to make sure you do.

Start to scratch the surface with our 15 tips to improve your SAT essay score .

Follow our step-by-step guide to writing a high-scoring essay and learn how to get a perfect 8/8/8 on the SAT essay .

Took the old SAT and not sure how the new essay compares to the old? Start with our article about what’s changed with the new SAT essay , then follow along as we  investigate the SAT essay rubric .

Want to score a perfect SAT score? Check out our guide on how to score a perfect SAT score , written by our resident perfect scorer.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points?   We have the industry's leading SAT prep program. Built by Harvard grads and SAT full scorers, the program learns your strengths and weaknesses through advanced statistics, then customizes your prep program to you so you get the most effective prep possible.   Along with more detailed lessons, you'll get thousands of practice problems organized by individual skills so you learn most effectively. We'll also give you a step-by-step program to follow so you'll never be confused about what to study next.   Check out our 5-day free trial today:

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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I’ve sat through every day of Trump’s criminal trial. This is what it’s really like

Only reporters and a handful of members of the public are able to witness the surreal spectacle of the former president struggling to stay awake for his own trial, alex woodward writes.

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Donald Trump sits at the defense table inside a Manhattan courtroom for his hush money trial on May 21

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A few dozen reporters raced for the exits the moment New York state court officers let us leave the 15th floor courtroom.

From a stairwell window I could see a plume of smoke in the small park across the street. Down another floor, I could see the crowd forming around it. Down another, an ambulance and police. The smell of gas and burning flesh then hit me as I walked through the front door.

On the fourth and final day of jury selection in Donald Trump ’s criminal trial in Manhattan , a man had self-immolated behind police barriers on the other side of the street.

I’ve attended every day of the first-ever criminal trial of an American president , and the harrowing image of a pile of ash and debris on cement just steps away from where dozens of reporters line up every morning to get into the courthouse is seared into my memory, but barely remembered in the surreal spectacle taking place inside.

While cops chased down his neon pamphlets flying in the breeze towards a phalanx of news cameras, a distraught cameraman cursed at the scene in front of him; not because of what he had seen, but because he left for lunch and missed his shot. I asked the court’s trenchcoat-wearing spokesperson if the trial was delayed. He smiled. “I’m headed there right now,” he told me.

After snaking through two lines for metal detectors downstairs, up the elevators back to the 15th floor, through another two rows of bag checks and another set of metal detectors, we filed back into the courtroom before the former president trudged inside and plopped himself at the defense table .

There, we continued to bear witness to a silent and tired Trump, who slouches, stares and keeps his eyes shut for six to seven hours a day, three to four days a week — a view that’s been afforded to only his entourage and the handfuls of attorneys, court officers, journalists and members of the public allowed inside.

He lumbers in and out of the court, sits briefly by himself at the defense table before his attorneys join him, then keeps his eyes closed for most of the day. His mouth falls open occasionally, before he appears to snap awake and scrunch his face as if he’s listening harder. He sinks into his chair and disappears, barely a witness to his own trial.

Donald Trump speaks to cameras outside his criminal trial in Manhattan on May 20

Getting there takes some time and patience. I get in line across the street before sunrise behind a few other reporters and professional line holders who make $50 an hour to sleep in camp chairs, personal tents and blankets for overnight shifts, paid by larger media networks to guarantee a spot inside. After we’re allowed inside around 8.30 am, I find a seat in one of the rows of wood benches inside an adjoining courtroom with space for roughly 100 people, watching next door’s closed-circuit broadcast on three large TV screens.

We’re joined by a motley crew of everyday citizens eager to witness history up close. In the public line next to us were retirees visiting their daughter during college graduation, a California attorney on vacation who couldn’t resist a courtroom, and high school students skipping class.

And then there were the returning characters. One man with backpacks made out of clocks said he was hoping to sell trial body language information to online betting sites. A pair of Trump-supporting Chinese women in USA-branded hats and apparel unfurled an American flag. John McIntosh, who lugged around a suitcase, used the lines to collect the thousands of signatures he needs to get on the ballot for US Senate.

Sylvia Achee walked up and down the line carrying a handbag-sized speaker playing her husband D-Achee’s song “Liars Must Go” while handing out printed-out lyric sheets. In the small park on the other side of the fence, a woman blew a shofar and played CeCe Winans’ “Come Jesus Come” from her phone and into a bullhorn.

