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SAT Essay: Four Point Plan for Writing Powerful Body Paragraphs

Follow these four points to write a stunning essay on test day.

1. Write a topic sentence that gives a title to your example and explains what about your example will prove your dissertation.

For example in one essay a student wrote "One example that proves honesty is not always best is Gatsby's revelation to Tom of his affair with Daisy in the novel, The Great Gatsby by

F. Scott Fitzgerald."


The thesis was "Honesty is not always the best policy" and this is reflected in this topic sentence.

And yes, it's OK to repeat your thesis in your topic sentence.

The student also explained what in the example supports the thesis by saying that it is Gatsby telling Tom of his affair that supports the thesis.

2. Give the minimum background information needed to support your argument

For the second and third sentences the student wrote, "After Gatsby told Tom about his affair with Tom's wife Daisy, the two men began to fight over whom Daisy loved more. Daisy left the scene so upset that while driving away she accidentally ran over Mrs. Wilson."

These details are necessary for the logic given in the fourth sentence below to make sense.

3. Give the evidence and logic that shows how these details prove your thesis

The student wrote, "Had it not been for Gatsby's honesty with Tom, this tragic accident may never have occurred."

In this sentence the logic is very clear and you can see how the background given in the second and third sentences was necessary for this logic to work.

4. Conclude your paragraph by explaining how the information in the paragraph proved the thesis

The last sentence of this student's paragraph was a perfect example of this, "Thus, showing that at least on some occasions it is better to hide the truth than to reveal it."

The entire paragraph is quoted below:

"One example that proves honesty is not always best is Gatsby's revelation to Tom of his affair with Daisy in the novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. After Gatsby told Tom about his affair with Tom's wife Daisy, the two men began to fight over whom Daisy loved more. Daisy left the scene so upset that while driving away she accidentally ran over Mrs.

Wilson. Had it not been for Gatsby's honesty with Tom, this tragic accident may never have occurred. Thus, showing that at least on some occasions it is better to hide the truth than to reveal it."

Notice how easy it is to follow and how well organized the ideas are. This is exactly what SAT Essay graders are looking for.

This four point plan for writing good body paragraphs makes it much easier to organize your ideas on test day. And practicing this technique with example SAT Essay prompts will allow you to make this thinking process automatic so you can write with ease on test day.

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