Of course, 25 minutes to write a full-length essay that is also meant to be descriptive, detailed, and persuasive seems a little too much like a Herculean task. They must be joking! They can’t possibly be serious about only giving us 25 minutes to write an essay for the SAT. They must really mean that we are meant to take the 25 minutes to think about an essay plan! I remember the first time I attempted the essay section, it took me the full 25 minutes to write 2 short paragraphs. Nearly every student I’ve met has felt frustration at the short time limit in the SAT writing section. However, there is hope and, similar to every other part of the SAT, the SAT essay can also be conquered with a few easy strategies.
[Continue reading to find out how you can conquer the SAT essay in under 25 minutes…]
Your conclusion is the easiest aspect of your essay, right? Simply throw a few sentences on the end, summarize some of your main points, and that’s it.
Think again. While the introduction to an academic essay gives a hefty “first impression” to your reader—and is thus very important—your conclusion gives the “last.” What would you like your reader to take away from your essay? A few wilted sentences that merely take up space in a fifth paragraph? Of course not! Your conclusion should be the place where you remind your reader of your argument up until this point (that’s right: your thesis), summarize the main aspects of this argument, and address that tricky question: what’s the point? Continue reading →
Did you know? The introduction to your academic essay might just be the most important paragraph. Not only does it house the road-map of your essay (the thesis statement) along with its motivator (the motive); but it also constitutes the starting point for your reader, who is, in the end, your most valued customer! You definitely do not want to bore your reader from the first sentence, even if you feel like you may be talking about the most boring subject on the face of the planet (trust me, I’ve been there!). Whatever your subject, you should be able to introduce it with pizzazz, in such a way that your reader has to keep reading.
As promised, today we are going to break down the basics of citations in preparation for that research paper you have hopefully (cough, cough) been diligently working on since last we spoke. Last time we discussed the different types of sources you might encounter in your research project. These include primary sources and secondary sources. If you need a refresher, look over Sorting your Sources before proceeding.
Today we’ll unpack methods on how exactly to “cite” those sources that you use in the body of your paper. Today, meet MLA and Chicago.
I remember that one of the biggest challenges I faced when tackling the SAT essay was having a wide variety of examples at my fingertips. Although the SAT essay is intended to measure your writing and argumentative skills, and not your knowledge of any particular subject, it is necessary to use good examples in your SAT essay to create a persuasive argument. Many of the essay prompts given on the SAT tend to be open-ended questions with multiple perspectives one can take. Almost all of these essay prompts deal with basic moral, social and psychological issues such as the meaning of freedom or courage.
[Continue reading to find out how to develop useful SAT essay examples…]
Often, the biggest challenge of the SAT essay isn’t poor writing, but coming up with relevant and good examples within the short 25 minutes that you are given for the essay section. Someone told me that during her SAT test, she panicked after reading the prompt because no good example came to her mind and so she made up an example using her “cat”. After the test, she realized that her example had been really far-fetched and its link to the prompt hadn’t been the most relevant. She realized that one key thing she should have prepared for was good SAT essay examples.
[Continue reading to find out what to avoid when writing your essay…]
Oh man…my SAT is in a month’s time and I haven’t started preparing for it. In addition to my normal school work, extracurricular and the hundred other things I have to do, how am I supposed to even start preparing for perhaps one of the most important tests in my life? Unsurprisingly, with most of the SAT dates during the school term, albeit during a Saturday, many students see the SAT as another enormous challenge placed smack center amidst all the other commitments they already have. Many of these high school students are already barely sleeping 6 hours and are stressed out from trying to achieve high exam scores/class rankings.
Preparing for the SAT thus seems like an additional insurmountable challenge, where you face off thousands of students from all over the country who will contribute to your eventual score and ranking. Sometimes, the seeming difficulty of the SAT causes students to put off preparing for it till much later because “it just seems too hard and tiring to start right now”. Yet, taking a daily approach for the SAT is probably the best thing you can do to prepare for it!
Make it a point not to take days off! This is the first most important thing you have to take note of! Even if you only have 10 minutes on the bus or right before you fall asleep, study 10 new vocabulary words everyday and that tiny bit of work every single day will add up to a great deal in the long run.
[Continue reading to find out how to prepare daily for the SAT…]
Last week’s blog post, “What’s the Point?”, hopefully convinced you in some small way of the significance of academic writing. Now it’s time to focus on the most important elements of the academic essay. I’ve already covered a few of these in previous posts, particularly the thesis statement and motive. But of course, there are so many more! What terms are crucial to the genre of academic writing? What do you need to know to write a convincing, elegant academic essay?
Let’s look at A Writing Lexicon, a list of the essential essay elements, to find out.
Is there a difference between creative writing and writing creatively? Believe it or not, there actually is! In my previous blog post I discussed some basic methods for improving and refining your creative writing skills. I’ll talk more about creative writing in future posts, but for now, my task is to convince you that academic writing (all of that formal writing you use in essays!) can also be creative, and better yet—it should be creative. Writing creatively does not mean writing fiction or poetry. It means incorporating what you know about creative writing into your schoolwork. It is the very definition of style, and the answer to being a successful writer in high school, college, and beyond.
Last week we discussed some tips for getting started on your college application essay, after debunking several myths about the application process itself. By now, hopefully you have brainstormed enough and are feeling ready to pick up a pencil and begin writing. Grab your ‘First Impressions’ sheet we began last week and let’s get started!