Teaching Strategies to Prepare for the SAT Essay

Today on TeachHUB.com, frequent contributing writer Jacqui Murray – a seasoned tech teacher based in Northern California – tackles a tricky issue for many educators (and parents) this time of year: the SAT test, specifically the essay portion.

Jacqui start out by mentioning the teaching strategies that most of us are familiar with when preparing for this fear0inducing test, mainly:
  • Practice good writing with every school essay students write.
  • Use academic-specific vocabulary whenever possible.
  • Take practice tests.
  • Read a lot -- and let that inform your writing.
But in the main thrust of today’s article, Jacqui points out three different teaching strategies in the form of software (and apps) that teachers and parents can utilize to prepare for the essay section. These three are:

  • Khan Academy -- work on the students' unique writing problems experienced in their PSAT or earlier SATs.
  • Revision Assistant -- practice writing over a long term and receive targeted feedback to improve skill.
  • Mindsnacks SAT vocabulary -- develop depth in academic vocabulary that improves not only student writing but their understanding of what they're reading.

Here’s how Jacqui summates her look at Khan Academy’s SAT Reading and Writing Practice:

Khan Academy can also access prior student SAT and PSAT scores (with student permission), find the weak areas, and create a personalized plan for addressing those. If students haven't yet taken the PSAT/SAT, KA will put them through a detailed assessment, rank their skills, and then provide videos and exercise to drill the weakest subjects. As their mastery increases, so too does the difficulty level. As with many Khan Academy programs, this one is student-directed, student-driven, scalable to varied needs, and easily differentiated for student learning style.”

What other teaching strategies would you recommend to practice for the SAT Essay portion? Let us know in the comment section!