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 the essay section on the SAT
Last week, I outlined strategies for you to use in the essay that involve your own experiences and observations, mainly on the tennis court. This week, let’s look at themes from literature that you can incorporate into your essay.The best way to get started is to make a list of everything you can remember reading, at school or at home. Divide the titles into two main sections: novels/short stories and drama. You can also add poetry. This will help you classify the titles. A typical list for a grade 11 or 12 student might look like this:
There are of course, many other titles. This is just a sample.
Next step – identify the main theme(s) in each of the works on your list. For instance, in The Scarlet Letter, hypocrisy is one of the main themes. In the Great Gatsby, you encounter shallowness and betrayal, in Macbeth, greed. Once you have identified these main themes, choose three that you feel you know best and start to develop them. That will be more than enough to apply to almost any of the essay questions. Next week we’ll look at ways to apply the themes in literature to some of the essay topics from actual SAT’s. Hold your breath!