Importance of clear handwriting on the SAT:
One of the purposes of good 5-paragraph essay form is to make your argument clear and easy to understand.
However, all your cool vocab words will go to waste if your SAT essay can’t be read by the person who grades it!
Also, if your essay doesn’t “look good” on first impression, I bet you’re sacrificing valuable points simply because the grader is subconsciously annoyed with the difficulty of understanding what you’re written!
Though graders are not told to score based on handwriting, I guarantee that they are humans like you and me, and they will get frustrated by difficult or illegible handwriting, which may result in a lower score than you deserved on the SAT essay (this is kind of like how longer SAT essays score better, all else being equal).
Therefore, to be on the safe side, you should use your very best handwriting without sacrificing the necessary speed required to fill as many lines as possible.
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How can I improve my handwriting for the SAT Essay?
If you’re one of the small percentage of high school students that always has good handwriting, you’re in luck. You don’t really need to do anything you wouldn’t normally do and you can just focus on my top 10 tips for the SAT essay.
For the rest of us with messy handwriting, we have to slow down on the SAT essay and make a conscious effort to write neatly and legibly, using our best handwriting.
I recommend using print, rather than cursive, because it’s usually more legible.
Also, make your paragraphs clear through the use of significant indentations. I’m not talking about anything ridiculous here, but make it obvious.
Indentations are used to clearly separate groups of ideas that go together, like an analysis of one great evidence example, and can significantly improve SAT essay readability.