Have you registered for the SAT yet? The next deadline is February 10, 2017 (eeek, that’s soon!) for the testing session held on March 11, 2017.
Registration is not the only thing you need to do to prep for the SAT. You need to study, review, and prepare for each section of the assessment. The Math and Reading sections of the SAT are required to generate a score report that will be sent to your prospective schools. However, this year the essay portion is optional and dependent upon college and university admission guidelines. Do the schools you want to apply to require the written essay? Top universities such as Yale, Harvard, Duke, Stanford, and The University of California System require applicants to submit a SAT written essay score. To eliminate unneeded stress and surprise make sure you know if your schools of interest require the written essay.
If you are in the pool of applicants that need to complete the essay being a good communicator is going to be a huge help on the writing segment. Writing is simply a way to communicate through the written word. If you can express yourself well in writing, by establishing a point with supporting arguments that are clear and concise, not only will you do well on the SAT, you will succeed in other areas of your life.
Let’s look into some ways you can improve your writing:
- Know your punctuation rules. When you are writing anything – an email, thank you note, or an essay you should obey punctuation rules. You should know how and when to use commas, periods, exclamations, semi-colons, and quotations. Using proper punctuation shows a solid understanding of the english language and speaks highly of your ability to communicate. Keep in mind 🙂 # and @ are fun to use on social media. They are not something you should be using in your essay on the SAT!
- Use transitional phrases. Using phrases like “however”, “furthermore”, or “in addition to” can give your writing “flow”. Transitions create powerful links between your thoughts and ideas and allow the reader to follow your logic. Avoid using “because” over and over again and try a transitional phrase when you are presenting in class, writing your essay, or firing away in debate club.
- Rev up your vocabulary. The SAT is all about words. Having a healthy lexicon will get you far in the reading and language section, as well as the written essay. In order to improve your everyday vocabulary you should read, read, read! Exposure and interaction with new words will build your vocabulary bank. Be sure to have some $10 words in your back pocket you can whip out for your essay and admissions interviews.
- Support your opinion. To achieve the highest mark on the SAT written essay you must establish a precise, central claim and provide relevant and sufficient support for the claim. Make sure you know why you are taking a certain position. Then, establish 2-3 solid reasons why you feel that way. Your supporting paragraphs should be insightful and clear.
This is a skill you should be constantly working on both in writing and conversation. The most successful people can establish their point and provide reasons for why it is important. These people often find themselves in team leadership positions because they have well developed communication skills.
- Stay organized. If time permits create an outline for your essay. Quickly jot down what you want to convey and how you will support your claim. Begin with these items:
- Introduction (state purpose and claim)
- Supporting Paragraphs (the number will vary dependent upon your topic)
- Conclusion (restate purpose and summarize claim)
This structure of writing can be helpful beyond your SAT essay. Clear writing means clear thinking which will get you far in college, the workforce, and beyond.
If you are taking the SAT next month be sure you practice the essay portion and have a teacher or mentor review your written product with you. Well-developed writing skills can set you apart from other students. Your written products on the SAT and in your college applications will showcase what you have to offer your prospective schools.
Keep in mind that this summer at Summer Springboard we will be hosting workshops focused on communication. We will help you improve, strengthen, and learn how to be an effective communicator so that you speak and write with impact. Join us!
We wish you the best of luck on the SAT! Work hard and stay focused.