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Rebekah Hendershot

Rebekah Hendershot

Essay Basics

Slide Duration:

Table of Contents

I. The Essay
Essay Basics

14m 46s

Introduction
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:07
What Is An Essay?
0:28
Essayer = To Try, To Attempt
0:31
An Essay is An Attempt to Explain a Thought in Writing
0:44
Why Does the SAT Ask for an Essay?
1:11
Designed to Test Your Readiness for College
1:19
Also Tests Your Ability to Think on Your Feet and Express Your Thoughts Clearly
1:34
What They're Looking For
2:05
Good Writing
2:11
Good Content
2:57
The Prompt
3:35
Always the Same Form: An Excerpt Following By a Question
3:37
Sample Prompt
3:58
Essay Scoring
5:22
Two Readers Read Each Essay and Score It on A Scale from 1-6
5:51
Essay Readers Are Encouraged to be Forgiving and to Reward Students for Writing Well
6:16
Essay Readers Are Trained to Ignore Handwriting
6:34
Essay Scoring: 6
6:46
Essay Scoring: 5
7:42
Essay Scoring: 4
8:20
Essay Scoring: 3
9:03
Essay Scoring: 2
10:18
Essay Scoring: 1
11:19
Essay Scoring: 0
12:15
Tips for a Better Essay
12:25
Outline Before You Write
12:39
Use a Variety of Examples
12:56
Use Abstract and Concrete Nouns
13:49
The Essay Prompt

8m 6s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:07
The Prompt
0:28
Always the Same Form: An Excerpt Following By a Question
0:30
Sample Prompt
0:47
Why the Prompt is Horrible
1:30
No Opportunity to Prepare Before the Test
1:34
Timed Conditions
1:46
Your SAT Essay is a First Draft
2:03
Why the Prompt is Awesome
2:23
The Prompt Explains the Excerpt For You
2:27
Prompt Asks the Same Question in Two Ways
2:58
It's the First Section of the SAT
3:09
Readers Know This is Your First Draft
3:28
There is No Wrong Answer and No Penalty for Guessing
3:38
Three Ways to Answer the Prompt
3:55
Agree
4:08
Disagree
4:11
In the Middle - Scarecrow
4:14
Yes
4:18
No
4:47
Scarecrow
5:22
Tips for Acing the Prompt
6:31
Make Sure You Answer the Question You Were Asked
6:36
Pay Attention to the Language Used in the Excerpt
6:43
Outlining Your Essay

12m 20s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:09
Why Outline?
0:29
A Good Outline is Like a Road Map
0:58
An Outline Lets You Arrange Your Examples in the Best Possible Order
1:11
Outlining Helps You Remember Your Examples
1:26
Outlining Method 1: The Formal Outline
1:54
Outlining Method 2: The Informal Outline
4:35
Outlining in Action, Example 1
5:26
Thesis
6:17
Example 2
8:43
Outlining Tips
10:44
Read the Prompt Carefully
10:51
Practice Outlining
11:06
Don't Waste Time with Complete Sentences
11:39
Choose Examples That Can Be Jotted Down in a Few Words
11:50
Make Sure Your Outline Aligns with Yes/No/Scarecrow
12:07
II. Grammar
Grammar Errors: Part 1

19m 49s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:09
Verbs
0:32
Subject-Verb Agreement
0:46
Issues With verb Tense
0:49
Singular Subjects take Singular Verbs
0:52
Examples
1:35
Collective Nouns Are Singular
2:47
Gerunds As Subjects Are Singular
3:20
Examples
3:31
Verb Tense Should Remain Consistent
4:32
Example
6:05
The SAT Likes to Switch Would and Will
6:33
Example
6:58
The SAT Likes to Switch Gerunds
7:22
Example
7:38
Pronouns
8:33
All Pronouns Must Agree with Their Antecedents in Number and Gender
8:35
Example
8:46
If a Sentence Uses 'One' or 'You' to Describe an Undetermined Person, It Must Not Switch Between the Two Terms
9:55
Example
10:16
Pay Attention to a Pronoun's Case
10:52
Examples
11:21
Adjectives vs. Adverbs
12:31
Adjectives Modify Nouns or Pronouns
12:40
Examples
13:17
Parallel Structure: Lists
14:26
When a Sentence Contains a List or Series of Items, Each Item Should Appear in the Format
14:37
Examples
14:47
Word Pairs
15:38
Correlative Conjunctions Are Always Paired Up a Certain Way
15:41
Example List of Words
15:53
Example Sentences
16:15
For Extra Grammar Help
19:16
Grammar Errors: Part 2

