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10/12 Essay. How can I improve to score 12/12?

Discussion in 'Exam HQ' started by jefgreen, Apr 26, 2010.

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  1. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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  2. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    Any help?
  3. Manbean2

    Manbean2

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    The main thing I noticed was your use of the first person and second person. In my AP english class we always learned to use only the third person, as it makes the essay more formal. But it sounds like this essay probably forced you to use first person, so this is an exception. At the end, however, you switched from first person to second person, which is not a good thing to do. You should always stick with one tense throughout the paper.

    Another minor thing that can improve your formality is to not use contractions. "Weren't" should be "were not" just for an example. It just makes it sound more formal, and that's something I always do in my essays.

    That's all I have. Also keep in mind that I'm your peer, and I'm not the best writer myself yet. Just sharing what I learned from AP English III, in which I changed from writing 3's at the beginning of the year to consistently getting 7-8's now before the AP exam.

    Good essay by the way, I myself also got a 10. Best of luck when you retake.:cool:
  4. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    Thank you and thank you :).
  5. schrizto

    schrizto

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    On the essay portion of the SAT, the grammar isn't the main concern (that's tested enough in the MC sections), it's the strength of the examples.

    Though you didn't post the prompt, it sounds like it's asking if it's a good thing to learn about the flaws of respected people. If that was the question, then your first example of the doctor is irrelevant, because what is the character flaw in choosing to the cross the border illegally? Just because an action is illegal doesn't mean it's wrong. Also, the way the term "necessary evil" is used in the essay is off. A necessary evil is something that is unpleasant but is still needed, but that doesn't sound like your attitude towards education in the essay.
  6. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    To be honest, all I did was jot down whatever came into my head. This essay is from June 2009.
  7. engineerhead

    engineerhead Elite Member

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    The first things I noticed were the unnecessarily extended loops on your y's and g's. Focus more on writing and less on calligraphy.
  8. aidama

    aidama

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    Because this is great, constructive advice the OP can use to improve his essays? It's not really about grammatical mistakes, as someone else said, it's about the quality of your examples and the support you give to the examples. Thus, the most important thing to do is always, always, always make an outline. If all you did was jot down things that came to your head you won't be making a 12/12. Trust me.

    IIRC when I took the exam there was a limit to how many grammatical and spelling errors you could have to make that perfect score. Don't use first person and don't use contractions even if the prompt seems like it wants you to.

    TL;DR, always go in with a gameplan and spend 5 minutes planning an attack. If you didn't do this on this essay, do it on the next one, and see what you end up with.
  9. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    Thank you.
  10. gotmilklol

    gotmilklol High Skooler

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    Jeff aren't you done with school?
  11. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    Yes, but I want to retake the exam this fall to obtain a higher score. The score I originally received was good, but I can do better. Moreover, I plan to transfer , and the bulk of the universities I will be applying to require applicants to submit SAT scores.
  12. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    I retrospect, my reviewers were actually pretty lenient with the grading of my essay; I don't believe I should have received a 10/12 because of the following reasons:

    • First person: In academic writing, you should avoid using the first person, unless the paper calls for it. I used words such as "my", which should have cost me points.
    • Contractions: I probably used (I don't have the essay directly in front of me at the moment) a few contractions, which, again, should have cost me points as well.
  13. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    Good lord, I used the word "we," as well. :(
  14. aidama

    aidama

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    I disagree. Remember the point is that your essay is coherent and effectively answers the prompt. Your examples are the most important part of the whole essay, (secondarily your thesis statement)*. Were they good ones? Did you provide enough support? Graders understand that you are under a timed situation and may make spelling errors, might use contractions, etc. A perfect score can have errors. Again, the point is that they are not gross, repetitive errors that seriously detract from the essay.

    The same goes from the MCAT. Or any essay. Your examples will make or break your score.

    *I say secondarily thesis statement because your thesis provides the basis for your examples. But if you have a sub-par thesis but support it well you've done above average work.
  15. aidama

    aidama

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    I disagree. Remember the point is that your essay is coherent and effectively answers the prompt. Your examples are the most important part of the whole essay, (secondarily your thesis statement). I say secondarily thesis statement because your thesis provides the basis for your examples. But if you have a sub-par thesis but support it well you've done above average work.

    Outline your examples. Were they good ones? Did you provide enough support? Graders understand that you are under a timed situation and may make spelling errors, might use contractions, etc. A perfect score can have errors. Again, the point is that they are not gross, repetitive errors that seriously detract from the essay. The same goes from the MCAT. Your examples will make or break your score.

    I was going to make some comments on the way you've written things, but I don't think it's important. Your examples aren't that great. It's been a long time since I've hand-written an essay. In retrospect, thinking about my scores, I made 5's on both AP's, and an 800 on the SAT II writing (I wish I was as good at Physics as I apparently am in English) and I'm fairly sure none of them were particularly well written with flawless use of language and awesome sentence structure. It's really hard to do post-editing on a written essay. "Oh, I should have said it this way...." is not helpful information.

    TL;DR: Examples examples examples. Outline outline more better examples :D:D
  16. jefgreen

    jefgreen If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    I understand, but my essay included terms such as "we" and "I." In short, I don't feel that I deserved the score that was given to my above essay...

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