New SAT Writing: Possible Essays?

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: June 2004 Archive: New SAT Writing: Possible Essays?
By Lex06 (Lex06) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 12:56 am: Edit

Hi All,

I'm tutoring a few high school kids for the writing portion of the new SAT. I'm compiling a list of possible topics (both past SAT prompts and fabricated prompts), and I would love to hear from any of you who may remember yours or perhaps have suggestions from SAT II Writing practice materials.

Thanks so much,

By Aim78 (Aim78) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:25 am: Edit

You can't really predict them, but they're usually cliches. The June one that I got was something like, "Our lives are determined by the choices we make - or fail to make." Best thing to do is make an outline (fast) that's very formulaic - topic sentence, evidence, explanation, echo of topic sentence. And it's good to come up with your examples beforehand - you use things in literature and history that you really like, and you can usually mold them to fit the topic.

By Jaug1 (Jaug1) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:35 am: Edit

Best tip I can give is this:

You can't predict the essay topic, but you can create examples that will fit the essay topic 90% of the time.

As a tutor, I would recommend telling your students to think of examples before the day of the test and have about 4 or 5 (3 or 4 for example essays, 1 or 2 from personal experience)

By Conker (Conker) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 10:55 am: Edit

I would be willing to bet that the first prompt will be a "personal experiences" (or as Sparknotes terms it: "fill-in-the-blank") type essay prompt. They may believe that the average student will find the traditional defend/refute too difficult. Remember that CB has to constantly keep the average student in mind; with the SAT II Writing, the "average" student taking the exam was far above the national defniition of an "average" student.

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 11:16 am: Edit

Well, not necessarily Conker. The portions of the test are still in separate areas, as are the scores. If you want to beable to get that top score (now in the 2200+ range), you will need to show proficiency in writing. If someone is really good in math, pretty good in "critical reading", but only average in writing, well then that student isn't the "cream of the crop". The whole trend of this new SAT is toward more advanced content (expecially in math) so why not extend that trend to the writing section.

I see your overall point. But, and unfortunately, over 80% of our grade simply cannot write an above average essay (or even research paper). People in the CP classes have awful run-on sentences, horrible thesis, and lack of proof for that thesis. Because that is so, then those students will still be the average student in terms of SAT percentages.

By Unluckycharms (Unluckycharms) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 05:02 pm: Edit

I think it's going to be much easier to score higher on the SATI Writing than the SATII Writing.

Let's face it - the nation's "average" kid is pretty darn stupid. No offense to anyone who feels they are average, but I have seen enough of things from my high school to convince me of this.

Most students in my school don't even know what the hell an SAT2 is - let alone have taken them. The pool of students taking the SAT2 Writing was much, much more intelligent than the pool of students taking the SAT1. This means that, in order to force the raw score into a 200-800 standard distribution, it will be much easier to score higher. The mean raw score will be much lower than it is on the SAT2 Writing.

By Monoe (Monoe) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 06:19 pm: Edit

Unluckycharms, I agree. The testtakers are the final reasons for test difficulty or facility.

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