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3.1: Introduction to the Writing Section

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

The SAT allots \begin{align*}60 \ \text{minutes}\end{align*} in total for the writing section. The writing section of the SAT consists of an essay and three types of multiple-choice questions:

  1. The Essay
  2. Identifying the Error
  3. Improving Sentences
  4. Improving Paragraphs

You have \begin{align*}25 \ \text{minutes}\end{align*} for the essay, and two sections are split between \begin{align*}25\end{align*} (35 questions) and \begin{align*}10 \ \text{minutes}\end{align*} (14 questions).

In total, the writing section consists of \begin{align*}73\end{align*} raw marks that are used to determine your scaled score of \begin{align*}200-800\end{align*} points. The essay accounts for \begin{align*}24\end{align*} points (practically a third of your writing score), and the remaining \begin{align*}49\end{align*} points are decided by the three multiple choice sections. Here is the distribution of raw marks:

  1. The Essay (\begin{align*}24\end{align*} raw marks; two scorers provide a score between \begin{align*}1-6\end{align*} and this sum is doubled)
  2. Identifying the Error (\begin{align*}18\end{align*} raw marks)
  3. Improving Sentences (\begin{align*}25\end{align*} raw marks)
  4. Improving Paragraphs (\begin{align*}6\end{align*} raw marks)

You can see how important each type of writing question is; however, you want to earn the maximum points possible and not pick and choose your favorite problems!

(For the remaining lessons in SAT writing and hundreds of practice questions, please visit INeedAPencil.com. In the meantime, complete the following 10 questions to get a sense for your performance in this subject.)

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jul 07, 2015
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