Start explaining comma splices and dangling modifiers to a high school student and watch the eyes begin to roll! It’s not surprising that the typical eleventh grader balks at the idea of SAT grammar review. However, even a little prep can go a long way and offer a big return on investment!
On the revised SAT, the writing section is no longer a “third wheel” so to speak, in relation to the reading and math sections. Writing and Reading scores combine to form the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score. From a pedagogical standpoint, this composite score reflects the view that reading and writing skills are deeply connected. From a students’ perspective, though, the combined score means that the writing section matters!
SAT writing focuses on key rules of academic writing—principles of grammar, punctuation, and structure. The kind of clear, precise writing expected of college students. So, when students strengthen their SAT writing skills, they’re also investing in their future academic success.
Many high school students come to us with fairly rusty knowledge of grammar and punctuation. They may understand how to use commas, but don’t know the difference between colons and semi-colons and have never heard of the m-dash. For these students, SAT writing prep provides a relatively painless way to identify and fill these gaps.
It doesn’t much matter where students begin, either. Anybody can master the SAT writing section with purposeful instruction and practice. A few years ago, a senior from East Lyme High School came to us with a 390 in Writing (pre-2016 test). He planned to take the SAT again in a few weeks, so only had time for a few hours of tutoring. Still, this was enough to raise his writing score to 550, and more importantly, gain him access to his college of choice.