11m 2s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:09
Noun Agreement
0:31
Nouns Must Agree In Number When They Are Connected with Other Nouns By a Linking Verb
0:34
Example
1:07
Comparatives vs. Superlatives
1:46
Comparatives
1:53
Superlatives
2:05
Examples
2:20
Relative Pronouns
3:04
Who vs. Whom
3:10
Example
3:23
Which vs. That
3:47
Examples
4:18
Where vs. Which
4:59
Examples
5:14
Double Negatives / Double Positives
5:53
Don't Use More or Most with the Comparative or Superlative Form of an Adjective
6:16
Examples
6:29
Conjunctions
7:02
Continuers
7:10
Contradictors
7:23
Example
7:44
Cause-and-Effect Conjunctions
8:23
Example
8:37
Only One Conjunction Is Usually Necessary to Connect Two Clauses
8:58
Example
9:14
Redundancy
9:44
The SAT Occasionally Includes Redundant Phrases in Sentence
9:49
Example
10:06
For Extra Grammar Help
10:34
Grammar Errors: Part 3

12m 19s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:09
Sentence Fragments
0:28
A Sentence Must Contain Both a Subject and Verb
0:33
Example
0:59
Commas and Semicolons
1:25
Independent Clauses Are Clauses That Contain a Subject and Verb
1:33
To Join Independent Clauses, Use a Comma and A Coordinating Conjunction
1:41
Example
2:15
To Join Independent Clauses, Use a Semicolon Only
2:31
To Join Independent Clauses, Use a Semicolon and a Conjunctive Adverb
3:05
Example
3:19
To Join Independent Clauses, Review
3:42
Passive Voice
4:10
Active Construction
4:17
Passive Construction
4:21
Example
4:46
Sometimes the Passive Voice is Necessary to Correct a More Serious Error
5:23
Examples
5:35
Modifiers
6:47
Dangling Modifier
7:02
Example
7:13
Misplaced Modifiers
7:54
Example
8:15
Parallel Phrases
9:05
Conjunctions or Comparisons Must involve Elements Phrased in Parallel Ways
9:17
Example
9:25
The Subjunctive
10:07
Used to Express Needs, Requests, Suggestions, ad Hypothetical Situations
10:13
Major Distinction Between the Subjunctive Mood and Indicative Mood
10:46
Example
11:11
For Extra Grammar Help
11:45
III. Practice Test
Answer Guide: Section 1 (Essay)

27m 48s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:14
The Prompt
1:07
Assignment
1:35
Outline
2:18
Essay
6:03
Answer Guide: Section 5 (Writing)

17m 23s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:11
Sentence Improvement
0:35
Question 1
0:36
Question 2
1:09
Question 3
1:55
Question 4
2:35
Question 5
2:50
Question 6
3:48
Question 7
4:20
Question 8
5:06
Question 9
5:44
Question 10
6:36
Question 11
7:10
Error Identification
7:36
Question 12
7:48
Question 13
8:09
Question 14
8:21
Question 15
8:48
Question 16
9:12
Question 17
9:29
Question 18
9:53
Question 19
10:06
Question 20
10:43
Question 21
10:54
Question 22
11:03
Question 23
11:52
Question 24
12:00
Question 25
12:25
Question 26
13:03
Question 27
13:25
Question 28
13:52
Question 29
14:19
Paragraph Improvement
14:40
Question 30
14:41
Question 31
15:02
Question 32
15:36
Question 33
15:58
Question 34
16:20
Question 35
16:52
Answer Guide: Section 10 (Writing)

