Essay Writing for the SAT


As a professional tutor, teacher, mentor, writing coach, facilitator, and SAT scorer, I receive many questions about the SAT essay; students seem to view it almost like a "Mission Impossible." People believe the essay to be the most subjective part of the test. I have scored SAT essays for a few years, and I’m here to tell you the essay is definitely NOT subjective.


The graders (aka scorers and/or readers) spend about 45 seconds on each essay; that’s right, you read it correctly; I’ll even say it again: The graders spend about 45 seconds on each essay. They look for keywords, a coherent idea, a few "million dollar words" carefully placed, and then they move on to the next one. Graders are paid incentives for scoring in quantity, although they must also maintain a certain quality to stay on the job; but they certainly can’t afford to spend much time on any one essay. Therefore, it is to your benefit to learn how to correctly and efficiently format the SAT essay because there is definitely a winning format, and I’m here to show it to you.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it . . .

will be to write an awesome essay in 25 minutes that will cause the readers scoring your essay to actually give it more than 45 seconds’ review. If you grab them in the beginning, hold on to them in the body, and provide a strong sense of closure, you might keep the grader interested for longer, maybe for even a whole minute!

Time4Writing provides practice in this area. Sign up for our High School SAT Essay Writing course or browse other related courses below to find a course that’s right for you.