How To Write An SAT Essay? A Guide Which Answers All Your Questions On SAT Essay

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    By Jac Jo.
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    February 23, 2023
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    8 Min Read
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Are you wondering how to crack SAT essay? SAT essay is a part of SAT exam which is considered to be one of the major assessment exams for college admissions. Although students know how to write an essay, it can be challenging to write an SAT essay as it needs deep understanding. 

Moreover, it is tough to read a passage, analyze it, and write an effective essay on it within 50 minutes. Additionally, writing this type of essay requires distinctive skills. But, let that not be a cause of worry for you. This article will help you understand the basics of SAT essays and provide tips on writing them. 

What Exactly Is An SAT Essay?

SAT essay is a part of SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) exam, which is a standardized test for college admissions. The essay helps in assessing the student’s reading, writing, and analytical skills. It is a short passage of 650 and 750 words that must be read and answered in 50 minutes.

The objective of including an SAT essay is to evaluate how well a student can examine or scrutinize the essay.

Note: The College Board declared – “it is not mandatory to take the Essay part of the SAT examination.” However, there are some states and schools which still require students to take up the SAT essay. Thus, it is prudent for students to prepare for SAT essays. 

SAT Essay: Essential Parts

To write an effective SAT essay, you’ll need to include specific elements, such as:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Evidence 
  • Example explanation 
  • Conclusion 

Introduction: The introduction is a crucial part of an essay. This is the section where you create an impression on the reader, so make it count. Keep this section brief and concise; describe the analysis methods used by the writer in the paragraph given to you. Also, consider using neutral language and avoid argumentative language at all costs. 

Thesis statement: The thesis statement falls under the introductory paragraph, and here, you must discuss the points made by the writer. Ensure that you exhibit your understanding of the essay in this part.

Evidence: This is an essential part of the essay, where you provide strong evidence or proof to back your statements. Present your claims with appropriate examples and use a short quote to cite a passage where the writer has employed vivid language. 

Explanation: This is extension of evidence where you explain the evidence that you have provided. Back the evidence you presented with supporting claims and make strong arguments with the help of appropriate points. Discuss why the examples are imperative to the readers.

Conclusion: This is the last section of the essay, where you restate the thesis statement in different words. Write about the examples you presented and how they support your thesis. Refrain from adding any new information here; avoid writing a detailed analysis. Add a solid conclusion sentence at the end and conclude your essay. 

SAT Essay Outline

Having an SAT essay outline can help you write the essay without any major hiccups. Use the elements discussed in the above section in the outline appropriately as given below:


  • This section is usually one paragraph long and has 2-5 sentences
  • The purpose of the essay must be included here
  • Include a few sentences depicting the techniques that employed in the passage


  • This section usually has 2-3 paragraphs
  • Every paragraph must have around five to six sentences
  • Each paragraph must end with a transitory phrase for a smooth flow between the paragraphs 


  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Bring up the claims or arguments made in the body using few sentences
  • Conclude with a conclusive sentence

Steps Of Writing An SAT Essay

Writing an SAT essay involves various steps that help you deliver an meaningful essay. Here are the steps that you can follow to pen an essay:

  • Reading: 5-10 minutes
  • Analyzing and Planning: 7-12 minutes
  • Writing: 25-35 minutes
  • Revising: 2-3 minutes

The time range mentioned above can vary depending on the person. For instance, a student may be fast in reading the passage and take time while writing. 

Reading: Writing an SAT essay starts with reading the given passage. Generally, one can read a passage in various ways, and each of them has certain benefits attached to it. However, irrespective of the method used, one must ensure that they don’t spend too much time on reading. 

Generally, one can directly read the passage without dwelling on details and this usually works for fast readers who don’t buckle under pressure or distractions. However, if you are a slow reader and cannot handle the pressure of reading under time constraints, you can leaf through the passage. 

No matter what method you choose, understand the passage and know how it unfolds. Furthermore, one may be required to go through the passage several times to comprehend the gist of it. So, keep all these in mind when you start reading the passage.

Note: When reading it in detail, look out for argument-building techniques used in the passage and have an objective approach while writing. Also, do not spend more than 10 minutes reading the passage. 

