The first section on the SAT is always the essay. Writing a decent essay in under 25 minutes while still rubbing the sleep from your eyes may seem like an impossible feat; however, don’t despair. Just a few simple steps will surely help improve your “first thing in the morning” essay.
The SAT will give you a very broad topic and ask you to write your view on the matter. It’s important to take a firm position on the subject matter. Don’t try to justify different schools of thought on the topic or bring conflicting opinions. Stick with one viewpoint and carry it through the essay.
It’s best to write the essay in the typical five-paragraph format – an introduction stating your thesis, three body paragraphs with different examples proving your thesis, and a conclusion that restates your thesis while wrapping up the essay. You’ll want to have strong examples in your body paragraphs. These are the crux of your essay and can make or break it for you. It’s best to bring in examples from all different places, such as history, current issues, literature, art, etc. It’s also always good to bring one personal example as a proof. This example doesn’t have to be true, but it gives your essay a personal touch.
When it comes to word usage, don’t overdo it. If you know a great vocabulary word and know how to use it correctly, that’s great; however, if you’re vague on the meaning don’t use it. Chances are, you’ll use it incorrectly and the one misguided word will trivialize the whole essay. Try to keep your sentence structure simple as well, as this will give clarity and coherence.
Though writing an essay at 7:30 a.m. is never ideal, this will surely help make the experience less overwhelming and more manageable.
More information and tips can be found in SAT prep books such as Princeton Review or Barron’s. Good luck!