What this means is that your essay needs to make a clear argument that the reader can easily identify. All you have to do to create your "precise central claim" is to identify the main idea of the passage and list the methods the author uses to support it. I've bolded the claim in this fake sample prompt so you can see this for yourself:. Write an essay in which you explain how Sam Lindsay builds an argument to persuade her audience that more works of art should feature monsters. In your essay, analyze how Lindsay 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 her argument.
Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Now, here's an example of a thesis statement for an essay responding to this prompt:. The SAT essay rubric states: "The response includes a skillful introduction and conclusion. Including an introduction paragraph in your essay is absolutely essential to getting a Writing score above a 4 out of 8.
Plus, an introduction can be a pretty good indicator of the quality for the rest of the essay—a poorly constructed introduction is often a warning that the essay that follows will be equally discombobulated. The main reason for this is that a good introduction includes your thesis statement. There are a couple of parts of the Writing score section on the SAT essay rubric that pertain directly to style.
The SAT essay rubric states this about a perfect-Writing-score essay: "The response is cohesive and demonstrates a highly effective use and command of language. For most of us, "command of language" is an area that takes a long time to develop, so unless your language skills are really rough or you're prepping at least a year ahead of time or both , you'll probably get more out of focusing on the other components of the essay.
The response demonstrates a consistent use of precise word choice. The response maintains a formal style and objective tone. This basically boils down to: don't be repetitive and don't make grammar mistakes. In addition, you should avoid using first person statements like "I" or "My" in the essay, along with any other informality. You're writing the equivalent of a school paper, not an opinion piece. Finally, try to use different words to describe the same idea—don't use "shows" 15 times.
Take the chance to show off your vocabulary if, and only if , the vocabulary is appropriate and makes sense. This component is the biggest reason why revising your SAT Essay is essential—it's fast and easy to change repeated words to other ones after you're finished, but it can slow you down during writing to worry about your word choice. If you're aiming for a top score, using advanced vocabulary appropriately is vital.
In real life, there are many ways to support a thesis, depending on the topic. We'll show you more below. In fact, your essay will be more coherent and more likely to score higher in Analysis if you focus your discussion on just a few points. It's more important to show that you're able to pick out the most important parts of the argument and explain their function that it is to be able to identify every single persuasive device the author used.
Think about it as if you were asked to write a minute essay describing the human face and what each part does. A clear essay would just focus on major features—eyes, nose, and mouth. A less effective essay might also try to discuss cheekbones, eyebrows, eyelashes, skin pores, chin clefts, and dimples as well.
While all of these things are part of the face, it would be hard to get into detail about each of the parts in just 50 minutes. And this is the eye, and this is the other eye, and this is the Even though the SAT essay has clearly stated, publicly-available guidelines, there are a few secrets to writing the essay that most students don't know and that can give you a major advantage on the test.
A big part of the Analysis score for the SAT essay is not just identifying the devices the author uses to build her argument, but explaining the effect that the use of these devices has on the reader. Here's an example of an interpretation about what effect a persuasive device has on the reader backed by evidence from the passage :.
Lindsay appeals to the emotions of her readers by describing the forlorn, many-eyed creatures that stare reproachfully at her from old school notebook margins. Now, you don't necessarily know for sure if "sympathy for the doodles" is what the author was going for in her passage. The SAT essay graders probably don't know either unless one of them wrote the passage. But as long as you can make a solid case for your interpretation, using facts and quotes from the passage to back it up , you'll be good.
Overall, this response demonstrates inadequate writing. Being able to stay detached while reading the passage you'll be writing the essay about can be tricky. This task might be especially difficult for students who were used to the old SAT essay which pretty much made it mandatory for you to choose one side or the other. A good way to practice this is to read news articles on topics you care deeply about by people who hold the opposite view that you do.
I would then work on my objectivity by jotting down the central ideas, most important details, and how these details relate to the central ideas of the article. Being able to understand the central ideas in the passage and details without being sidetracked by rage or other emotions is key to writing an effective SAT essay.
Used with permission. Don't let the monster of rage distract you from your purpose. To do this successfully, you'll need to be aware of some of the techniques that are frequently used to build arguments. However, it's way easier to go into the essay knowing certain techniques that you can then scan the passage for.
For instance, after noting the central ideas and important details in the article about how more works of art should feature monsters, I would then work on analyzing the way the author built her argument. Does she use statistics in the article?
Personal anecdotes? Appeal to emotion? Analysis, which I will go over in-depth in tip 6 , is your ability to analyze how the author goes about persuading his or her audience. Remembering the fundamentals of rhetoric is a great first step. Finally, writing is just what it sounds like: how do you use words to create sentences and convey your thoughts? Do you so in a way that is grammatically sound and your meaning is clear?
But you get all of that by studying the prompt, essay responses, essay scores, and feedback. Maybe you can write wonderful flowery sentences, full of phrasal twists and turns. But when you read the passage, you are not exactly sure what to analyze or exactly what the essay graders are looking at when they grade for analysis. Click here to check out official College Board sample SAT essay prompts and responses from real students.
Originally published December 31, This holiday season, there was something in the air that was even more inescapable than the scent of pumpkin spice: gratitude. Writers in Time magazine, The New York Times and Scientific American recommended it as a surefire ticket to happiness and even better health.
But this holiday gratitude is all about you, and how you can feel better. Gratitude is hardly a fresh face on the self-improvement scene. The financial crash of further dimmed the luster of positive thinking, which had done so much to lure would-be homeowners and predatory mortgage lenders into a speculative frenzy.
