SAT Essay SectionIn another post, All about the SAT ESSAY, we learned what the new SAT essay is, in a nutshell. In this post let us understand the insights of this portion and let us learn how to ace the new SAT task . As seen in  previous post, SAT essay doesn’t test you only on writing but also on understanding the specific format. The SAT will deliver the score split three ways hence it’s also a good idea to know what these three different categories are.

Reading score reflects your ability to understand the passage that you have to read. For instance, if you misinterpret what the author is trying to say this is going to hurt your score.

Analysis, which I will prominently discuss in depth, is your ability to analyze how the author tries to persuade his or her audience. Learning the fundamentals of rhetoric is a great step to start with.

Writing is the ability to convey your thoughts using grammatically sound and logically coherent sentence structures.This is a test of Standard English Language.

The following tips will help you become both a better writer and better equipped to do well on the new essay.


Reading starts with a complex, opinion-driven essay. And here’s the catch: you will not be asked whether you agree or disagree with the author’s point. Instead, you are going to write an essay that discusses how the author tries to persuade his or her audience. This is whole new ball game for you; I guess, you’ve never written an essay exactly like this.

An important first step is to read the directions carefully, which would be same on test day since the SAT will recycle them, word-for-word, as they appear below.

“Consider how the author (the name will change each time) uses

  • evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
  • reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
  • stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.”

What do you understand from the above? One thing for sure that there would be certain evidences which you need to dig out and distinctly identifiable stylistic elements which if  I/you locate would help me/you understand the reasoning involved.So, Read actively, looking for clues such as for instance, example, in the study/survey, quotations etc. These clues facilitate you with a direction to think. Persuasive elements will be discussed in the next part.


The Analysis requires you to identify the stylistic features or persuasive elements the author uses to build her argument, but the major part of analysis score is based on how convincingly you evaluate the use of evidence, reasoning, and/or stylistic features in the text and explain the effect of these on the reader. There is no exact right answer. To write a strong analysis you need to know the stylistic features like an ironic tone or a rhetorical flourish that seals the deal. It’s way easier to get into the essay knowing certain techniques that you can then scan the passage for.

a) Figure out what constitutes evidence in a particular passage and how the author uses it to support his or her claims. The various types of evidence are:

  • Facts
  • Statistics
  • The results of experiments or other research
  • Examples
  • Quotations from (other) expert 

b) Evaluate the author’s use of reasoning. The two possible approaches are:

  i) Discuss how the author uses (or fails to use) clear, logical reasoning to draw a connection between a claim and the evidence supporting that claim.

  ii) Evaluate the impact that a particular feature of the author’s reasoning (factual evidence) have on how convincing the argument is. The commonly used stylistic features or persuasive elements are:

  • Allusion; Appeal to authority; emotion; or logic Diction
  • Didactic; Hyperbole; Juxtaposition
  • Irony; Rebuttal/Refutation; Rhetorical question
  • Symbolism
  • Writing

The Writing part of the SAT writing & language test assess your knowledge of expression of ideas and for conformity to the conventions of standard written English grammar, usage, and punctuation. The Writing score majorly is based on your use of the central claim with the use of effective organization in varied sentence structures maintaining a consistent style and tone.

Generally when you are faced with a timed essay, it is a natural response to want to begin writing as soon as the proctor says “time”. If you don’t plan on how you’ll attack the essay, however, your essay will lack the organization the test graders are looking for. To avoid falling into such a situation, outline your ideas based on the new SAT design.Follow the standard structure using Kaplan Template. To make it easy let’s break it down into following steps:

  1. Capture the main points that author makes.
  2. Identify three distinct stylistic features.
  3. Break up paragraphs covering one feature in each.
  4. Connect each paragraph to each other through effective transitions.
  5. Write Succinctly, Assertively and Clearly.

Want to know how you fare on the SAT essay? Send us your written response over mail to and we’ll grade and provide you a detailed feedback.

A friend, mentor and life-enthusiast by instinct, Krishnam is known for being extremely empathetic to student needs. She has been coaching students for the GRE, GMAT and SAT for about 7 years now, and has taught over 10,000 students. In her free time she indulges in stolen vacations and finds solace in cooking, eating and playing hostess.