The SAT Writing Section

Length Question Types
One 25-Minute Section
One 10-Minute Section
One 25-Minute Essay
18 Identifying Sentence Errors
25 Improving Sentences
6 Improving Paragraphs

The first section you'll see on the SAT Writing component is the essay—and it counts for one-third of your 800-point Writing score. Your essay and multiple-choice section scores will be combined into a single scaled score that reflects the weight given to each section. This scaled score will then be converted into a final score, ranging from 200-800 points.

The SAT Writing Essay

For the essay portion of the SAT, your task is to write a short, persuasive essay on an assigned topic. The word, persuasive, is key. You can write a compelling essay on a meaningful experience, but if you have not offered good reasons to see things from a particular point of view, you won't score well.

Your essay will be scored quickly and holistically by two readers. Holistically means your essay gets a single score—a number—that indicates its overall quality. Each reader will assign your essay a score ranging from a high of 6 to a low of 1. These two scores are added together to get a total score ranging from a high of 12 to a low of 2. The only way to receive a 0 if your essay is illegible, off topic, or blank.

Kaplan's 4-Ps Strategy for the SAT Essay

Prompt—Know It and Understand It

This step takes 1-2 minutes and ensures that you know exactly what the essay prompt is asking.

Plan—Collect Your Ideas

In this step, you want take 3-4 minutes to pick a stance on the issue, choose your supporting examples, and use specific evidence to back up your assertions.

Produce—Write Your Essay

The writing step takes about 8 minutes—that's plenty of time to write three to five stellar paragraphs, working from a prepared outline. Lean on your outline, it will help you organize your thoughts coherently. Write clearly, concisely, and in complete sentences. Use proper grammar.

Proofread—Read for Consistency and Errors

This step takes 2-3 minutes. It involves proofreading and fixing your essay. If you spent the bulk of your time thinking about, planning, and writing the essay, the repair step should be a breeze.

SAT Writing Multiple-Choice Questions

The multiple choice portion of the SAT Writing section consists of 49 questions divided into three types: 18 Identifying Sentence Error questions, 25 Improving Sentences questions, and 6 Improving Paragraph questions.

The Identifying Sentence Errors and Improving Sentences questions are based on single, unrelated sentences on a variety of topics. The Improving Paragraph questions are based on a brief passage.

In terms of scoring, if you get a multiple-choice question right, you earn 1 point. If you get it wrong, you lose ¼ of a point. If you omit the question, you neither gain nor lose any points.

Kaplan's 4-Step Strategy for the SAT Writing Multiple-Choice Questions

STEP 1: Read the Whole Sentence, Listening for the Mistake

STEP 2: If You Clearly Hear the Mistake, Choose It and Move On

STEP 3: If Not, Read Each Underlined Choice and Eliminate Choices That Contain No Errors

STEP 4: Choose From the Remaining Choices

Take an SAT Writing Quiz

How will you do? Take our SAT Writing Quiz and find out.

Kaplan Strategy Session: SAT Writing

Kaplan Strategy Session: SAT Writing

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