SAT Essay Don’ts
1. Do not use YOU or I on the essay. This is a persuasive essay not a personal essay. Your job is to pick a side and prove the assignment. If you are using a personal experience, then it’s ok to say I. At Kweller Prep, however, we suggest you do not use personal experiences in your essay. Use historical examples or books.
2. Do not use more than two examples. You only need 2 examples to get a 12 (perfect score on the essay, so why use more?)
3. Do not write more than 4 paragraphs. The SAT essay should look like this: ½ page paragraph 1; ½ page paragraph 2; ½ page paragraph 3; ½ page paragraph 4.
4. Do not put too much information into paragraph 1. You only need to introduce example 1 and introduce example 2 into your first paragraph.
5. Do not overlap your paragraphs. For example paragraph 2 should only be dedicated to your first example. Paragraph 3 should only be dedicated to your second example. Your introduction should only introduce example one and example two. We don’t need to know all about it.
6. Do not throw in the kitchen sink into your SAT essay. You need to write just enough on the SAT essay to prove your point.
7. Do not deviate from the assignment. Your assignment is where you get points!!!
8. Do not argue both sides. Pick only one side and argue only that one side. This is a persuasive essay; do not be tempted to argue each side. Your job is to prove the assignment using 2 examples (not three) and to do this in two solid pages.
9. Do not NOT finish the essay. You need to write until the very last line, the highest score you can get is a 9 if you do not write to the very last line.
10. Do not repeat words. Use synonyms instead of using the same word numerous times. For example do not use the word “people” 10 times, do not use the word “success” 10 times.
11. Do not switch from script to print. Stick to print if possible. Begin with a sharpened pencil. Do not use a mechanical pencil. Do not use a lot scratch marks. Use an eraser rather than scribbling over your words. If you write in script, you must press down firmly on the paper, and be consistent with your choice of handwriting. Make sure you always use a traditional wooden pencil for your essay.
12. Do not think too much about what to write. You will only have 25 minutes to write the entire essay from start to finish. You should spend no more than 1 minute thinking about 2 topics. GO INTO THE EXAM with at least 15 topics that you are comfortable writing about; 5 books, 5 historical examples, and 5 people. There is no such a thing as a bad example so long as you always connect it to your thesis statement.
13. Do not make the essay too short. It has to be horizontally and vertically very long. You need to have at least 8 words per line. If you have very big hand writing, practice writing smaller.
14. Do not use simple words. The purpose of this essay is to get into college. College bound students need to have college bound vocabulary. You are learning hundreds of SAT words; use them in your essay.
15. Do not use sentences without a transition. Start every sentence with a good transitional word. Examples being however, thus, furthermore, in fact. Using the word “thus” makes you look smart.
16. Do NOT forget your grammar skills. Either-or neither-nor. One teacher teaches, other teachers teach.
17. Do NOT stop writing. Keep writing until your hand begins to hurt J REMEMBER you need to write 2 full pages.
18. Do not look at other people in the room while you are writing your essay. They are a distraction.
19. Do not look at College Board for sample SAT essays. They post essays to trick or mislead you! Remember this company is making billions by misleading you.
20. Even if the kid next to you pukes/ throws up, keep writing! No matter what, keep writing.
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