Hi! Are you interested in learning about how the SAT essay is structured? This is the video for you! I’m Janice, and you’re watching Sharp Cookie. On this channel we talk about the best advice for learning, studying, and test taking.. if you’re interested in those topics, please consider subscribing and hit the bell to be notified. Alright. let’s get into it! I’ve tutored hundreds of students, especially on the SAT and the ACT.
And as you know, in 2016 the SAT changed its format, and along with that, it changed the way it structured the essay.. it’s actually very different than the ACT essay, and we’re gonna talk about that. Also if you’re interested in how the SAT essay is scored, I’m making a separate video that I’m going to link up below,. you can find out what the score means. What a "4" means. What an "8" means.. all of that is going to be in a separate video. The first thing you need to know is that the essay is optional. You don’t need to take it.
You can get an SAT score and not have to take the essay. Approximately 10% of schools still require the essay, and some schools, even though they don’t require it, it might look good.. I always recommend to all of my students that they take it no matter what because why not have more options?. each essay consists of a prompt, which is the same every single time, and we’re going to talk about that, and it also has a passage. The reading passage itself is always between 650 and 750 words. This is a persuasive passage, and it’s always a real thing,. it’s not made up by the test makers. They actually find a real persuasive essay It could be recent. It could be from history. And usually it’s always an extracted piece that comes from a much longer argument.. it’s a persuasive essay. It’s a real thing. And it’s shortened for this test. Now because the passage is always different, I recommend that you get a feel for the types of passages that they put on the SAT, and the way you can do that is to go to College Board’s website.
If you just google "college board SAT practice tests," it’ll take you there. It used to have 10 practice tests. They cut out a few, but there’s still plenty of essays there to get a feel for what style of passages you can expect.. it’s really important just to get a feel for the types of topics that are on there. The other section, "the prompt," is the same every time, and I’m going to put up the prompt now on your screen. you can look at it.
You can pause it and read it closer if you like, but it’s good to have this prompt not totally memorized, but at least know what it is,. that you’re not wasting test time re-reading the prompt when you can do that ahead of time. Now the most important thing you need to understand about the prompt is that the test makers do not want you to actually write a persuasive essay yourself,. your opinion on the topic does not matter, and in fact, you shouldn’t comment on whether you agree or disagree with the topic at all. That’s not what they’re looking for. What they’re looking for is that you’re able to analyze somebody else’s argument. For example, if this is about cell phones in school, you’re not wasting time on the essay talking about whether you think there should be cell phones or whether you think there shouldn’t be cell phones. You need to be analyzing the person’s argument.. you’re thinking about what literary devices are being used. Is there repetition? Is there appeal to emotion? What is going on in that essay that the author is trying to use to persuade you? And that’s what you’re analyzing.
And now I’m going to read you something directly from College Board just to hit this point home because this is tends to be what confuses students the most because on the ACT essay they do want you to write your own persuasive argument, but on the SAT they don’t.. just take a moment. I’m going to read this to you directly from College Board. "It is important to note that students are not asked to offer their own opinion on the topic of the passage, but are instead expected to analyze how the author constructs an argument." That’s as clear as I can give it to you. You’re not offering an opinion. You are merely analyzing the author’s opinion. Okay and the last point I want to bring up about the SAT essay is that you need no outside knowledge to be able to answer it, and in fact, it’s wrong to bring in outside knowledge. They want you just to use the passage as it was presented to you.. it doesn’t matter if you have extra information on this topic, or other studies, or you’ve read a lot about this. That’s wonderful, but you shouldn’t be bringing in outside information.
You’re only analyzing what that particular author says about that topic. Now a great follow-up to this video is my video on the scoring. What the numbers mean. And also I’m going to be talking about the rubric, and this is again new since 2016 on what they’re actually grading you on. What are the test makers looking for when they read through your essay?. be sure to check that video out on the actual scoring. If you’re interested in connecting with me directly, I’m starting an online community on Facebook called Sharp Cookie Community,. please join that. I’m going to be giving free advice on there,. you can ask me all your SAT and ACT questions, and I’ll respond.
Also I do of course offer online tutoring. I’ve been tutoring for five years now, and everything I do in person I can also do online,. you can email me at email@example.com.. if you’ve enjoyed this video, please give me a thumbs up! Also let me know in the comments: are you studying for the SAT right now?
Have you practiced the essay? What other questions do you have about it? Also subscribe because I post new videos on learning and test taking every week.. that’s all I have for today! Thank you. much for watching!
I’m Janice, this is Sharp Cookie, bye!