SAT Essay Tips: How to Construct a Well-Written Essay

For some students, writing comes naturally. Others have difficulty. For those who struggle with coming up with introductory paragraphs and topic sentences, these SAT essay tips will help you make sense of the SAT writing section. In this post, you’ll learn how to build a well-constructed essay and how to develop habits to repeat that sort of essay every single time. Here’s what you’ll need to know.

Understanding The SAT Essay Section

It starts with knowing your audience. What are the SATs looking for when they read a student’s essay? What kinds of strengths do they most care about, and what kinds of weaknesses are they most likely to ignore? Here are a few key points for you to remember before you start:

  • Reading comprehension. You can’t build a quality essay without first understanding what you’re trying to communicate. Part of mastering the writing is getting a clear sense of what they’re asking you to accomplish in the essay—often, by having you summarize a passage already written. Take your time and make sure you get this part right.
  • Structure. Are you able to take the points from the passage and organize them in a clean way? Are you able to support your points through the writing, or do you simply write down as many words as possible until the time runs out? Understanding the difference between these two is essential.
  • Writing and grammatical skill. You should demonstrate effective writing and grammar by sticking to simple, well-thought out sentences. Avoid run-on sentences intended to impress. Instead, think about how you can best demonstrate your points clearly.

The Structure of a Well-Written SAT Essay

Once you know the structure of a well-written SAT essay, you should be able to reproduce a strong essay simply by knowing the material itself. Here’s what you’ll need to know:

  • Topic sentences. The skeleton of your essay will depend on topic sentences that demonstrate your knowledge of the reading material. Remember that your topic sentence should be relevant to everything that comes after it in the paragraph. You might even practice by building essays with only topic sentences to start.
  • Supporting evidence. After each topic sentence, include the supporting evidence from the passage and make sure that you develop your idea in more detail. Each paragraph should be a single unit that makes one large point, with many smaller points inside.
  • Introduction and conclusion. Your introduction and conclusion should both open and close a loop—asking a relevant question in the content and then concluding by pointing out how you’ve answered it. This will enhance the clarity of your overall message.

Try an SAT Prep Course

Want more tips for tackling the SAT essay without any fear? Then it’s time to brush up on your test-taking skills. We recommend an SAT prep course to ensure that you’re able to go into the exam with full confidence that your skills are up to the challenge.