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09/04/2019

My SAT essay was only one page long…?

QUESTION
My SAT essay was only one page long…?
As stated above, my SAT essay was only one page long.

Now, my SAT tutors told me not to include paragraphs because “the graders do not care about formatting.” So, I decided, no paragraphs. I wrote a full straight page. I discussed traffic laws, illegal substances, anarchy, and the chaos that resulted after Hurricane Katrina (i.e. rape, murder, theft), and closed my book with a feeling of success and satisfaction. My handwriting is medium, I have an excellent vocabulary and am a straight-A student.

However, with five minutes left, I looked up and noticed that everyone in the room was still writing furiously, with almost 2 pages of writing. I instantly panicked. I had excellent examples, style, and vocabulary (or at least, I think so), but there was really nothing I could do.

So I got home and I began researching. Turns out, SAT graders don’t care about how excellent your writing, vocabulary, and examples are. They only care about how long it is. Now I am furious and I feel absolutely sick to my stomach about my score.

Thoughts?

ANSWER
Formatting is important with respect to the fact that SAT essay scorers have been reading essays all day long, and when they see one block or “wall” of text, they are going go “ugghhh” and immediately have some bias. Although I don’t doubt your vocabulary and etc., don’t you think it’s hard to discuss “traffic laws, illegal substances, anarchy, and the chaos that resulted after Hurricane Katrina (i.e. rape, murder, theft)” thoroughly all in one page, complete with introductory and conclusion paragraphs?

I always aim for at least one and a half pages, with just two main ideas/claims.
I would really want to confront your SAT tutors, especially since they are pretty expensive.

However, I think the essay is only 30% of your writing score? I don’t usually count on my essay to carry me too far, since writing is not my forte. With that being said, the first time I took the SAT, I got a 9 out of 12 on my essay, and a writing score of 750. But the second time around, I got a 6 on my essay and a 690 on writing. TT _ TT

If you’re unhappy with your score, you can always retake the SAT 🙂 I’ve taken it twice already and expect to try for a third time.