#1: Give a Clear Thesis
The SAT essay rubric states: “The response includes a precise central claim.”
What this means is that your essay needs to make a clear argument that the reader can easily identify. All you have to do to create your “precise central claim” is to identify the main idea of the passage and list the methods the author uses to support it.
#2: Include Both an Introduction and a Conclusion
The SAT essay rubric states: “The response includes a skillful introduction and conclusion.”
Including an introduction paragraph in your essay is absolutely essential to getting a Writing score above a 4/8. The introduction paragraph introduces the reader to what you’ll be talking about and allows you to set up the structure for the rest of the essay. Plus, an introduction can be a pretty good indicator of the quality for the rest of the essay – a poorly constructed introduction is often a warning that the essay that follows will be equally discombobulated. It’s best to have both an introduction and a conclusion, but if you’re running short on time and can only have one, definitely pick the introduction.
#3: Use Effective Language and Word Choice
There are a couple of parts of the Writing score section on the SAT essay rubric that pertain directly to style.
First, the SAT essay rubric states: “The response is cohesive and demonstrates a highly effective use and command of language.”
For most of us, this is an area that takes a long time to develop, so unless your language skills are really rough or you’re prepping a year ahead of time (or both), you’ll probably get more out of focusing on the other components of the essay.
The SAT essay rubric also states: “The response has a wide variety in sentence structures. The response demonstrates a consistent use of precise word choice. The response maintains a formal style and objective tone.”
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