The College Board has stated for the record that the essays for free two people grading your essay have only three minutes to determine your score.
D) Each grader assigns your essay a score between 1 and 6. Those scores are combined for a maximum grade of 12. Each point counts for 2.5% of your overall Writing Section score. Many self-appointed “experts” imply that it’s critical to score a 12 on your essay. Hogwash! A 10 is enough to do well on the Writing Section. This relieves a bit of the pressure of taking the SAT exam. You want to earn at least 5s from the graders. How can this be done?
E) In the scant three minutes graders have to evaluate your SAT Essay, they try to determine if you understood the theme contained in the question; if your answer to the question related to that theme, and if the statements supporting your answer seemed plausible and relevant. It is my contention that the key to receiving a combined score of 10 is to write an essay that the graders can read easily. You do this by answering the question in the first sentence and then presenting reasons supporting that answer in a systematic manner. Following this format makes your essay seem logical and persuasive. Only in the final 30 seconds do graders evaluate the quality of your statements. Let’s suppose your essay is rather bland, supporting your answer with statements lacking specific detail, and providing no special insight. Probably it wouldn’t merit a score of 6 from each grader. However, after wading through disorganized essays full of muddled reasoning, the graders will welcome the clarity with which you presented your ideas and each should reward your essay with a score of 5.
Rodney Daut’s e-book The SAT Essay Formula provides more information about how to write a successful SAT Essay than you’d ever want to know. It can be downloaded from his website http://www.sat-essay.net. Having purchased and read his 87-page book, I found the last 17 pages most instructive. Titled “SAT Scoring Policies of the top 374 Schools,” they revealed that only 1 college (Loyola) gives the SAT Writing Section “more weight” than the Math or the Critical Thinking sections. Only 54 schools give the Writing Section “equal weight”. All the rest give it “less weight,” “no weight,” or else were “undecided.” Moral of the story: most colleges have limited expectations about the value of a 25 minute essay as an indicator of a student’s true academic potential. So relax. Answer the question and keep your statements simple. Put your watch on the desk where you can see it to ensure that you complete your SAT Essay within the allotted 25 minutes.