New SAT Includes Changes to the Essay Section

The comprehensive redesign of the SAT in March 2016 included making the Essay section optional and making its focus more rigorous.

If any of the colleges you are applying to require the SAT Essay, you will want to be sure to take it.

But you may also want to take the Essay section for other reasons. For instance, the task the Essay asks you to complete — analyzing how an argument works — is an interesting and engaging one, and will give you an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your reading, analysis, and writing skills. To write a strong essay, you will need to focus on how the author uses evidence, reasoning, and other rhetorical techniques to build an argument and make it convincing.

All of these skills are critical to success in college and your career. And your scores will provide you with insight into your strengths and weaknesses in these areas.

You will have 50 minutes to complete the SAT Essay which consists of one passage between 650 and 750 words that you will read and then respond to.

The Essay task will be the same in every test. What will change is the reading selection you’ll be asked to analyze. If you are familiar with the Essay prompt ahead of time – and understand exactly what your task is – you will save time on Test Day and write a stronger essay.

Your goal is to produce a detailed, well-structured analysis of the given passage. Key to this is developing a concise thesis statement. You can do this by building a response to this simplified question: How does the author build his or her argument? Answer this question in the fewest words possible without sacrificing clarity.

If you need help preparing for the SAT, be sure to call Optiminds at (248) 496-0150. Our SAT experts will create a customized, individualized program that focuses on the newly revised SAT. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: to learn more about us


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