Information Regarding The SAT Essay Section

SAT Essay Section and How it is Scored?

SAT has its origin in the year 1926. It was earlier known as Scholastic Aptitude Test, and later on the name changed to Scholastic Assessment Test. This exam is organized by the College Board which has its origin in the year 1900. It came into existence with the concept of providing ‘education to all’ i.e. providing education not only to the privileged class of students but also to the students lying below the poverty line by providing financial assistance to them in the form of scholarships. It comprises three test sections: Critical Reading section, Math section and Writing section.

Writing Section

It assesses the ability of examinees to write impeccable English through two types of questions: Multiple choice questions and Essay.

Multiple choice questions comprise questions on improving sentences (incorrect sentences which are underlined in the portions which need correction), improving paragraphs (consists of an incorrect passage trailed by questions which are incorrect sentences from the passage itself, and followed by options to choose the correct answer), spotting sentence errors (includes incorrect sentence which underlines some words/ phrases and are marked from (A) to (E) followed by the options from A to E. An examinee has to spot error in an underlined portion, and choose an option to represent the spotted error).

What Comprises the SAT Essay Section?

This section is one of the most vital parts of Writing section. It encompasses an excerpt which is written in a simple language, and which can even be read and understood easily by a student from non-English speaking country. The given excerpt is followed by a question on which an essay is to be written (with a number2 pencil only) by a test taker applying one’s reasoning ability, one’s knowledge, experience and observations around. To get more information about the type of excerpts put in the test, one can log on to the following web page:

Time Allotted

The total time allotted to this section is 25 minutes for an essay.

How is the Essay Scored?

This essay section is scored on the basis of the overall concept it presents. It is scored by two experts (they are invited from across the world). They score essays keeping in mind the complexity of thought, consistency in language, freedom from errors (grammatical, usage of words and phrases, etc), smooth progression of ideas, accommodation of important points in line with the question asked, etc. Each of the experts scores essays on the scale of 1 to 6 thus, providing a combined score ranging from 2 to 12. An essay which totally diverts from the key topic is scored zero. Most of the time, the experts don’t differ from each other by more than one point. However, if they disagree, then the essay is evaluated by a third expert.

The table below explains what score is awarded to which type of essay:


Type of essay


Outstanding (Clear thought, and consistent flow of language).


Occasional errors can be spotted.


Inconsistency in language and some errors can be spotted in grammar/ usage of words and phrases in a sentence.


Lapses in-reasoning, point to support one’s ideas, consistency of language, vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and usage of words and phrases.


Lack of focus toward subject, weak critical thinking, incorrect-vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, examples to support one’s ideas, and poorly organized.


Contains serious flaws in sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar. Disorganized and totally lacks focus toward subject.

Essential Points to be Taken Care of While Writing a SAT Essay

  1. Essay is to be written in an answer sheet on the lines meant for writing essay.
  2. It must be written in an easy-to-understand handwriting.
  3. Essay is to be written with a number2 (Hardness of the lead of a pencil is indicated by numbers. The higher the number, the harder the lead) pencil only.
  4. The essay will be scored 0 if it is not in line with the question asked.
  5. The essay must be one’s own creation. It should not be copied from anywhere else.


One has to roll up one’s sleeves to approach this section. One should first be aware of the concept of an essay, what type of essay should be written to be scored high, what tips one needs to follow in writing, and above all how experts evaluate the essays.