Tip #45 to Get a Top SAT Critical Reading Score (page 2)
The next body paragraph should finish demonstrating your thesis. Like other body paragraphs, it should be organized around a specific example. Ideally, it smoothly links to your previous body paragraph(s).
Let's look at this question:
Solution: The paragraph that you wrote should revolve on one main idea, contain specific details, and demonstrate your thesis. Let's look at Alex's 12:
Society today is less physically brutal, but just as mentally brutal, more so, some might argue. Our Capitalist society is run by greed and competition. Businesses achieve so much because their competitors are always right on their tails. It's a continuous scramble to the top, and the first one there's the winner. Our government is a system of checks and balances because nobody trusts anybody else. Our society is founded on the presumption that mankind is inherently evil. And that presumption has brought our society power and riches.
Alex began with a great transition linking this to the previous paragraph. He made several generalizations, but followed up with specific references such as "checks and balances" and "founded on the presumption . . . " This paragraph demonstrates his point that self-interest motivates people and that "our society" is run by greed.
Notice that Alex's essay is awesome, but not perfect. You cannot make a perfect essay in 25 minutes. They know that and allow for it. They call this allowance "holistic grading." They don't have a checklist, grade each item, and add up your points. Instead, they look at the essay as a whole and say, "Okay, he had good solid organization, a few spelling errors, but wow, he blew me away with details and depth. I'll give it a 12." If you give them what they want (structure, transitions, details, depth), you get a high score. This makes the essay easy to ace.
Let's see the next body paragraph(s) for each topic:
- Assignment: Is it better to be compliant or to challenge the status quo?
- Assignment: Has materialism helped society?
Answers vary. Does your next body paragraph (or two) finish demonstrating your thesis? Is it focused on a specific example that demonstrates your thesis? Does it begin with a transition sentence that smoothly links it to the previous body paragraph? Are the body paragraphs connected in some way (set scene and demonstrate thesis, same period or literary work, chronological)?
Here's Kyle's other body paragraph:
However, perhaps there are some positive aspects of the quest to material affluence. The fourth republic of nigeria, established by president Obasanjo in 1999 has created a economy based on mass production and consumption rather than its one scarce commodity, oil. Nigeria's culturaly fragmented interior, that is infamous for extreme tribal violence, has been calmed. A history of military coups, ethnic riots, and civil warfare as been forgotten with the newly established, progressive attitude of materialism. In 1989, after the death of conservative dictator Sani Abach, Nigeria presented a united front between all ethnic groups (Iboo, Yoruba, Hausa-fulani), on the basis of increased economic production. Perhaps materialism isn't always a curse, but a cure.
If you can bring that many specific details into an essay, you're guaranteed a 12! But how do you do it? Here's the catch. Kyle is the guy I mentioned earlier. He always uses the Fourth Republic of Nigeria. He has the details prepared! Yes, Kyle is brilliant and has a great mind for details, but you can do it too; these drills teach you to do what he did!
Go to: Tip #46
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