Reporters and members of the public line up across the street from a criminal courthouse in downtown Manhattan for a seat inside Donald Trump’s trial on May 16

Inside the courtroom , boldface media names — like CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Kaitlan Collins — sat alongside veteran court reporters and exhausted print journalists operating on little sleep. During her one-day visit, I sat next to Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, who filled a notebook with handwritten notes before she went on air to rip into Stormy Daniels . A few days later, the former president stood in the hallway and read one of her statements calling the judge a “fool.”

More than a dozen New York court officers direct the steady flow of foot traffic, but it’s Mr Trump’s presence that sets the rules. While he’s on the floor, unloading grievances and barking at the small pool of reporters and cameras stationed in a barricaded pen in the hallway, steps away from the men’s bathroom, we’re effectively forced to shelter in place.

When he’s inside, we’re free, and he goes right back to sitting at the defense table, mute and staring at nothing, out of view of the rest of the world, except for us.

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Playing Catch-Up With The SAT, The ACT Will Offer Online Test Version This Month

The new test is shorter than the paper version, but ACT will report the scores to colleges without saying which test the student has taken.

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Students who opt for the online ACT won't know until the day of the test whether they get the traditional digital test or the shorter, experimental version.

Racing to catch up to the College Board and its new online-only SAT test, the ACT will debut a shortened digital version of its standard paper test this month for some students. ACT first piloted an online test with just 5,000 test-takers in December, but that version was identical to the long-standing paper test.

In 2023, 1.9 million high school students took the SAT, while about 1.4 million took the ACT. That number could rise in 2024 as more students register to take the tests, which were made optional by many colleges during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent months, a stream of schools, including Harvard, Brown, Yale and Caltech have announced plans to once again require applicants to submit test scores for admissions consideration, signaling a potential sea change in how college officials think about standardized testing.

Critics of the SAT and ACT had argued that requiring the tests gave an unfair advantage to wealthy students who can afford expensive test prep courses. But recent research from a group led by Harvard economist Raj Chetty found that standardized tests actually help level the playing field for low-income students in a way that other traditional admissions criteria—such as extracurricular resumes and letters of recommendation—do not.

ACT’s June online test will include fewer questions and allow test-takers more time per question. Students will have 170 minutes to take the new test. The paper test, which takes 175 minutes, will remain the same. Only students at select test centers—ACT says it can’t yet say how many—will be able to opt for an online version of the test, and those that do won’t know until the day of testing whether they’ll be taking an online test identical to the paper version or the new, shorter test. The cost for all versions of the test is the same—$93 for an ACT test with a writing portion, plus score reports for the test-taker, their high school and up to four colleges. The SAT currently costs $60 (but its price will increase to $68 starting August 24).

Although the new test has not been tried out in a pilot, ACT will present the scores as official and encourage test-takers to send those scores to colleges. “All scores from the June 2024 test will be college-reportable and fully valid for institutions to use. Colleges will not be informed of which test a student took,” an ACT spokesperson said in an email to Forbes . “Both versions of the national online test are carefully designed to measure the same knowledge, skills, and abilities.”

Ash Kramer, chief product officer at Compass Education Group, a standardized test prep company, advises any student who is concerned about how they might fare on the new test to opt for the paper version. “If I, as an individual student, am going in to take the test and I end up with the shorter test, and my scores are lower than I expected, I might be worried that I’d been overly penalized,” Kramer says. “The worst case scenario is that I will have to take the test again.”

The College Board introduced the online SAT for test-takers outside the U.S. in 2023, and now as of this past January, all students take the digital version. It’s two hours long and adaptive, meaning that if a student performs well early on in the test, the latter parts of the test will be more difficult. “A really easy question isn’t going to tell you much about how a high scorer is going to perform, and a harder question isn’t going to tell you much about how a lower scorer is going to perform,” Kramer says. Adaptive questioning allows the testers to discern more information about a student in a shorter period of time. By contrast, the digital ACT—both the full and new shortened version—is not adaptive.

ACT became a for-profit company in April when Nexus Capital Management, a Los Angeles-based private equity investment firm, took over the test and another ACT subsidiary, Encoura, and turned them into a public benefit corporation. So far, ACT has not made any changes to test pricing in the wake of the for-profit conversion.

