SAT essay questions are developed to measure a student’s ability in a few different areas pertaining to the language arts. First, can the students follow the rules and conventions of English grammar to articulate a clear, meaningful statement? Additionally, can a student express an argument and use supporting ideas to back up their argument? This component of testing measures a student’s ability to critically think as well as how able they are to articulate that point in a written forum. SAT essay questions range from topic to topic, but are not based on specific knowledge of certain material. For instance, a student will not face SAT essay questions which ask them to detail the life cycle of an oak tree. Instead, a quote or excerpt will often be given to which the student is to expand or draw upon their own experiences to respond to.
SAT essay questions must be answered in a specific format as detailed by the Collegeboard who administers the examination. First, an answer booklet will be provided in which SAT essay questions must be answered. No additional paper will be provided, so a student must be sure to keep their argument precise and their handwriting reasonably sized so they don’t run out of space. Also, a pencil must be used in the essay portion of the SAT exams. Any SAT essay questions answered with pen will receive a score of zero and will bring down the student’s overall score significantly.
Essays submitted which are off topic or do not respond to the question or material at hand, will be disregarded and will result in a zero on the writing section of the exam. Those cases in which plagiarism is proven or suspected can result in a negation of the student’s scores altogether.
SAT essay questions give a student a chance to show their critical reasoning skills after taking an exam based on multiple choices. Some students may find this opportunity exciting, while others may see it as quite daunting. It is important to remember that staying on topic, carefully following rules of grammar and writing structure and responding to the relevant material at hand will give any student an automatic edge regardless of what the SAT essay questions on a particular test may be.