Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Writing a Good Essay - Support

The first part of my articles on SAT test preparation for Essay writing focused on the importance of structure of an essay. Continuing on the journey, we will talk about the second aspect of writing a good essay. Test makers as well as graders are always on the lookout for an essay that presents statements that support the idea. Just as a skyscraper is built on a strong foundation, an essay is constructed on a solid support. Just writing an idea that is capturing is not enough; you need to support your idea.

The Wheel Theory

A wheel of a car has generally four spokes. Consider each spoke as a point of the essay outline. If you miss any spoke of the wheel, the car would not run properly. Hence, your essay should incorporate all four points in the best possible manner.

The first paragraph of your essay should support the main idea of thesis statement. A thesis statement expresses the main idea of the whole essay. A thesis statement is important as it gives you the direction to focus on the main idea, from beginning to the end.

How to create a powerful thesis statement? The best way to do this is to convert the essay prompt into a thesis statement. A well-written thesis statement would work like a wheel for the entire essay- all four factors would be covered. The starting sentences of the second to the fourth paragraph would support your thesis statement. It would be apt to say that the entire essay would try to support the thesis statement. There are two steps involved in converting a question prompt into a thesis statement:

Step1: Reading the prompt carefully
Step2: Using a firm statement to change the prompt.

Let me explain this with an example. Suppose the question prompt says- why do you like chocolates? You can use the thesis statement- I have a number of reasons to love chocolates. Thesis statements must be direct and focused. They should act like a wheel to frame the entire essay. They should be used to address a specific idea, in a clear way. Paragraph two should support the topic sentence. A topic statement directly states the focus, direction and purpose of a given paragraph. This kind of sentence is used to make the idea presented in the paragraph clear and concise.

A good essay would have one of the three types of support: Logical reasoning, examples from personal lives, and specific details. The topic sentence should include all the three types of support to get maximum score on the SAT Essay writing section. Paragraph three should support a different or opposite perspective. Again, it should begin with a topic sentence. In short, this paragraph would cover an altogether different perspective from the one discussed in the preceding paragraph. Why? This is because SAT essay graders look for more than one perspective on a particular topic.

Interestingly, students looking at a question from one perspective are unable to impress the test graders. Using multiple perspectives demonstrate a powerful thought process. SAT practice tests contain a number of essays on diverse topics. It is best to attempt those essays keeping in mind the Wheel Theory partially described in this article. The second part of this write-up would cover the remaining part of the Wheel Theory. Stay posted to learn the strategies to hone your writing skills for the SAT essay Writing Section.

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