Tips for Writing Excellent Essays for the SSAT and ISEE exams

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Tips for Writing Excellent Essays

Here are some additional tips for writing an excellent essay for the SSAT and ISEE exams.

1. Read the question carefully.

Rephrase the question in your own words to make sure you understand what it is asking you.

2. Answer the question.

Follow all the directions and do exactly what you are asked to do.

You can be creative in your approach to the subject, but you must write on the topic you are assigned or you paper will be discounted.

3. Have a plan for your essay.

Allow at least 3–5 minutes to prewrite and organize your essay.

Write down supporting examples or details below each main idea.

4. Write your essay.

For the SSAT, allow about 15 minutes to write your essay.

For the ISEE, allow about 20 minutes for the writing stage.

As you work, write your essay as neatly and legibly as you can.

You MUST write in ink on the lined pages provided.

Revise your essay by looking for ways to make your ideas clearer.

5. Stick to your plan.

Stay focused on your topic.

Follow your plan.

6. Use editing marks.

Allow about five minutes to revise and proofread your essay.

You may strike through a word or phrase and change it, but remember that someone has to be able to read what you have written.

Make sure your changes are clear. Use editing symbols to help keep your essay as readable as possible.

Now try an essay of your own. Use the strategies and tips you have learned to write an essay on one of the sample topics below. Set a timer for 25 minutes (for the SSAT) or 30 minutes (for the ISEE) to get a feel for how much time you will have for each step of the writing process. Write your final essay on the ruled lines on the following pages.

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