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How to write a great SAT essay body paragraph 

Although a good intro is essential and a good conclusion is nice to have, the trust is that good body paragraphs are the “meat” of an SAT essay.

All two/three body paragraphs should be approximately the same length. The best length for an SAT essay body paragraph is between a third to a half of a page per paragraph.

No need to get fancy; just provide your amazing SAT essay evidence, pick two specific facts that fit, and spend a couple sentences connecting those facts to your thesis.

Stick close to the main keywords of the essay prompt to ensure you’re on-topic and try to include some cool vocabulary as you go.

A well-thought-out plan makes your body paragraphs very easy, so practice brainstorming for the first 5 minutes.

That’s because in your planning stage you should be picking the evidence that best supports the SAT essay prompt, so you should already have done the hard work of thinking about your supporting evidence.

Now you just have to write down all that thinking, really quickly, and without going off-topic.

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Straying off-topic is the biggest risk in the SAT essay body section. Stick with your prompt keywords religiously.

Not moving quickly enough is the second biggest risk, so practice the following formula, or one similar: 

Body Paragraph Formula

In your body paragraphs, follow the formula of Transition – introduce SAT Essay Evidence – Fact 1 – Explanation 1 – Fact 2 – Explanation 2.

The explanations are where you directly connect each fact to the prompt keywords, and quickly explain yourself.

You’re worrying about speed, clarity, and faithfulness to your thesis – NOT about the truth of your “facts,” your vocabulary, or the perfect phrasing.  

Sentence 1: Provide the evidence this paragraph will investigate, and make the claim that this evidence supports your thesis. Use a transition word at the start of your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. “[transition word if 2nd or 3rd paragraph], [evidence] proves that [reword thesis.]”

Sentence 2: State the strongest, most relevant specific fact that supports your thesis. “For example, [specific fact]”  

Sentence 3: Interpret this fact to prove your Sentence 1 claim by connecting prompt keywords to specifics in the fact. “In this case, [specifics] were a case of [keyword] being [keyword].” Or whatever.  

Sentence 4: Further explanation of Sentence 3, if necessary.  

Sentence 5 is like Sentence 2: State second fact. “Also, [specific fact.]”  

Sentence 6 is like Sentence 3: Interpret the second fact to prove your Sentence 1 claim, and support thesis by connecting prompt keywords to specifics.  

To cap it off, a good SAT essay body paragraph will:

  1. Transition smoothly from the previous paragraph
  2. Introduce your SAT essay evidence
  3. Tie specific facts from the evidence back to your thesis
  4. Use a bit of cool vocabulary when possible

Now get your own copy of my e-book, Top 30 Examples to Use as SAT Essay Evidence!

Further Reading:
How to Write a Great SAT Essay Intro
What is the SAT Essay?
Top 10 Tips for the SAT Essay
Four (More) Tips for a Better SAT Essay

Additional Resources:
Top 30 Examples to Use as SAT Essay Evidence (e-Book)
Write the Best SAT Essay of Your Life (e-Book)!
Conquer SAT Vocabulary (Video Course)

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