In this lesson, our instructor Rebekah Hendershot goes through an introduction on outlining your essay. She discusses why you should outline, the formal outline method, the informal outlining method, and tips.
Its worth it to take a minute or two at the start of the essay period to think about the prompt and outline your response.
A good outline is like a road mapit shows you where youve been and where youre going. An outline keeps your essay from veering off-topic.
An outline lets you arrange your examples in the best possible order.
Outlining helps you remember your examples (yes, you really can forget your examples inside 25 minutes).
Method 1: The Formal Outline
In a formal outline (the kind you were probably taught in school), you divide your argument into points and subpoints, with lots of well-organized details.
Method 2: The Informal Outline
In an informal outline, you just jot down a word or two to remind you what you were going to say.
Outlining in Action
The prompt: Many people believe that our government should do more to solve our problems. After all, how can one individual create more jobs or make roads safer or improve the schools or help to provide any of the other benefits that we have come to enjoy? And yet expecting that the governmentrather than individualsshould always come up with the solutions to societys ills may have made us less self-reliant, undermining our independence and self-sufficiency.
Should people take more responsibility for solving problems that affect their communities or the nation in general? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
The prompt: There is, of course, no legitimate branch of science that enables us to predict the future accurately. Yet the degree of change in the world is so overwhelming and so promising that the future, I believe, is far brighter than anyone has contemplated since the end of the Second World War -Adapted from Goodman, A Brief History of the Future
Is the world changing for the better? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations
Thesis: The world is changing for the better unless we screw it up.
Intro: Yogi Berra
Improvements: Medicine, communications, human rights
Balance: listening to the better angels of our nature
Concl: Thou art God, and cannot decline the nomination
Read the prompt carefully. Make sure the question youre answering is the question you were asked.
Practice outlining ahead of time so you know what you need to write down in order to aid your own memory.
Go with your instincts. If an example springs immediately to mind, write it down. If its going to be on your mind for the next 25 minutes, you might as well use it.
Dont waste time with complete sentences.
Choose examples that can be jotted down in a few words. If its too complicated for a short note, its too complicated for a 25-minute essay.
Make sure your outline aligns with yes/no/scarecrow.
Recommended supplementary material to view SAT questions featured in lesson answer guides: The Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board.
Outlining Your Essay
Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.
Educator.com recommends The Official SAT Study Guide published by The College Board, the administrators of the actual SAT test. In it, you will find additional practice questions and a review of all subjects, along with 10 official SAT practice tests. Our instructors work through several of the practice tests in real time, going through their thought processes and test-taking tips.
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