Released Sat Essays

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Be concise and don't re-summarize unnecessary content!

It's really a lot like FRQ responses on AP tests.

A week before the test, I got this lovely email in my inbox: The College Board had decided to ban all tutors (age 21 ) from the first administration.

I suspect the reasons went beyond just the security of the test, but anyway, that's beyond the scope of this post. After 2 months of waiting, the May 7th exam finally came around and I was allowed to sit for the exam.

Upon arrival, my ID was checked and I was told to look for a yellow ticket with my name on it. The next 4 hours went by pretty fast, but I managed to get a good handle on the exam and the concepts that were being tested. They contain everything I know about the SAT—all the concepts, strategies, and question types you need to know to get a perfect score. Download the SAT Question of the Day App and do all those questions.

These tickets were all laid out on a long table in the cafeteria. I was told to wait at a separate table in the cafeteria until all the other students were sent off to their testing rooms. For the May 2016 test in particular, I devised an essay template for any passage that got me a high score of 21/24 (7/7/7). Start at least several months before your test date, preferably over the summer. Get a list of vocab words and start studying them (you get one for free when you sign up to my newsletter).As someone who is extremely experienced with standardized testing, I knew I didn't have to do too much prep.But to get the most out of this experience, I did all the practice exams released by The College Board and wrote several essays using a framework I had devised.When I found mine, I noticed right away that it had a gold sticker that wasn't on any of the other tickets. As it turned out, I was to be given my own room with my very own proctor because I was over 21. I share this template and everything else—all the rhetorical devices you need to know, what I did right, and the subtle things I missed—in my new SAT Essay book. There are probably released tests floating around by now so hunt those down as well.Whatever the exam, the path to a higher score is the same. Use The College Panda books and any others to review and practice the concepts you're weak in.Note: This post was originally written in 2016 when the current format of the SAT was introduced.I've now fully updated it for 2018 and beyond to reflect all the tweaks The College Board has made to the SAT since the original post. As a teacher and an author of test prep books, I make it my job to see any changes to the test firsthand.This process takes a lot of hard work but if you manage to get through it, you'll be on your way to a perfect score. So I recently commented on a post on this page and got a lot of PM responses to go ahead and share me the link on the sample essay that I used to consistently score 7's and 8's.Then when you think you've exhausted every resource you have, redo all the practice tests.I guarantee you'll still get stuff wrong that you think you reviewed thoroughly the first time. Covering those loose ends is where the real learning happens.


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