Emma Whitford

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    The SAT Essay is a lot like a typical college writing assignment that asks you to analyze a text. It shows colleges that you're able to read, analyze, and write at the college level. The SAT Essay asks you to use your reading, analysis, and writing skills. You'll be asked to: Read a passage. Explain how the author builds an argument to persuade ...

  3. How to Write an SAT Essay, Step by Step

    This is the argument you need to deconstruct in your essay. Writing an SAT essay consists of four major stages: Reading: 5-10 minutes. Analyzing & Planning: 7-12 minutes. Writing: 25-35 minutes. Revising: 2-3 minutes. There's a wide time range for a few of these stages, since people work at different rates.

  4. Should I Take the SAT Essay? How to Decide

    Taking the SAT with the essay will also cost you a bit more money. Taking the SAT without the essay costs $46, but if you choose to take the essay, it costs $14 extra, raising the total cost of the SAT to $60. However, if you're eligible for an SAT fee waiver, the waiver also applies to this section of the exam, so you still won't have to pay ...

  5. The Most Reliable SAT Essay Template and Format

    SAT Essay Format: A Quick Recap. To summarize, your SAT essay should stick to the following format: Introduction (with your thesis) - 2-5 sentences. Start with a statement about what the author of the passage is arguing. Thesis with a clear statement about what argumentative techniques you'll be examining in the essay.

  6. PDF The SAT® Practice Essay #1

    Adapted from Paul Bogard, "Let There Be Dark." ©2012 by Paul Bogard. Originally published in Los Angeles Times, December 21, 2012. At my family's cabin on a Minnesota lake, I knew woods so dark that my hands disappeared before my eyes. I knew night skies in which meteors left smoky trails across sugary spreads of stars.

  7. The SAT Writing Section (Essay): Here's What You Need to Know

    For example, with this practice essay, it could look like this: Intro: Braun argues that continuing to invest in space tech and research keeps us competitive in the world economy. Devices: logos, imagery, allusion. Body 1: Logos (logic): paragraph 3, 5, 7. Body 2: Imagery: paragraph 4, 6. Body 3: Allusion: paragraph 8.

  8. SAT Essay Scoring

    Responses to the optional SAT Essay are scored using a carefully designed process. Two different people will read and score your essay. Each scorer awards 1-4 points for each dimension: reading, analysis, and writing. The two scores for each dimension are added. You'll receive three scores for the SAT Essay—one for each dimension—ranging ...

  9. 5 SAT Essay Tips for a Great Score

    Here are 5 tips for writing a killer SAT essay, should you decide to add on that section: 1. Stay Objective. The thing to remember here is that ETS (the company that writes the test) is not asking you for your opinion on a topic or a text. So be sure to maintain formal style and an objective tone.

  10. The Optional SAT Essay: What to Know

    Although the essay portion of the SAT became optional in 2016, many students still chose to write it to demonstrate strong or improved writing skills to prospective colleges. In June 2021, the ...

  11. Ultimate Guide to the New SAT Essay

    The new SAT Essay is a lot like a typical college or upper-level high school writing assignment in which you're asked to analyze a text. You'll be provided a passage between 650 and 750 words, and you will be asked to explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his or her audience.

  12. Official Digital SAT® Prep

    Prep. Official We partnered directly with College Board, the creators of the digital SAT, to help you focus on the exact skills you need to succeed on the test. Interactive Sharpen your skills with our library of thousands of practice questions, videos, lessons, and hints plus test-taking tips and strategies. High Quality Prep for every section ...

  13. Everything You Need to Know About the Digital SAT

    The SAT puts your achievements into context. That means it shows off your qualifications to colleges and helps you stand out. Most colleges—including those that are test optional—still accept SAT scores. Together with high school grades, the SAT can show your potential to succeed in college or career. Learn more about why you should take ...

  14. What were SAT Subject Tests?

    February 23, 2024. SAT Subject Tests™ were standardized college admission tests in specific subjects. Students could choose to take these tests, in addition to the SAT, to showcase their strengths and interests. Previously called SAT II: Subject Tests, and before that Achievement Tests, each Subject Test examined students' understanding of ...

  15. The Reading and Writing Section

    The questions on the Reading and Writing section fall into four content domains: Information and Ideas. Measures comprehension, analysis, and reasoning skills and knowledge and the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, and integrate information and ideas from texts and informational graphics (tables, bar graphs, and line graphs).