This left the self-improvement field open to more cautious stances, like mindfulness and resilience and — for those who could still muster it — gratitude. Emmons, the gratitude researcher. The foundation does not fund projects to directly improve the lives of poor individuals, but it has spent a great deal, through efforts like these, to improve their attitudes. Consider this, from a yoga instructor on CNN. It could even be as simple as writing what you give thanks for on a sticky note and posting it on your mirror or computer.
Only it should be a more vigorous and inclusive sort of gratitude than what is being urged on us now. Who picked the lettuce in the fields, processed the standing rib roast, drove these products to the stores, stacked them on the supermarket shelves and, of course, prepared them and brought them to the table? The real challenge of gratitude lies in figuring out how to express our debt to them, whether through generous tips or, say, by supporting their demands for decent pay and better working conditions.
Write an essay in which you explain how Barbara Ehrenreich builds an argument to persuade her audience that expressing gratitude has developed into a selfish act. In your essay, analyze how Ehrenreich uses one or more of the features in the directions that precede the passage or features of your own choice to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Ehrenreich reasons through concrete, real-world examples as well as appeal to pathos to convincingly reveal that the common practice of gratitude has definately become about the self as opposed to about others.
In one example, Ehrenreich discredits the popular practice of gratitude by pointing out the hypocrisy of a foundation that has a prominent role in spreading this ideology. Ehrenreich also paints a lucid picture of the selfishness of gratitude in practice by referring to an example of gratitude advice from a well-known source. Finally, Ehrenreich artfully uses appeal to pathos to draw a distinction between how gratitude is practiced and how it should be practiced. Erenreich then goes on to show specific examples of how one can show gratitude to these individuals, beyond just saying thanks, which highlights the selfishness of the current state of gratitude.
Therefore, it is evident that through relevant and real-world examples, reasoning, and appeals to emotion, Ehrenreich provides a cogent argument regarding the selfishness of how society, as a whole, practices gratitude. Why this essay would receive an 8 This is a really solid essay.
Ehrenreich uses evidence from popular news sources, real world events and appeal to emotion to argue her thesis. The first example Ehrenreich uses to show that gratitude has a selfish side is evidence from a popular news site. This example is effective because it shows that the media is influencing our perception of gratitude and making us selfish about it.
Ehrenreich also uses real world events to show why gratitude has become a selfish act. Finally, Ehrenreich appeals to the emotions when she talks about how we need to show gratitude to other people. All these details about how tough the jobs of these people are and how they make up whole communities is heart-renching. Overall, Ehrenreich does a good job about making us realize that gratitude has a selfish side.
She does that through using evidence in the form of popular news sources, real world events, and appeals to emotion. She provides many examples to prove her point. All the advice this instructer gives is only about the person who the instructer is talking to. Another example that Barbara gives is how gratitude is supposed to look like. She says that when people want to show gratitude they need to show it by supporting the people who provide us with food.
That support could be things like giving generous tips or supporting their demands for decent pay and better working conditions. Barbara Ehrenreich did a good job showing that gratitude has developed into a selfish act through the example of the yoga instructer and the example of what she thinks gratitude is supposed to look like. Why this essay would get a 4 This essay has a lot of the right ideas but struggles with the sophistication in reading comprehension, analysis, and writing that the College Board is looking for in these essays.
For a higher score, this writer would need to provide more details about why the examples were effective, show more originality in their writing by using their own words more and increasing their vocabulary, and improve their understanding of conventions of English writing. The message is clear and straight to the point when she express how gratitude is just a simple, selfish way to be an arrogant person.
For example, how many people are having a good dinner now and are giving thanks and how many of these lucky people are doing something for those who do not have even a piece of bread. Most of the time, this act just feeds the egos of people who think that just saying thanks is enough for making the world a better place or that saying thanks to others is a favor. There a lot of people there outside who are working really hard for making possible that we have better and more comfortable lives.
The celebrities are doing public propaganda about how important is gratitude, like Barbara said in her thesis, so the question is what are these people doing to give thanks through real deeds, some of them can say that they are giving millions of dollars for developing the livings of those who are people in risk by organizations who help poor people, but are they actually posting or sending all those resources to make better the lives of those people who do not have the chance of rising over poverty?
We always have to remember that Gratitude is not just take and go away and say thanks in a nice way just to say I have success in this life, gratitude has to be the fact to give more than what you receive. Why this essay would receive a 2 This writer shows many weaknesses in reading comprehension, in their understanding of what to analyze, and in their writing. The essay will lack any overarching point. Instead, first write down a few main points the author is making.
Then, quickly write down three distinct areas in which the author is using rhetoric. This second bit will help you focus your analysis. Often, it is a good idea to break up paragraphs either by the different areas of analysis used in the essay or by the specific points the author is trying to make and how he or she is specifically going about persuading the reader. For some students, annotating while outlining allows them to engage more actively with the reading and therefore, improve reading comprehension.
On the test, this writer would have annotated in a much more rushed and abbreviated manner! What do you notice about these four short sentences? Do they put you off from reading more? Changing up your sentence structure makes your writing far more compelling. And using transitions will help tie ideas together both between and within sentences. But repeating it so closely together smacks of monotony, much as the sentence structure does.
In tip 1 , I talked about rhetoric, or the tools an author uses to persuade us. Understanding these tools is the first step to analyzing the essay. Make sure you describe these specific things.