Analyzing and Planning: Many students skip planning as they think it’ll affect their writing. However, having a plan doesn’t negatively affect the writing. This is because a plan gives rise to the structure, which plays a crucial role in grading the essay. You can have a rough plan of what to include in the write-up. 

Also, you may scribble some notes based on your analysis of the passage. These notes can be used to organize your essay when you start writing. Some students jot down notes while analyzing or reading the passage. But, others may prefer to make notes after reading the passage. You can choose the one you are most comfortable with. Additionally, you can highlight (underline) specific points in the passage for quick reference. 

Writing: Once you have analyzed the passage and have a proper plan in place, you can start writing the essay. Refer to the outline to map out your essay appropriately. The essay must start with an introduction, followed by body paragraphs, and end with a conclusion. Go through the outline to see the points that must be included in the essay. 

Some prefer to write body paragraphs before the introduction. This is perfectly fine, as it can be tricky to write an introduction in the beginning. So, leave that section blank and start with the the body. It is vital to use the time effectively to avoid making mistakes at this stage. 

Revision: Students often overlook this step, but proofreading your essay helps you rectify the mistakes that you made while writing the essay. This is where you can fix spelling mistakes and correct sentence structure and grammar. Moreover, revision can be done more than once to ensure your essay is free of errors.

Tips For Writing An SAT Essay

Here are some helpful tips for composing an effective SAT essay:

  • Have a clear thesis statement. When you write the essay, express your main argument with a thesis statement that reflects your understanding of the passage. Do not be vague or use ambiguous phrases that lack clarity.
  • Include an introduction and conclusion to the essay. Both these sections are essential to fetch a good score.
  • Employ appropriate words and phrases to write the essay. Refrain from complicating the essay with hard-to-read sentences. Instead, please keep it simple and easy to understand.
  • Do not deviate from the topic at any cost. Avoid bringing irrelevant ideas or examples outside the passage.
  • Identify the persuasive techniques used in the essay. The key here is to read the essay objectively and break down the arguments. 
  • Back your arguments with facts presented in the passage. You must use the evidence that is given, as other points do not work here.

SAT Essay Example

The Classics

The Classics by Dr. John asserts that the new generation of children has no or little enthusiasm for English literature in their class. The author propounds that the survival of classical literature may have severe consequences. And this claim is made based on the surveys conducted in hundreds of classrooms across the country. 

The passage puts forward the impetus of the writer – which is all about convincing and persuading parents to teach English literature to their children at a very young age. This is because the surveys state that children are least interested in any form of literature. These surveys are cited in the passage. The author further says – “What about the future of the classics? Will they survive?” Questions such as these worry the people reading his paper. 

The passage starts with the author talking about the changes in modern children in terms of their growth. He further speaks about the effect of technology on children and how interactive games are destroying children’s opportunities for learning. The author quotes a famous line from James Plobs, “Smartphones are ruining their well-being,” to strengthen his claim. Next, he focuses on using language techniques to persuade people not to allow their children to use smartphones, instead “focus on their academics.”

The second section of the study uses the phrase “for the greater good,” implying that parents should not allow their children to use smartphones but instead encourage them to study harder for the greater good. He quotes Oman Jr., who said, “Think about the future,” implying that children are the future of humanity and should be appropriately raised. “How children are raised has negative consequences for how humans will live,” he says.

Finally, Dr. John discusses how literature is dying and how smartphones are to blame for children’s lack of enthusiasm for it in the classroom.

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SAT Essay Practice Ideas

Knowing which passage you may get in the SAT essay test is unlikely. However, one way to be prepared for the test is through essay prompts. You can practice writing these type of essays with the help of some of the best prompts to gain confidence and clarity over the test. Here we have given one prompt to give you an idea:


Millions of men fought, constructed palaces, established boundaries, to shape future and societies, however the compelling force all through history has been the force of originality and creation, which has profoundly influenced the roots of the human spirit.

Adapted from the work of Ansel Adams

Question: Is originality and creativity required for success? Prepare and write an essay in which you develop your viewpoint on this topic. Justification and examples from your reading, studies, experience, or observations should be used to support your position.


Although SAT essay is not mandatory, it still holds significant value since some states and schools consider the essay score and use it to gauge the student’s ability. So, if the college you want to join considers SAT essays, it is better to be prepared than be sorry. This article covers all that you need to know about SAT essays and provides helpful information to deliver an outstanding essay.

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