  16. SAT Essay Prompts: The Complete List

    No extra time allowed! #5: Grade the essay, using the official essay rubric to give yourself a score out of 8 in the reading, analysis, and writing sections. #6: Repeat steps 4 and 5. Choose the prompts you think will be the hardest for you so that you can so that you're prepared for the worst when the test day comes.

  17. The SAT Announces Dropping Essay and Subject Tests

    The essay section was introduced in 2005, and was considered among the most drastic changes to the SAT in decades. It came amid a broader overhaul of the test, which included eliminating verbal ...

  18. College Board is scrapping SAT's optional essay and subject tests

    January 19, 2021 at 2:10 p.m. EST. The College Board will discontinue the SAT Subject Tests and an optional essay. (iStock) Two major stress points in the grueling rituals of college admissions ...

  19. What is the SAT or ACT? Guide to College Admissions Exams

    The SAT has a total duration of 3 hours (without Essay) and includes fewer, but longer sections. The ACT, on the other hand, is shorter in terms of individual section durations but includes more questions overall. Content and Focus . The SAT emphasizes evidence-based reading and writing, with a strong focus on analytical skills and command of ...

  20. What's an average SAT score for 2024?

    For the Class of 2024, the average SAT score was around 1050, with 528 in Math and 522 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. However, it's essential to note that competitive schools usually have higher score expectations. To be a competitive applicant for selective colleges, you should aim for a score at least within the middle 50% range for the schools you're interested in.

  21. ROTC Scholarships

    To be accepted for any ROTC scholarship, you must meet these standards. Be a U.S. citizen. Be at least 17 and under 31 in year of commissioning. Have a high school diploma or equivalent. Have an unweighted high school GPA of at least 2.50 if you're in high school while applying. Have taken the SAT or ACT.

  22. Center for College Access keeping its promise to prepare Louisiana high

    Three years ago, a program to provide Louisiana high school students with free SAT and ACT prep courses, essay writing workshops and other programs to prepare them for college attracted eight students from four parishes. Fast-forward to today and that program — the Louisiana Center for College Access (LCCA) — has provided college access support to 6,049 high school students from 63 parishes.

  23. SAT Essay Examples for the 6 Types of Essay Prompts

    You'll get detailed SAT essay examples that guide you through how to construct an argument. SAT Essay Prompt Type 1: Discuss what people should do. This type of SAT essay question lends itself to many different kinds of examples. Anything that involves people and their choices is fair game. See the diagram below for more information on how this ...

  24. PDF The SAT® Practice Essay #3

    Write an essay in which you explain how Adam B. Summers builds an argument to persuade his audience that plastic shopping bags should not be banned. In your essay, analyze how Summers uses one or more of the features listed in the box above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument.

  25. Most Asian Americans think SAT is fair factor in college admissions

    May 29, 2024 3 AM PT. Most Asian American adults support use of the SAT and other standardized testing, along with high school grades, in college admission decisions but reject considering race or ...

  26. My SAT Home Page

    Sign in to My SAT to register for the SAT, print admission tickets, change existing registrations and send score reports to colleges.

  27. 6 SAT Essay Examples to Answer Every Prompt

    Here are a couple of examples of statistics from an official SAT essay prompt, "Let There Be Dark" by Paul Bogard: Example: 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way. Example: In the United States and Western Europe, the amount of light in the sky increases an average of about 6% every year.

  28. I've sat through every day of Trump's criminal trial. This is what it's

    A few dozen reporters raced for the exits the moment New York state court officers let us leave the 15th floor courtroom. From a stairwell window I could see a plume of smoke in the small park ...

  29. How the SAT Is Structured

    How the SAT Is Structured. The digital SAT is composed of two sections: Reading and Writing and Math. Students have 64 minutes to complete the Reading and Writing section and 70 minutes to complete the Math section for a total of 2 hours and 14 minutes. Each section is divided into 2 equal length modules, and there is a 10-minute break between ...

  30. Playing Catch-Up With The SAT, The ACT Will Offer Online Test ...

    The SAT currently costs $60 (but its price will increase to $68 starting August 24). Although the new test has not been tried out in a pilot, ACT will present the scores as official and encourage ...