How is the SAT Essay Scored?
Even though the essay in the new SAT is optional, I highly recommend having your child take it. Many colleges require or suggest the SAT essay.
Here is what the College Board has to say about the scoring of the SAT essay:
"SAT Essay responses are scored using a carefully designed process:
Two different people will read and score your essay.
Each scorer awards 1–4 points for each dimension: reading, analysis, and writing.
The two scores for each dimension are added.
You’ll receive three scores for the SAT Essay — one for each dimension — ranging from 2–8 points."
Here is the scoring guide. A perfect score has these characteristics:
"Reading: A successful essay shows that you understood the passage, including the interplay of central ideas and important details. It also shows an effective use of textual evidence.
Analysis: A successful essay shows your understanding of how the author builds an argument by:
Examining the author’s use of evidence, reasoning, and other stylistic and persuasive techniques
Supporting and developing claims with well-chosen evidence from the passage
Writing: A successful essay is focused, organized, and precise, with an appropriate style and tone that varies sentence structure and follows the conventions of standard written English."
It makes sense that an essay with good use of evidence, reasoning, structure, and style will necessarily be longer than a essay that does NOT include those things. I think it's too simplistic to say the essay is ONLY about length, but I also think it will have to be a fairly long, well written essay to earn a good score using these criteria. Even though the college board denies that it's about length, in order to meet their objective criteria the essay will have to be quite long. To learn more about writing such a long essay in such a short period of time, check out Writing the SAT Essay.
Are you worried about SAT essay length? Let me know in the comments!
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Please note: This post was originally published in July 2008 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.