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We’ve got good news and bad news for those of you who are determined to score an 8/8/8 on the SAT essay.
We’ve marked the differences between the 3 and 4 criteria in bold.
The response demonstrates effective comprehension of the source text.
Sometimes you might find the author's argument to analyze harder than others, or sometimes you might find the article more difficult to get through, but you will always be able to impress them enough to get a 6/6/6.
No college worth its salt is going to base your college admissions decision on getting those last two points on an essay you had 50 minutes to write (especially when the essay is optional).
The SAT Essay is scored separately from the rest of the SAT now, thanks to the changes that went into effect in March 2016.
While the essay is now optional (you don't automatically have to take it every time you take the SAT), some colleges still require students to submit SAT essay scores with their applications.The response shows an understanding of the text’s central idea(s) and of most important details and how they interrelate, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the text.The response is free of errors of fact or interpretation with regard to the text.You'll need to use precise language to show mastery of English writing.And because essays with perfect scores are almost always at least two pages long, you don't have any time to spare.The response focuses primarily on those features of the text that are most relevant to addressing the task.The response offers an insightful analysis of the source text and demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the analytical task.If you trip up on your execution of any of these aspects, the graders might not give your SAT essay an 8/8/8.Because the essay is so formulaic, it's always possible to get a 6 across the board.If we asked the College Board what the difference is between a 6 and an 8 SAT essay, they would direct us to the scoring rubric that shows the criteria for a 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Reading, Analysis, and Writing.(SAT essays are scored by two graders who each rate your essay on a scale of 1-4 in Reading, Analysis, and Writing; the two graders' scores are added together to get scores out of 8 for each domain.) Below, we've excerpted the criteria for a 3 and a 4 in all three domains and described the differences between the 3 and 4 score levels for Reading, Analysis, and Writing.