Throughout society and in life… (Part 1)

Published Wednesday, March 23, 2011 by Tarang

Simba

Many students feel increased anxiety when attempting to write the SAT essay. The task is simple enough, but the process is involved. It must also be completed in under 25 minutes and achieve the following: flow logically, be organized, and persuade. Unlike analytical essays, the SAT essay is testing how well you can prove your point providing concrete examples and evidence. While students of Excel are given a format to follow which can greatly help them organize their essay, they are still responsible for providing their own content to fill in that format. Another aspect of essays students find difficult is making sure their point is expressed logically and without any large loopholes.

To help you understand how to prove your point, it is important to avoid certain mistakes. A good example of how not to write your essay would be to watch a movie review by Youtube user “confusedmatthew.” Confused Matthew does reviews on old movies that he probably watches on DVD. However, his attempts to persuade the viewer are weak. One of his biggest flaws is that he spends too much time on plot detail. For example, his review of The Incredibles took nearly half an hour. Most movie critics can review a movie in under 10 minutes, and they make it more effective. Matthew basically does a walk-through of the movie and never really hones in on his point. Avoid too much plot on your essay. He also does things in reverse order: he presents details of the movie and then states what was wrong with them. A good persuasive essay always has the main idea first and then the supporting details afterwards. His reviews are filled with logical fallacies as well. For example, his review of The Lion King is almost a study on how not to write a review. He states that Simba is an annoying brat as a child, and so he is not an amiable protagonist, which made the movie annoying for him. However, his point is completely undermined when Simba grows up and learns to be a wise and competent king/friend. On the SAT essay, never bring up plot points from an example that may actually hurt your essay. In his review for The Incredibles, Matthew states that he enjoyed Dash being a bratty little kid and that it was realistic of how kids act out. Yet, he does not give Simba the same consideration. Consistency is another key element to having logical examples, and Matthew fails to provide this. What makes Matthew’s reviews exceptionally weak is his inability to convey his final message at the end. For The Lion King, he calls it an awful movie but by the end of the review, he has gone through so many nit-picky details that it is hard to remember why he does not like it. For The Incredibles, he constantly praises its animation and pacing but suddenly claims that the movie was a depressing and cynical watch. Never keep your audience guessing on the SAT.

A Youtuber who does keep things concise and logical is Philip DeFranco. Philip’s show is an opinion news show, on which he states his opinions on current events. His videos are short (under 10 minutes), so he is constrained on time just as you will be. He also gives a few quotes from actual news stories to present his point of view, and he rounds it off by effectively stating how they prove his point. For example, he recently stated why he thinks Japan handled its multiple crises well. He quoted a few news clips from reputable sources such as Associated Press, and then finished off his point by restating his view. It was clear, succinct, and organized.

In conclusion, remain on-task during the essay. Avoid too much plot as it can confuse and actually contradict your point of view. Make sure your examples are intellectual, relevant, and easy to follow. If you do all this, I’m sure you will see how much clearer your essay can be.

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