What the Writing Section Actually Tests
Writing skills and grammar? While that may sound
pretty broad and frightening, the truth about what the Writing section
tests is not so extreme. First, remember that the essay section
is only 25 minutes long. Nobody expects you to write a perfect and inspired
piece of work in less than half an hour. In fact, the essay-graders
mostly want to see that you can understand a topic and take a position.
And that’s pretty much it. This chapter tells you the ingredients
you’ll need for every SAT essay and provides a Universal SAT Essay
Template that gives you a model essay pattern to follow.
The multiple-choice questions all test
grammar. This chapter contains a crash course in the grammar that
the SAT Writing section tests. As you’ll soon learn, you definitely
don’t need to be a trained grammarian to do well on the Writing
section. You don’t have to know any technical grammar terms at all.
You simply need to know the basic rules of grammar that the SAT
tends to test again and again. By learning the rules, you’ll train
your ear to recognize where errors lurk in sentences and paragraphs,
and how to fix them. The multiple-choice section does not test
stuff like spelling or vocabulary. However, using proper spelling
and appropriate vocabulary is very important on the SAT essay, since
the SAT essay-graders consider your overall command of language
when scoring your work.
The multiple-choice questions, combined with the essay,
make up the entire SAT Writing section. We explain each multiple-choice
question type and the essay in great detail later on in the chapter.