8m 36s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:11
Sentence Improvement
0:28
Question 1
0:29
Question 2
1:07
Question 3
1:30
Question 4
1:49
Question 5
2:26
Question 6
3:22
Question 7
3:57
Question 8
4:30
Question 9
5:13
Question 10
5:51
Question 11
6:24
Question 12
6:53
Question 13
7:16
Question 14
7:51
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For more information, please see full course syllabus of SAT Writing
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Lecture Comments (3)

0 answers

Post by Prakash Dhage on January 2, 2017

Hello Professor,

I hope you are doing well.

Is this essay course on Educator.com applicable for New SAT Essay prep?
What is the difference between Old SAT Essay and New SAT Essay?
Please suggest me of any good reference material/books for many essay compilations for New SAT and for College applications.

Thank you

1 answer

Last reply by: John Stedge
Wed Aug 2, 2017 11:43 AM

Post by nehemiah washington on March 27, 2014

Hi Professor Hendershot,
My copy of The Crazy Years arrived today, and already I have a question. One page 1 "Introduction" the author has a 2 sentence paragraph. When are those okay to use? By those, I mean a paragraph that consist of only 2 sentences.

Thank you,
N

Essay Basics

  • What is an Essay?
    • The word “essay” comes from the French word essayer, meaning “to try” or “to attempt.”
    • The term was coined by the French writer Michel de Montaigne to describe his “attempts” to put his thoughts into writing.
    • An essay, therefore, is an attempt to explain a thought in writing–anythought. Like a short story, it is tightly focused and can be read at a single sitting.
  • Why Does the SAT Ask for an Essay?
    • The SAT is designed to test your readiness for college. Writing is an important college skill.
    • The essay also tests your ability to think on your feet and express your thoughts clearly, even under stress.
    • The essay also gives you a chance to demonstrate your academic ability outside of the multiple-choice format.
  • What They’re Looking For
    • First and foremost, SAT essay readers are looking for good writing:
      • Varied and appropriate vocabulary
      • Good spelling, grammar, and syntax
      • Strong organization
      • Varied sentence structure
      • Clear focus on the topic at hand
      • Smooth progression of ideas
    • Secondly (and still quite importantly), SAT readers are looking for good content:
    • A clear point of view on the issue
    • Strong critical thinking
    • Appropriate examples, reasons, and evidence
  • The Prompt
    • The SAT essay prompt always takes the same form: an excerpt followed by a question asking your opinion on the main idea of the excerpt.
  • Essay Scoring
    • Your essay will be read by a trained SAT reader (usually a high-school or college instructor) who will not see your name or any other identifying information.
    • Two readers read each essay and score it on a scale from 1 to 6. Their combined scores make up your essay score for a maximum of 12.
    • Essay readers are encouraged to be forgiving and to reward students for writing well rather than punish them for writing poorly. They know these essays are first drafts, written by high-school students under a time limit.
    • Essay readers are trained to ignore handwriting and avoid judging an essay by its length, although neat writing and a not-too-short essay always make a better impression than a short, messy submission.
  • Essay Score: 6
    • An essay in this category demonstrates clear and consistent mastery, although it may have a few minor errors. A typical essay:
    • effectively and insightfully develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates outstanding critical thinking, using clearly appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position
    • is well organized and clearly focused, demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas
    • exhibits skillful use of language, using a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary
    • demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure is free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Essay Score: 5
    • An essay in this category demonstrates reasonably consistent mastery, although it will have occasional errors or lapses in quality. A typical essay:
      • effectively develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates strong critical thinking, generally using appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position
      • is well-organized and focused, demonstrating coherence and progression of ideas
      • exhibits facility in the use of language, using appropriate vocabulary
      • demonstrates variety in sentence structure
