Dec. 15, 2020
There are three scores that you'll receive on the SAT Essay, each evaluating a different skill. While Analysis and Writing may seem self-explanatory, some students don't fully understand what's necessary to earn a top Reading score. Here are the steps you should take to maximize your points by showing that you "understood the passage, including the interplay of central ideas and important details" and have made "an effective use of textual evidence."
Before you read the full text, make sure you look at the prompt that comes after the source passage. It will look something like this:
"Write an essay in which you explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience that [author's claim]."
Whatever appears in the "author's claim" part of your prompt is the main idea. Now, when you go back and read the passage, it should be easier to find the primary support for that claim. This will help your Reading score by demonstrating that you understood the main idea of the source text and give you a starting point for the Analysis task of the Essay.
Accurately identifying the main idea will give you a good Reading score. But to get a great Reading score, you'll need to demonstrate that you also comprehend the context of the text. This means showing that you understand the author, the audience, and why the author is speaking or writing.
By using the SOAPS method, you can be sure that you'll note all of the necessary elements of the text.
With careful reading and SOAPS prep work, you're ready to get writing. Most of your SOAPS points will be included in the introductory paragraph of your essay. Additionally, much of your analysis will be stronger if you incorporate SOAPS observations into your discussion. A little planning and strategizing go a long way toward getting a high Reading score on your SAT Essay. If you pay attention to the evidence in front of you, read carefully, and organize your thoughts, you'll be setting yourself up for success. For more help achieving a top SAT score, check out our book SAT Prep, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for additional study tips.