The writing section of the SAT is one aspect of the verbal section of the SAT, with the other component of the exam being the reading section. According to the College Board, “The Writing and Language test is a multiple-choice test in which you read passages and find and fix mistakes and weaknesses”. With 44 multiple choice questions and 35 minutes to complete them all, the writing section requires preparation and practice to achieve mastery. In this article, we will explore valuable tips and tricks to help you ace the writing section of the SAT.
Understand the Format and Scoring
Familiarizing yourself with the structure of the writing section is critical to mastering the section as a whole. As previously mentioned, the section consists of 44 multiple choice questions based on passages. Each passage has 11 questions, which each fall into two types: improving the expression of ideas, and recognizing and correcting grammatical errors. The four passages range in difficulty and complexity; one passage is always a narrative, while the three others are argumentative or informative texts. The writing section contributes to the overall verbal score, which is calculated with both the reading and writing section scores. You can see the full details on the writing section in the official webpage in the College Board website.
Review Grammar Rules
In a similar vein, become well-versed in the rules of grammar and writing conventions. Reviewing topics such as subject-verb agreement, parallelism, verb tenses, pronoun usage, and sentence structure will produce great results in the long run, as questions regarding these topics are commonly seen on the SAT.
Take Advantage of Resources
Make sure to utilize the sheer volume of SAT preparation resources available to you. Practice tests, study guides, and online tutorials can provide valuable insights into the test format, scoring guidelines, and even supply practice questions.
Practice is key to improving your writing skills. Though the SAT does not require you to submit any original writing, having a strong foundation in writing will certainly benefit your results in this section. Make sure to familiarize yourself with sample passages and time yourself as you answer the multiple choice questions. Review and analyze your results, identifying areas for improvement. If you identify consistent errors, make sure to take time to brush up on the specific grammatical lessons. The SAT is known for recycling questions or question types, so it is in your best interest to nail down a topic because it will most likely show up again. Remember, these skills will not suddenly become second nature to you— it requires time, so be gentle and patient with yourself.
Mastering the writing section of the SAT requires a combination of sufficient practice, strong reading and writing skills, and familiarity with the exam’s format. By understanding the structure and scoring system, and practicing regularly, you can significantly improve your performance on this section of the SAT. Take our free practice test and see where you are now!