Sat essay score rubric

The response shows a good control of the conventions of standard written English and is free of significant errors that detract from the quality of writing. The response is cohesive and demonstrates a highly effective use and command of language. The response includes a skillful introduction and conclusion. The response demonstrates a deliberate and highly effective progression of ideas both within paragraphs and throughout the essay.

The response has a wide variety in sentence structures. The response demonstrates a consistent use of precise word choice. The response shows a strong command of the conventions of standard written English and is free or virtually free of errors. Because there's a lot of different factors that go into calculating your Writing score, I've divided the discussion of this rubric area into five separate items:.

One of the most basic rules of the SAT essay is that you need to express a clear opinion on the "assignment" the prompt. This is a nice, vague statement that leaves you a lot of wiggle room.


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If you disagree with the author, it's also a way of avoiding having to say that the author is persuasive. Don't fall into this trap! The author effectively builds his argument that hot dogs are not sandwiches by using logic, allusions to history and mythology, and factual evidence. In contrast to the vague claim that "There are a variety of ways in which the author builds his argument," this thesis both specifies what the author's argument is and the ways in which he builds the argument that you'll be discussing in the essay.

Next Steps to Acing Your SAT Essay

While it's extremely important to make sure your essay has a clear point of view, strong critical reasoning, and support for your position, that's not enough to get you a top score. What does this mean? Part of the way you can make sure your essay is "well organized" has to do with following standard essay construction points.

How a Good SAT Essay Can Get a Bad Score

Don't write your essay in one huge paragraph; instead, include an introduction with your thesis stating your point of view , body paragraphs one for each example, usually , and a conclusion. This structure might seem boring, but it really works to keep your essay organized, and the more clearly organized your essay is, the easier it will be for the essay grader to understand your critical reasoning. The second part of this criteria has to do with keeping your essay focused, making sure it contains "a deliberate and highly effective progression of ideas. You need to make sure that each paragraph is also organized.

SAT Essay Rubric Tips

Recall the sample prompt:. Let's say that you're writing the paragraph about the author's use of logic to persuade his reader that hot dogs aren't sandwiches. You should NOT just list ways that the author is logical in support of his claim, then explain why logic in general is an effective persuasive device. While your points might all be valid, your essay would be better served by connecting each instance of logic in the passage with an explanation of how that example of logic persuades the reader to agree with the author.

Above all, it is imperative that you make your thesis your central claim clear in the opening paragraph of your essay - this helps the grader keep track of your argument. In your essay, you should use a wide array of vocabulary and use it correctly. Creating elegant, non-awkward sentences is the thing I struggle most with under time pressure.

As another example, take a look at these two excerpts from the hypothetical essay discussing how the author persuaded his readers that a hot dog is not a sandwich:. Score of 2: "The author makes his point by critiquing the argument against him. The author pointed out the logical fallacy of saying a hot dog was a sandwich because it was meat "sandwiched" between two breads.

The author thus persuades the reader his point makes sense to be agreed with and convinces them. The above sentences lack variety in structure they all begin with the words "the author" , and the last sentence has serious flaws in its structure it makes no sense. Score of 4: "The author's rigorous examination of his opponent's position invites the reader, too, to consider this issue seriously.

By laying out his reasoning, step by step, Hodgman makes it easy for the reader to follow along with his train of thought and arrive at the same destination that he has. This destination is Hodgman's claim that a hot dog is not a sandwich. The above sentences demonstrate variety in sentence structure they don't all begin with the same word and don't have the same underlying structure that presumably forward the point of the essay.

In general, if you're doing well in all the other Writing areas, your sentence structures will also naturally vary.

If you're really worried that your sentences are not varied enough, however, my advice for working on "demonstrating meaningful variety in sentence structure" without ending up with terribly worded sentences is twofold:. This part of the Writing grade is all about the nitty gritty details of writing: grammar, punctuation, and spelling. If two essays are otherwise of equal quality, but one writer misspells "definitely" as "definately" and the other writer fails to explain how one of her examples supports her thesis, the first writer will receive a higher essay score.

It's only when poor grammar, use of punctuation, and spelling start to make it difficult to understand your essay that the graders start penalizing you. If you're really struggling with spelling, simply typing up your handwritten essay into a program like Microsoft Word and running spellcheck can alert you to problems.

We've also got a great set of articles up on our blog about SAT Writing questions that may help you better understand any grammatical errors you are making. There are a couple of different ways. Since you know what the SAT is looking for in an essay, you can now use that knowledge to guide what you write about in your essays!

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How SAT Essays Are Graded – College Prep Results

Not true! The most important part of the SAT essay is using specific examples from the passage and explaining how they convince the reader of the author's point. Even when an example of an essay that scored a particular score is provided, that essay will probably use different examples than you did, make different arguments, maybe even argue different interpretations of the text The SAT essay rubric is the next best thing to an answer key for the essay - use it as a lens through which to view and assess your essay.

You just have to apply the rubric as best as you can to your essays and work on fixing your weak areas. For the sentence structure, grammar, usage, and mechanics stuff I highly recommend asking a friend, teacher, or family member who is really good at English writing to take a look over your practice essays and point out the mistakes. If you really want custom feedback on your practice essays from experienced essay graders, may I also suggest the PrepScholar test prep platform?

I manage the essay grading and so happen to know quite a bit about the essay part of this platform, which gives you both an essay grade and custom feedback for each essay you complete. Learn more about how it all works here. Are you so excited by this article that you want to read even more articles on the SAT essay?

Of course you are. Want to go even more in depth with the SAT essay?

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We have a complete list of past SAT essay prompts as well as tips and strategies for how to get a 12 on the SAT essay. Still not satisfied? Maybe a five-day free trial of our very own PrepScholar test prep platform which includes essay practice and feedback is just what you need. Trying to figure out whether the old or new SAT essay is better for you? Take a look at our article on the new SAT essay assignment to find out! Check out our best-in-class online SAT prep classes.

We guarantee your money back if you don't improve your SAT score by points or more. Our classes are entirely online, and they're taught by SAT experts.


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Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? How to Get a Perfect 4. How to Write an Amazing College Essay. A Comprehensive Guide. Choose Your Test. Want to improve your SAT score by points? Try it risk-free today:. Laura Staffaroni. About the Author.

Can SAT Essay Graders Agree on What Good Writing Is?

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