Professional SAT Essay Prompt Writing Tips

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sat essay prompt

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The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college and university admission in the United States. The SAT was developed and is administered by the Educational Testing Service. It was first introduced in 1926 as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The College Board States that SAT measures literacy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in college. The SAT consists of three major sections. Those are critical reading, mathematics, and writing. The essay section which is always administered as the first part of the test is 25 minutes long. All essays are written in response to a prompt.

How to respond to a SAT writing prompt

The following is an example of a SAT writing prompt:

“Which is a better indicator of a person’s true character, their actions or their words?”

There are practice SAT writing prompts available online that can be used for sharpening your skills. Go through a SAT essay prompts list, beginning several months before the SAT itself.

The following tips can be helpful when responding to an SAT writing prompt

  • Read the prompt carefully and make sure you know what the main idea is. Identifying the main idea is crucial to writing a good answer.
  • Write a thesis statement. This is the stance you are taking on the question. Use words from the prompt in your thesis if it makes it easier for you. For example a thesis statement from based on the above prompt might read “I believe a person’s actions are a better indicator of a person’s true character than words.”
  • Use examples to support your thesis. Refer to literature, history or something that supports the argument you are making.
  • Organize well. Have an introduction with a thesis statement, a body of two or three paragraphs, using one paragraph for each of your supporting examples, and a conclusion that ties everything together.
  • Don’t second guess yourself. You have limited time. Make your decision and once you have stick with it. Wondering if the way you chose to respond is correct or not will slow you down.
These amazing Princeton essay prompts can actually help you!

Example of an essay written to the prompt shown above:

There is a saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” that can be applied to people. A person’s actions creates a picture that tells us a thousand words about him or her and goes much farther than words do in telling us about a person’s true thoughts and feelings. Several examples from literature demonstrate this point.

An example that demonstrates that a person’s true feelings can only be discerned by his or her actions is Arthur Dimsdale’s behavior in The Scarlet Letter. In this novel Dimsdale preaches that salvation comes from obeying God’s will, doing good and not doing what is wrong, being true and honest instead of false and deceiving. Meanwhile he is carrying on a secret relationship with Hester Pryne who has had his child. When she is found to be pregnant, he does not defend her. He lets her carry the social stigma of their mutual sin. Through Dimsdale’s actions and inaction’s we can see that Dimsdale’s true beliefs do not support his words and that his character is not as he would have us believe.

In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, we see another example of a person’s actions showing who they are. Atticus Finch, a small town lawyer, defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. Before he took the case, Atticus spoke like a person who believed in fairness and equality. Despite being threatened and disparaged by members of his community he stood by his beliefs. Because Atticus was willing to sacrifice his social standing to do the right thing it was obvious he believed in the ideals he spoke about

It is from reflection on actions such as those mentioned above that Emerson once said, “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” A point that is important to remember because knowing a person’s true character helps us to know whom to trust and whom not to trust.

To be fully prepared, make sure you are ready with your SOP writing.

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