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Six-phase schedule - Phase 1 - The SAT essay

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Kathleen Flynn

on 11 July 2013

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Transcript of Six-phase schedule - Phase 1 - The SAT essay

The six-phase schedule
Phase 1 - The SAT Essay
Strategy 1 - Don't read the instructions
Strategy 2 - Build a five-paragraph essay
Strategy 3 - Impress your graders; Use big words
Strategy 4 - Write a lot
Strategy 5 - Amaze your graders; Brainstorm an outline
Strategy 6 - Relate topic sentences to your thesis
Strategy 7 - Use the active voice
Strategy 8 - Employ transitions
Strategy 9 - Don't get personal
Strategy 10 - Build an essay template

What is a thesis?
Your thesis is the sentence in your introduction that you will prove.

Make it the first sentence of your essay.

On the SAT, this sentence usually tells whether you agree or disagree with the topic.

If you are unsure whether you are asserting an opinion (a thesis) or just making a statement (not a thesis), insert your sentence in the following thesis test:

"In this essay, I will prove that _______________________________."
Example Theses
The notion that people should make an effort to be more private is absolutely false.
Strategy 3 - Use big words
The presupposition that challenging authority only makes a society stronger a categorical truth.
Instead of . . . Use
The notion that there is hope and opportunity through hardships is an absolute truth.
Strategy 4 - Write a lot
The presupposition that an attempt to please everyone will breed success is categorically false.
Strategy 2
Build a five-paragraph essay

The
introduction
contains your thesis, a sentence or two of generalities, and your plan of procedure
Body paragraph 1
Body paragraph 2
Body paragraph 3
The
conclusion
is the shortest paragraph of your essay - only 2 or 3 sentences. Restate your thesis in different words.


Plan of Procedure - POP
Your plan of procedure is an ordered list of examples that you will use in body paragraphs to support your thesis. The POP is the last sentence of your introduction.

Examples:
Three classic archetypes that show how privacy can be a vice are Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the tragic Holocaust, and the current state of North Korea.
Three prominent archetypes that exemplify how defying power enriches a society are Thomas Paine's Common Sense, the communist state of North Korea, and George Orwell's 1984.
Three prominent paradigms that display society's genius can be found in the Normandy invasion of World War II, the engendering of more efficient energy sources, and Frederick Douglass's amazing struggle to learn how to read.

Strategy 7 - Use the active voice
SAT test writers prefer sentences in the active voice, where the subject performs the action and the object receives the action.

John caught the ball.
The dog scared the baby.
The note reminded me of my appointment.
The politicians have agreed on the policy.

SAT test writers don't like sentences in the passive voice, where the subject receives the action and the object performs the action.

The ball was caught.
The baby was scared by the dog.
I was reminded of my appointment by the note.
The policy has been agreed on by the politicians.

Most passive voice sentences contain "by" and a form of "to be" ("was", "been", or "is")
Strategy 8 - Employ transitions
Transitions improve the logic and flow of your essay.

You should incorporate at least four transitions in your SAT essay.

TRANSITIONS TO FURTHER EXPLAIN
furthermore
moreover
additionally
therefore

TRANSITIONS TO INTRODUCE EXAMPLES
for example
another paradigm
for instance

TRANSITIONS TO COMPARE SIMILAR IDEAS
similarly
accordingly

TRANSITIONS TO CONTRAST DISSIMILAR IDEAS
nevertheless
although
on the other hand
conversely
however

TRANSITIONS TO CONCLUDE
in conclusion
in summation
finally
consequently


Strategy 9 - Don't get personal
Don't use any of the following words in your SAT essay: "I", "me", "you", "we", "us", "our", "myself", "yourself", "ourselves."

Even if the essay question asks "Should we follow leaders?" you should not use "we" in your essay.

Instead write about "society" or "civilization."
Material that is not personal
What examples should you use in your SAT essay to support your thesis? Ideally, you would use one example from a literary work (a book, poem, or short story), one from history (an event or character), and one example from a current event.

You need to use a total of three examples from these categories.

Have your examples ready before you arrive at the SAT test center! Here's how:

prepare a list of four to seven literary works, four to seven historical events or characters, and four to seven current events to write in the SAT essay section of your composition notebook. The list should consist of examples that you have thorough knowledge of.
you don't need to complete your list in one sitting.
once you have your list of 15 to 20 examples, you should be able to apply at least three of those examples to any SAT essay prompt.
the key is to know each of your examples in enough detail so that you can apply it to any topic.
do not use a personal experience as an example for your essay.
Composition notebook entries
LITERATURE

Title: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Time period: Early part of the twentieth century

Setting: Long Island

Main characters: Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, and Daisy Buchanan

Key facts:
Gatsby built a fortune by bootlegging alcohol
Gatsby's goal: to court Daisy
Gatsby throws lavish parties for the upper social class, but doesn't even know many of the guests
Gatsby is fooled into thinking he is popular
His attempt to please everyone is futile and he ends up a sad and lonely man

Your essay should include the following parts:
If you were an SAT grader, what would be one solid way to tell if a student is knowledgeable or note?


