Review: The College Panda’s SAT Essay

Title: The College Panda’s SAT Essay: The Battle-Tested Guide for the New 2016 SAT Essay

by Nielson Phu

56 Pages

In 2001, I moved to Korea to work as an ESL Teacher but fell into teaching the SAT including what was then the SAT II English test. This test was required for all foreign students to test their English grammar and writing skills. It was incorporated into the SAT in 2005 and then junked this year (2016). So SAT Essays and I go way, way back.

The Essay for the 2016 SAT is a different animal altogether, but it has the same requirements as one of the AP Language and Composition Essays, so for the past year I have been steering students who wanted to self study towards those materials. However, now I have a new suggestion. The College Panda’s SAT Essay is a succinct yet helpful set of instructions to acing this essay.

Normally, I am skeptical of “perfect scorers” who present themselves as SAT authorities because doing and teaching are 2 different skills, and not all smart and talented  people are adept at explaining how they know what they know or do what they do.  However, Nielson Phu is an excellent teacher. He breaks the concepts down, anticipates problems weaker students may have, and demonstrates how he wrote a top-scoring essay. The materials include a break down of rhetorical elements to look out for, a template to structure your essay, and a clear explanation of how to incorporate evidence. Weaker students might need outside help to evaluate their essays, but a stronger student will find that this is all he/she needs to score well on the Essay portion of the test.

Overall, this is a reliable and “battle-tested” system for tackling the SAT Essay.

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