Below are tips from St. Albans School math teacher Linda DeBord. In her SAT-prep program, students compose two to five essays under test conditions, which Mrs. DeBord then assesses and scores.
"Learning to outline and write an essay under pressure was invaluable," said one student. "The corrected essays were also helpful, as we learned from our mistakes."
Of course a student should briefly outline the essay before writing. "In the brief 25 minutes, the up-front planning is critical," says Mrs. DeBord, "but the students need to keep a careful eye on the time.
"I suggest that in the opening paragraph, after they state their thesis, they should mention two examples they will use. The examples should be clear in their relationship in supporting the thesis.
"The conclusion should restate, in an interesting way (if possible), the thesis and then re-tie in the examples."
So, the structure of the essay goes pretty much --
- State thesis
- Preview two supporting examples
- Elaborate thesis
- Flesh out examples
a) restate thesis (interesting way)
b) re-tie in the examples