SAT Essay Examples PDF, Template and Success Tips
I know you have so many questions regarding the SAT essay. How can you even begin to read a passage, analyze it, and write an essay about it in 50 minutes? What SAT essay structure should you follow? Is there an SAT essay format that’ll score you a top score for sure?
In this article, we will be answering all your questions as well as giving you some SAT essay examples PDF; which you will need if you want to write that very perfect essay.
The SAT Essay
Yes, the SAT Essay is optional. To determine if you should take the test, first find out if any of the colleges or postsecondary institutions to which you’re planning to apply to require the SAT Essay. If they don’t, you may still want to consider completing this section as it will showcase your analytical and writing skills.
Should I do it?
We recommend that you seriously consider taking the Essay. The task the Essay asks you to complete — analyzing how an argument works — is an interesting and engaging one, and will give you an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your reading, analysis, and writing skills.
These skills are critical to success in college and your career and the scores you’ll get back will give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses in these areas.
What’s The Assignment?
Each SAT Essay consists of one passage between 650 and 750 words that you will read and then respond to. You will have 50 minutes to complete the SAT Essay.
The purpose of the new SAT Essay is to assess your ability to analyze an author’s argument. To write a strong essay, you will need to focus on how the author uses evidence, reasoning, and other rhetorical techniques to build an argument and make it convincing.
The Essay task will be the same in every test. What will change is the reading selection you’ll be asked to analyze. If you are familiar with the Essay prompt ahead of time – and understand exactly what your task is – you will save time on Test Day and write a stronger essay.
Here’s a generic version of the prompt:
“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.”
After the passage appears, this second part of the prompt appears:
Write an essay in which you explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade their audience that [claim]. In your essay, analyze how the author 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 their 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 builds an argument to persuade their audience.
What 5 Things Does Your SAT Essay Need?
To build a great SAT essay template, you need to know what it needs to include. Here are the five most important elements of any SAT essay:
1: An Introduction
The first impression the grader will have of your writing is your essay introduction. Don’t just jump right into discussing argumentative techniques introduce your analysis with a statement of what the author is arguing in the prompt. You should then briefly mention the specific persuasive techniques the author used that you’ll be discussing in your essay.
2: A Clear Thesis Statement
I’ve separated this out as its own point because it’s so important. You must express a precise claim about what the author’s point is and what techniques she uses to argue her point; otherwise, you’re not answering the essay question correctly.
This cannot be emphasized enough: SAT essay graders do not care what your stance is on the issue. They care that you understand and explain how the author argues her point.
The SAT essay task is designed for you to demonstrate that you can analyze the structure of an argument and its effect on the reader with clear and coherent reasoning.
Take this example prompt, for instance:
Write an essay in which you explain how Eric Klinenberg builds an argument to persuade his audience that Americans need to greatly reduce their reliance on air-conditioning. In your essay, analyze how Klinenberg uses one or more of the features.
A bad thesis leaves you unclear on what features of the author’s arguments you’ll be analyzing in the essay:
The author tries to enforce to his audience by telling that air conditioning has negative effects.
This thesis doesn’t specify what features of the argument you’ll be discussing, or even what Klinenberg’s specific views are. It’s just a (grammatically flawed) sentence that hints at Klinenberg’s argument. Compare to a good thesis for the same prompt:
Through consideration of quantitative data, exploring possible counterarguments to his position, and judicious use of striking phrasings and words, Klinenberg strengthens both the logic and persuasiveness of his argument that Americans need to greatly reduce their reliance on air conditioning.
The above thesis clearly specifies both what the author’s argument is and what aspects of the argument will be analyzed in the essay.
3: Specific Examples That Support Your Point
To support your thesis, you’ll need to draw on specific examples from the passage of the techniques you claim the author uses. Make sure to provide enough information for each example to make it clear how it is relevant to your thesis – and stop there.
No need to paraphrase the entire passage, or explain why you agree or disagree with the author’s argument – write enough that the reader can understand what your example is and be done.
4: Explanations of the Examples That Support Your Point
It isn’t enough to just summarize or paraphrase specific excerpts taken from the passage and call it a day. In each example paragraph, you must not only include details about an example but also include an explanation of how each example demonstrates an argument technique and why it is persuasive.
