The essay on the new SAT may not be the herculean task that test takers envisage it to be. It is an optional component of the SAT as not all universities require it. However, submitting the essay test scores does takes you a long way in enhancing the quality of your application and presenting it in a very favourable light in the eyes of the admissions officers.
The essay response tests your competence in three main areas: Reading, Writing and Analysis. You are required to write a response after reading a passage that could have been extracted from as eclectic as topics such as Global Warming, Human Rights, Kinaesthetic Learning or even the Habits of Nocturnal Animals.
The Reading section of the essay tests your ability to understand the author’s purpose in presenting the passage and what the main idea of the passage is. Furthermore, it requires you to identify how the whole passage is woven together to support this main idea or thesis statement and how each succeeding paragraph is arranged to bolster the thesis statement.
The Analysis section of the essay tests your expertise in delineating the ways in which the author builds his argument and how he justifies his stance. Does he/she use literary, figurative or emotional language to evoke a specific response in the reader? You are required to identify any and all stylistic and persuasive elements such as irony, sarcasm, metaphors, analogies and word choice. What historical or statistical evidence does he use to strengthen his prose?
The Writing section of the test measures your prowess in producing a stylistic and grammatically correct and consistent exposition that combines your understanding of the Reading and Analysis section.
Hence, read voraciously as healthy and diverse reading habits will take you very far in getting a really high score on the SAT essay.