Vocabulary
idea/notion, presupposition, premise
example/archetype, paradigm, paragon
statement/assertion
bad thing/vice, depravity
good thing/virtue
narrow view/dogmatic view, provincial view
to create/to engender, to breed
harmful/deleterious
absolute/categorical
idealistic/romantic
poor/impoverished, destitute
generous/philanthropic, altruistic
On the SAT, it's about quantity more than quality!

You need to fill up both blank pages for the SAT essay.

Graders may not know you personally, but they do know that smarter students usually have more to say.

A grader will almost always score two pages of writing higher than one page.
Strategy 5 - Brainstorm an outline
You need a road map to serve as a guide so you don't get writer's block.

Your brainstorm consists of your position (thesis), your examples, and a few words about how each example relates to your thesis. Here is an example:

Position: NO
Ex. 1 World War II - concentration camps, Holocaust, closed-door policy should have been lifted, few gov. officials knew of atrocities taking place.
Ex. 2 North Korea - Kim Jung II, insurgents with video cameras need to get information of mayhem onto internet but gov. doesn't allow
Ex. 3 Scarlet Letter - Dimmesdale destroys his well-being, secretiveness eats him alive, goes crazy, hallucinates vs. Hester who confessed and is living well even through confined

A simple phrase allows you to start a train of thought, elaborate on ideas, and fill in details. Phrases in your outline should trigger details in your mind. Keep your ideas and facts on paper, not in your head!
Strategy 6 - Relate topic sentences to your thesis
The topic sentence of each body paragraph needs to introduce your example and relate it to your thesis. Many students make the mistake of starting a body paragraph by summarizing the example.

Topic sentences need to immediately connect your example to your thesis. Here are the three topic sentences that connect to the thesis:

Dimmesdale's lack of confession and secretiveness drive him to insanity and show how privacy is a vice in the Scarlet Letter.

Another paradigm that prominently displays the detrimental effects of privacy is the lack of knowledge America has about the Holocaust while it was taking place.

A situation that parallels that of World War II and shows negative effects of privacy is the current condition of North Korea.


Spend less time explaining what the example is about - and more time explaining how the example supports your thesis.

Restating your thesis in different words is not redundant. Connecting examples to your thesis actually makes your SAT essay coherent. You should also refer to the thesis one more time in each body paragraph (usually as a wrap up sentence).

HISTORY

Event/character: American neutrality and Woodrow Wilson

Time period: WWI/early part of the twentieth century

Key facts:
Many criticized America for staying neutral during the majority of WWI
Woodrow Wilson stuck to the tenet established by George Washington in the War of 1812 that America should stay out of foreign wars.
Wilson made a "Proclamation of Neutrality" in what was called "the war to end all wars."
Many activists protested Wilson's proclamation and he was critisized harshly.
Woodrow Wilson stood his ground and did not concern himself with trivial opponents, and in the end was successful . . . because Germany and Allies bought supplies from us.
Composition notebook entries
Composition notebook entries
CURRENT EVENTS

Event: Creation of more efficient energy sources in the resource expending society we live in.

Key facts:
Beyond Petroleum (BP) is creating photovoltaic cells that will change the way society is run.
World's petroleum supply is estimated to run out in 40 years.
However, with hydrogen and solar-powered machinery, we may be able to save some of that petroleum for longer.
Brazil, one of the most populous counties in the world, is beginning to run cars on ethanol, an extract from corn.
Reusable energy benefits the environment and preserves petroleum supplies.
Britain is another country that is beginning to have cars that run on ethanol + gas.
Strategy 10 - Build essay templates
Introduction template

"The presupposition that (topic) is false/a categorical truth. Although some advocates of (side you are against) would argue that (what opponents would say), these romantic critics are too dogmatic in their provincial ideology. (Add a general sentence regarding the topic here) Three prominent archetypes that exemplify how (side you believe in) are (example 1, example 2, and example 3)

Topic sentence template

Set in early/middle/late part of the ()the century, (example) illustrates how (restatement of thesis).

Another paradigm that prominently displays (restatement of thesis) is (example).

Yet another archetype of (restatement of thesis) is established in (example).

Conclusion template

In summation, the notion that (side you are against) is a fallacy that will often end in failure. It is only by (restatement of thesis) that one/society can achieve success/happiness.
Extra essay tips
The strategies for the multiple-choice section (later) contain principles that can improve your own writing (using parallelism, avoiding unidentified pronouns, and transitioning correctly)
When citing literary works, put the author's name before the title of the work
When referring to time periods cite the century
Don't skip lines between paragraphs
Don't erase; just cross out a word or sentence
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