For instance, let’s say you were planning on discussing how the author uses vivid language to persuade the reader to agree with him. Yes, you’d need to start by quoting parts of the passage where the author uses vivid language, but you then also need to explain why that example demonstrates vivid language and why it would be persuasive to the reader.
5: A Conclusion
Your conclusion should restate your thesis and briefly mention the examples you wrote about in your essay (and how they supported your thesis). If you haven’t done it already in your essay, this is NOT the place to write about a broader context or to contradict yourself, or to add further examples you didn’t discuss.
SAT Essay Examples PDF
Here’s what the final SAT essay template looks like (key structural words and phrases bolded):
In his commentary, Eric Klinenberg conveys a strong stance against the rampant and short-sighted utilization of air conditioning (AC) nationwide. He believes AC is a massive unnecessary energy drain, and he implores the reader to reconsider the implications of constant cool comfort. To buttress his argument, Klinenberg deftly employs quantitative data, acknowledgment of counterarguments, and vivid language.
In his introductory paragraph, the author points to AC usage statistics to illustrate the grave magnitude of our hedonistic climate control. He shares that “Americans use twice as much energy as we did 20 years ago, and more than the rest of the world’s nations combined.”
These staggering statements immediately give the reader pause, forcing an internal dialogue about their significance. Clearly, in the past 20 years, the American population has come nowhere close to doubling – and yet, AC energy use has doubled. This can only mean utilization per person has skyrocketed.
Furthermore, the American population can comprise no more than 10% of the world’s population (400 million to the world’s 6 billion) – and yet we use more AC energy than the rest of the world. This leads to another profound inference – each American may use almost 10 times more AC energy as the average non-American.
These conclusions are grave and thought-provoking. By introducing incontrovertible data, Klinenberg empowers the reader to reason though her own arguments and formulate her own conclusions. The rhetorical consequence is that the reader independently and actively agrees with Klinenberg’s thesis, rather than being a passive unengaged audience member. By the virtue of her own logic, the reader is compelled to agree with Klinenberg.
Quickly after this data-driven introduction, Klinenberg effectively addresses potential counterarguments to his thesis. He acknowledges that there are clear valid situations for AC use – to protect the “lives of old, sick, and frail people,” “farmworkers who work in sunbaked fields,” and “workers who might otherwise wilt in searing temperatures.”
By justifying several legitimate uses of air conditioning, the author heads off his most reflexive critics. An incoming reader who has just absorbed Klinenberg’s thesis would naturally have objections – if left unaddressed, these objections would have left a continuous mental roar, obscuring the absorption of further arguments.
Instead, Klinenberg quells the most common objection with a swift riposte, stressing that he is not a maniacal anti-AC militant, intent on dismantling the AC-industrial complex. With this addressed, the reader can continue further, satisfied that Klinenberg is likely to be somewhat well-reasoned and objective. Ultimately, this facilitates the acceptance of his central thesis.
When he returns to his rebuke of wanton AC use, Klinenberg employs forceful vivid language to magnify his message. He emphasizes the blind excess of air conditioner use, comparing cooled homes to “igloos” circulating “arctic air.” Then, to underscore the unforeseen consequences of such behavior, he slides to the other extreme of the temperature spectrum, conjuring the image of “burning through fossil fuels in suicidal fashion.”
This visual imagery shakes the reader from complacency. Most likely, the reader has been the beneficiary of AC use. “So, what’s the big deal?” By comparing malls to igloos and excessive energy use to suicide, Klinenberg magnifies the severity of the problem.
We are forced to consider our comfortable abode as a frigid arctic dwelling, prompting the natural question of whether we really do need our hones cold enough to see our breath indoors. The natural conclusion, in turn, is that we do not. By employing effective visual imagery, Klinenberg takes the reader through another internal dialogue, resulting in stronger acceptance of his message.
Overall, the passage effectively weaves quantitative data, acknowledgment of counterarguments, and vivid language to rebuke the excesses of air conditioning. The reader leaves with the strong conclusion that perhaps a bit of moderation can do the world some good.
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