Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

I never did extremely well on the SAT essay section. Don’t get me wrong; I was a boss at grammar, but for some reason the two essay graders didn’t much appreciate my writing style. And I don’t think this is a fault of the scorers or a fault in my writing style – I think it’s a fault in the SAT essay portion in itself.

So considering that it is very practical to do mediocre on the essay portion, kill the grammar section, and end up with an impressive overall writing score, here is what I would do if I had to write an SAT essay tomorrow: I’d throw out that terribly generalized prompt they always give you and make one of my own. The new prompt would be something along the lines of, “Explain where the SAT essay section is a poor measure of a student’s writing/creativity and additionally give an answer as to what this portion of the exam actually measures.”

        Where the essay section is a poor measure of a student’s ability:

  1. Scorers care less about a well-developed, meaningful answer to the generic question posed than they do about the series of examples you use in the essay. You can literally make up examples without it affecting your score.
  2. It doesn’t gauge how creatively you think, but how quickly you think and how quickly you put things down on paper. Remember: you only have 25 minutes. There’s no room for genuinely critical thinking.
  3. Facts don’t matter either. Once again, it comes down to writing as many words as possible onto the page in a 25 minute time span.

So what does the essay section actually measure? Well, it seems like it measures a student’s ability to make things up on the spot and string it all together in a semi-coherent, rubric-fulfilling manner which requires almost no critical thinking, no respect for factual evidence, and no editing or revising. If you’re good at talking a lot about what you have no idea of, then you’re set for success in the SAT essay portion. Regardless of the prompt, here is my hypothetical next SAT essay answer if I could take the test again. Oh, and keep in mind: since almost every school superscores these days, it genuinely does not matter if you throw away one of your potentially many attempts at the writing section with an answer like this. In fact, I’d love to see if it started gaining national attention if a lot of students started writing things along these lines.

Caution: The following arrangement of words resembles that of a satire.

Dear Scorer,

I know you only have about three minutes to skim this essay in an attempt to gauge my intellectual and critical thinking capacity, so I’ll to try to make it short. Truly, I know next to nothing about whatever generic prompt about love or relationships or death the college board has decided to insert into this month’s test – but I do that admitting that truth deserves more attention than the potentially made up “personal stories” and miscalled historical “facts” you will skim over in the following hours – so I think it’s a start.

Regardless, I think basing 1/9th of a student’s total SAT score on a section which measures one’s ability to bullsh*t is… well, it’s kind of bullsh*t. So instead of producing my own slew of unchecked, unfettered facts and stories, I figured I’d provide you with a list of other sources of BS which I found most amusing recently. Hope you enjoy!    

  1. If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it (shout out to Barack Obama).
  2. You’ll never get a job with a liberal arts degree.
  3. Kanye West referring to himself as a God – multiple times.
  4. Cynicism is bad for you (I think optimists are too cynical of cynics).
  5.  Santa Claus and Jesus were both undoubtedly white men (shout out to Megyn Kelly if you don’t get this reference).

Well, that’s a few paragraphs, a lot words for twenty five minutes worth of “critical thinking” and five notorious lines of bullsh*t. I think that puts me into the 10-12 score range, right? (The essay is graded on a 1-6 scale by two scorers). If not, I must be missing something. Uhh, Merry Christmas? Oh, sorry, Happy Holidays.

If you’re daring, give something like this a shot on your next take of the SAT. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up on the news or something grand like that.

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the author

Eric Aldieri is a junior at Villanova University double majoring in Philosophy and Humanities. You can contact him at or @ealdi94 .

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