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How to Write a SAT Essay – Steps & Examples

Published by at November 1st, 2021 , Revised On February 1, 2024

The Sat essay is almost like a formal essay assigned in college for which you might have to examine some content. The SAT essay might be optional, but we suggest taking it and showing the universities that you are ready to be on board.

You can divide your SAT essay into three stages to complete it in 50 minutes which you will be allotted. With so little time and so much to do, you need to find the best time combination that will help you complete the essay just in time.

There is a broad time frame for a couple of these stages, depending on your reading or writing ability. Some people, for example, are way faster at reading than they are at composing and vice versa.

Three Stages of Writing a SAT Essay.

  • Reading
  • Planning
  • Writing


If you are a fast reader, you should just read through the passage and avoid getting too hung up on the descriptions, but if you are a slow reader and have trouble managing time under pressure, you should try skimming the passage. Either way, make sure you have clarity of the way the content is laid out before you look deep into it.

Mostly, students end up reading through a specific passage multiple times to understand it. Giving the passage a quick go through before you go for a detailed analysis can help you decide which parts you have to get back to and which parts are not as important.

When you get back for a detailed review, make sure to highlight, underline or circle argument building material that will help you in the coming stages of essay writing.


Most students do not plan the SAT essay because of time constraints, but we suggest you take some precious time out to plan the essay because the grader of the essay looks for a clear structure, i.e., introduction, evidence, argument, conclusion.

It is nearly impossible to follow the structure and manage the time for writing without having a plan. You better highlight or make notes all over the passage while reading and analysing it. This will help you quickly find the relevant material and quote the author where necessary without waiting time.

The best way to keep the details sorted is by highlighting and numbering the evidence you collected by reading the passage to help you refer back to that material quickly. Another way is to write a brief outline, including the details in bullet points and the exact location. Taking out the time to plan our outline during the reading will save your time in the lengthiest stage, writing.

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Once you are done analysing the passage and planning the essay, it’s time to write nonstop until you are left with only five minutes to revise the essay. If you have appropriately taken notes and planed effectively, you can jump right into it without having to go back and forth between the text you are writing and the passage you have read.


Briefly mention the author’s argument and evidence you will be using to support your statement. You can write about the concept in general and try to rephrase the thesis differently. You can write just a couple of sentences if you run out of time.

Body paragraphs:

After you complete the introduction part of the writing, the next step is the body paragraph. Use a well-organised structure to attempt a body paragraph. Briefly describe how the author used the evidence to support his own argument. Here is how you can structure the body paragraph.

Start with the metamorphosis, then briefly provide an introduction to the topic. Explain the topic’s context and relevancy to your thesis statement supported by evidence collected from the passage. Discuss how the evidence is proof of your thesis.


In conclusion, you have to reaffirm your thesis statement and briefly discuss the evidence you mentioned in the body paragraph. Be careful not to write about a border context or introduce a new idea and the conclusion. Make sure you do not contradict yourself or add anything you have not discussed already. End on a strong note.


Once you put all the pieces together, it’s time to revise. Go through the essay and see if it makes sense to you.

Also read: How to write a descriptive essay


The college of Board declared that after June 2021, the essay portion of SAT will no longer be offered. Most colleges had shifted to making SAT essay scores optional already. The declaration made by the College Board will most likely lead to changes in the college application process, and they might not look at the essay scores at all for SAT and ACT.

Is SAT Essay Optional?

You can skip the essay portion of your SAT, but some colleges recommend students to attempt the essay. If you haven’t registered for the SAT essay initially, you can add it later.

How Many Paragraphs Should I Write for SAT Essay?

Four paragraphed persuasive essays can help you score a six if you have used strong arguments, grammar, and a broad vocabulary.

Each paragraph should have a specific motive and keep the attention on the particular point rather than mix the information trying to paint a bigger picture.

Also read: Formatting an essay. 

How Should I Structure my SAT Essay?

A 4 paragraphed Sat essay is usually structured like this;

Frequently Asked Questions

To write an SAT essay, analyze the provided passage, identify the author’s persuasive strategies, develop a clear thesis, provide evidence from the passage, and explain its significance. Use effective organization, precise language, and varied sentence structure, and demonstrate critical thinking skills.

There are three stages mentioned below

  • Reading
  •  Planning
  •  Writing

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