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09/04/2019

SAT essays, how long should they be?

QUESTION
SAT essays, how long should they be?
I’m going to try to stick to 5 paragraphs in length (the standard essay length, according the Peterson’s Student Edge). How long should each paragraph be? In my freshman year of high school I was told a test essay paragraph should be between (around) 5-7 sentences. Thoughts?

ANSWER
I would advise against getting yourself set on one essay structure now. You should make your paragraphs fit the prompt and your ideas, rather than the other way around. As far as length, make them as long as you need to. You may have one paragraph where you have a lot of ideas, so it might have 10 or more sentences, while your others only have 5-7. It all just depends on what the prompt is. Just remember that many SAT readers tend to equate length and quality. So if there are two essays of similar quality, the longer one will probably receive the higher score. That’s just the experience I’ve had with classmates. So when in doubt, make it long.