      • is generally free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Essay Score: 4
    • An essay in this category demonstrates adequate mastery, although it will have lapses in quality. A typical essay:
      • develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates competent critical thinking, using adequate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position
      • is generally organized and focused, demonstrating some coherence and progression of ideas
      • exhibits adequate but inconsistent facility in the use of language, using generally appropriate vocabulary
      • demonstrates some variety in sentence structure
      • has some errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Essay Score: 3
    • An essay in this category demonstrates developing mastery and is marked by one or more weaknesses:
    • develops a point of view on the issue, demonstrating some critical thinking, but may do so inconsistently or use inadequate examples, reasons, or other evidence to support its position
    • is limited in its organization or focus, or may demonstrate some lapses in coherence or progression of ideas
    • displays developing facility in the use of language, but sometimes uses weak vocabulary or inappropriate word choice
    • lacks variety or demonstrates problems in sentence structure
    • contains an accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Essay Score: 2
    • An essay in this category demonstrates little mastery and is and is flawed by one or more of the following weaknesses:
      • develops a point of view that is vague or seriously limited; demonstrates weak critical thinking, providing inappropriate or insufficient examples, reasons, or other evidence to support its position
      • is poorly organized/focused, or demonstrates serious problems with coherence or progression of ideas
      • displays very little facility in use of language, using very limited vocabulary or incorrect word choice
      • demonstrates frequent problems in sentence structure
      • contains errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics so serious that meaning is somewhat obscured
  • Essay Score: 1
    • An essay in this category demonstrates very little or no mastery and is severely flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:
      • develops no viable point of view on the issue, or provides little or no evidence to support its position
      • is disorganized or unfocused, resulting in a disjointed or incoherent essay
      • displays fundamental errors in vocabulary
      • demonstrates severe flaws in sentence structure
      • contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that persistently interfere with meaning
  • Essay Score: 0
    • Essays not written on the essay assignment will receive a score of zero.
  • Tips for a Better Essay
    • Read the prompt carefully, and make sure you write about the topic given.
    • Outline before you write.
    • Use a variety of examples from different fields–literature, history, personal experience, etc. If one example falls flat, another can rescue your essay.
    • Vary your sentence structure.
    • Use clear, precise, and appropriate vocabulary.
    • Use action verbs.
    • Use both abstract and concrete nouns.
    • Review your writing after you’re done, and don’t be afraid to make small changes.
  • Recommended supplementary material to view SAT questions featured in lesson answer guides: The Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board.

Essay Basics

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.

  • Introduction 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:07
  • What Is An Essay? 0:28
    • Essayer = To Try, To Attempt
    • An Essay is An Attempt to Explain a Thought in Writing
  • Why Does the SAT Ask for an Essay? 1:11
    • Designed to Test Your Readiness for College
    • Also Tests Your Ability to Think on Your Feet and Express Your Thoughts Clearly
  • What They're Looking For 2:05
    • Good Writing
    • Good Content
  • The Prompt 3:35
    • Always the Same Form: An Excerpt Following By a Question
    • Sample Prompt
  • Essay Scoring 5:22
    • Two Readers Read Each Essay and Score It on A Scale from 1-6
    • Essay Readers Are Encouraged to be Forgiving and to Reward Students for Writing Well
    • Essay Readers Are Trained to Ignore Handwriting
  • Essay Scoring: 6 6:46
  • Essay Scoring: 5 7:42
  • Essay Scoring: 4 8:20
  • Essay Scoring: 3 9:03
  • Essay Scoring: 2 10:18
  • Essay Scoring: 1 11:19
  • Essay Scoring: 0 12:15
  • Tips for a Better Essay 12:25
    • Outline Before You Write
    • Use a Variety of Examples
    • Use Abstract and Concrete Nouns
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