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The Essay

Writing essays for standardized exams can raise anxieties in people who are poised when answering other kinds of test questions. Perhaps this is because critical and creative skills are being tested and evaluated in a more subjective manner than they are within the objective multiple-choice format. Performance anxiety can lead to a host of problems, from having a difficult time understanding exactly what is being asked to having debilitating uncertainties about how to begin an answer.
The best way to reduce such anxieties, and therefore increase your chance of obtaining a top-half score, is through rehearsal, which encompasses four activities that need to take place before taking the SAT:
  1. Understanding the writing tasks
  2. Knowing what the evaluators expect to find in top-half essays
  3. Anticipating an organizational scheme for the essay
  4. Practicing by writing an essay in response to at least one practice question in this book
Having completed these four steps, you will be in an excellent position to approach the Essay with confidence and competency.
As we have mentioned, the mechanics of your essay will not play as large a role in your score as usage and topic development; however, using proper mechanics will go a long way in making a positive impression on your scorer. Following is a good review of some of the basic rules that govern punctuation. Keeping these rules fresh in your mind will help you write a clear, coherent essay.

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