The Essay – Part 1
The essay is one of the easiest places to pick up points on the SAT. Most students have no idea what SAT graders are looking for. Here is the grading rubric for a perfect score of 6 on the essay: An essay in this category demonstrates clear and consistent mastery, although it may have a few minor errors. A typical essay: • • • • • Effectively and insightfully develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates outstanding critical thinking, using clearly appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position. Is well organized and clearly focused, demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas Exhibits skillful use of language, using a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary Demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure Is free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.
Of these areas, the two that you can improve the most between now and the SAT are “using clearly appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support your position” and writing “well organized” essay. Before we take a look at these areas, let’s read three sample essays: Think carefully about the issue presented in the following except and the assignment below. Honesty is important, of course, but deception can actually make it easer for people to get along. In a recent study, for example, one out of every four of the lies told by participants was told solely for the benefit of another person. IN fact, most lies are harmless social untruths in which people pretend to like someone or something more than they actually do (“Your muffins are the best!”). Adapted from Allison Kornet, “The Truth About Lying” Assignment: Is deception ever justified? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience or observation.
This essay scored 2 out of 6: In the late seventeen hundreds, the American colonies had entered a war for independence against the oppression of King George III. General George Washington, leader of the American troops, employed a young man to infiltrate the British lines in order to determine their army’s position. The man was disguised as a school teacher and successfully penatrated the British lines. After completing his mission and giving Washington the upper hand, he was betrayed, captured and killed. Thanks to the many men who offered people. their lives and the cunning use of deception, American won that war for the freedom and liberty of her people. I agree that deception can sometimes be justified.
This essay scored 4 out of 6: The use of deception is usually thought of as a bad thing. But there are times when deception is justified. In the cases of Holden Caufield and Abigail Williams their use of deception is acceptable because of the situations in which they are placed. The main character of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, is Holden Caufield. Holden is a depressed character that the ends up going crazy. In the weekend that the book takes place, Holden is constantly using deception. He pretends to be older and more sophisticated then he really is. This is appropriate for him because he is trying to feel accepted in the predominantly adult atmosphere that he puts himself into. Holden wants to be smarter and better at everything than all the people he meets, so he acts that way. Even though Holden is using deception, he is using it to feel better about himself when he is at a very difficult part of his life. After being kicked out of four schools, having his brother die, and not having many friends Holdens use of deception is rightly justified. Another character from a book that uses deception is Abigail Williams from The Crucible. Abigail is a orphan child who has with stayed with many different families, none of which have liked her. Abigail is also in love with a man named John Proctor who does not love her back. Abigail uses...
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