Our first real glimpse at the new PSAT

The College Board has released, at long last, its first full practice test since announcing sweeping changes to the PSAT and SAT last year. You may now finally, if you’re one of a small group of merry misfits that actually enjoy this kind of thing, sit down for 3 hours and take a prototype test (more…)

The new SAT’s optional essay

I have a lot to say about  the new SAT’s essay; I might not end up being able to squeeze it all into one post, but I’m going to try. In order to give this post a bit of structure—both to help me organize my thoughts and to help you find what you’re looking for—I’m (more…)

Essay Guide

PWN the SAT: Essay Guide is available now in two formats: Paperback (list price $12.99) Kindle (list price $7.99) Note that you don’t need an actual Kindle device to read the Kindle version—there are Kindle apps for iOS and Android devices, and Kindle books can also be read right on your web browser. About the (more…)

Essay Guide

My Essay Guide is now available as a Kindle book. It’s about 100 pages long, and contains a bunch of the essay advice I’ve posted to this site over the years, plus a bunch of other stuff that I’d never really written down before I decided to write this book. It’s aimed at helping you (more…)

Essay body paragraphs

Note: this is an excerpt from the PWN the SAT Essay Guide, available now in paperback and Kindle. Mini-thesis The first sentence of any body paragraph should be what I call a mini-thesis. This sentence refers back to your main thesis, puts it in context of the evidence you plan to cite in the paragraph. (more…)

PWN the SAT: Essay Guide (Beta)

I’ve been very slowly working on an Essay Guide. So frustratingly slowly. The plan is for it to be an ebook (and maybe, if people really like it, a print book at some point). And it’s still very far from being done, but it’s getting to a point where I think it’s not a waste (more…)

The Essay: Organization and focus

This is a bit of a cliche, but you really should hold your reader’s hand and guide him through your essay. Avoid reader whiplash at all costs—your grader should never have to pause to wonder how he got to where he is, because you should be there at every juncture, reminding him exactly how he (more…)

Reverse Examples/Evidence for Your Essay

Source. What you should take away from this post: You don’t have to use examples that support your point directly You can also use reverse examples to support your point indirectly EXAMPLE: Let’s say the point you want to make is that teens to need make their own decisions and face the consequences to become (more…)

The Essay: Development and support of point of view

SAT essay assignments require you to take a position and support it using “reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.” In other words, you don’t just have to say what you believe, you need to try to persuade your reader to agree with you, or at the very least convince him (more…)

5-Paragraph Essay: Part V: How to Transition Between Paragraphs

This is Part 5 of a multi-part series on how to write a stellar SAT essay. Check out the other parts here: [part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4] Things You’ll Learn From This Post: Paragraph 3 is identical to Paragraph 2 w/ one exception (transition) There needs to be transition between paragraphs “Like” and “Addition” transitions (more…)