The SAT Writing section is one of the three main sections of the SAT that tests your grammar and writing skills. Many students all across the world will go through this section every year in hopes of being accepted by the colleges and universities of their dreams. Some elite students will even hope to get a perfect 2400 on the SAT in order to get into high end colleges such as the Ivy League schools. The Writing section may only be a fraction of the entire test but nevertheless, it counts and you must prepare.
The Writing section is divided into one 25 minute multiple choice section, one 25 minute essay, and one last 10 minute multiple choice section (it is important to note that the SAT contains a 25 minute variable section that could be the Writing section but is unknown until the day of the test). All multiple choice questions include identifying errors or improving sentences (or paragraphs). Besides that, there is the essay prompt. There will be 49 multiple choice questions in total. Each question will have 5 choices for you to pick from and each incorrect answer costs you ¼ of a point (no points are taken off for questions not answered and one point is earned for each correct answer). The more specific groupings of the questions include identifying sentence errors, improving sentences, and then improving paragraphs. Identifying sentence error questions are formatted into a sentence with 4 parts underlined with the last choice (E) being that there is no error. Improving sentences gives a sentence and 4 choices that show a hypothetically improved version of the sentence. The first choice (A) is the original sentence, meaning it is the optimal compared to the others. Improving paragraphs makes you read a paragraph and improve certain parts of it. There is only one of those and it is in the last 10 minute section. These questions are not ordered from easy to hard, unlike the questions of the other sections (Critical Reading and Math).
The essay will be the first section you will tackle in the entire SAT. It is required (unlike the ACT) and your score is charted with your writing section score to determine your final scaled writing score. The SAT will give you a quote, belief, or viewpoint and asks you to refute or support it. The essay prompt is usually something that sparks discussion. For the essay writing, the College Board (makers of the SAT) recommends to spend a few minutes outlining or brainstorming your ideas. For this to work, you must of course be relatively quick. Then the essay should be written.
The essay is a hard essay due to the extremely limited time, but it does not need to be perfect. The College Board is looking for truly good ideas and the signs of a good writer, which should be able to be seen within the allotted time. To create this impression, write an essay showing your eloquence and rhetorical skills. The first step would be to write a great introduction and thesis. These will catch your reader/scorer and keep them drawn in to your writing and style. Next, focus on your individual body paragraphs. Make sure the leading sentence of each is catchy and includes good transition, creating good flow (also important for sentences). The conclusion should be a good summary of the essay and a rewording of the introduction. It should also be cleverly written and have a good finishing, satisfying effect. On a smaller scale, the essay should include good sentence structure that creates a good flow. Good flow between ideas and sentences is a highly valued aspect of a SAT essay. High vocabulary is another one.
Besides this, there are the multiple choice questions, customary to the SAT. The two main sections of multiple choice would include the identifying sentence errors section and the improving sentences section. These sections are similar in the fact that it requires you to identify an error in the given sentence. However, improving sentences takes this a bit farther and requires you to pick the best sentence wording out of five choices. To prepare for these sections, it would be optimal to study a grammar book. A grammar book, about the size of a novel can prepare you for the many rules of grammar that you will encounter. A SAT study book would also help, as it should have a grammar section. But besides those, knowing the common errors that the College Board usually puts in their sentences is helpful. For instance, using “you” in a sentence that uses “one” is quite common. These can be found in a SAT study book (usually not one published by the College Board) or simply by taking SAT tests from previous years. The improving paragraphs section (only one short passage) is similar.
The SAT Writing Section tests your knowledge in the set rules of grammar and not your expertise in “everyday English.” Therefore, study is important in this section as much as the others. Self-study is recommended by me but paying for a SAT study course would be a great way to boost your score if you lack motivation. But get the proper materials and use the resources provided by College Board as they are usually the best (their website, books, etc). Other SAT study books would also be recommended if you have time, such as ones by Barrons and The Princeton Review. And as always, practice makes perfect when it comes to the SAT. So, study hard and ace the Writing section of the SAT to pursue your dreams.