Written by: Helen Donohoe
***Helen Donohoe, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of English and French in the Hamilton/Burlington area. She holds practice SAT sessions on Saturdays on an informal, drop-in basis at Cedar Springs Racquet Club where she is a member, long-time tennis hacker and aficionado.
In this section of the website we will be publishing short paragraphs on various aspects of SAT. Please leave your questions/comments here, and Helen will be happy to respond to any specific concerns from students/parents***
STRATEGIES FOR ESSAY WRITING:
The essay is always the first section on the SAT and is always a debate-type topic. You have to be able to write coherent sentences (subject/verb/object), spell well, use varied vocabulary and express opinions in a fair and objective way. The essay asks you to draw upon/refer to examples from the following six categories:
literature, the arts, science and technology, history, current events, or your own experience or observations
Choosing three of these categories is sufficient to back up your thesis, argument or viewpoint. You are not expected to cover all six. Let’s start with the most obvious choice – your own experience or observations. As you are all tennis players, use tennis as your catalyst (your core, jumping off point.) Think of your own tennis experiences and then think of the players on the tour and whether your experiences are similar. If the essay topic is about censorship, you will have lots to write about – racquet abuse, profanity towards officials/other players. What do you think should be done in those situations? If the topic is honesty, you can write about your experiences with bad calls on the court and how you have handled them. That could lead to the challenge system (replay of dubious calls) at major tournaments and whether you think it is a practical innovation. How about an essay topic on the pros and cons of the internet? Is instant access to player statistics online a useful application or is it just too much information?
By sticking to a domain (a subject area) about which you are knowledgeable and familiar, you become much more confident, and the words will flow from pen to paper much more easily.
Part 2 of essay writing strategies will be about applying themes from literature. I bet you can’t wait!