Knowledge Article: Essay Grading (ACT, SAT)

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Essay Grading (ACT, SAT)

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The new SAT essay and ACT essays are now optional. Kaplan recommends that you understand the requirements and recommendations of the schools to which you are applying. If the essay is required or recommended by your target schools, you must complete the optional essay. Use the essay pages to write your essay, then type and submit your essay through your online syllabus to receive a score. Once you complete your essay, submit it online to be scored by an expert Kaplan instructor.

In-Person Programs

Instructors will not proctor essays in class, but our Essay Grading Team is here to score your work and provide feedback. Follow the instructions below to submit your work online. The essay score will be posted to your syllabus within 3 business days of submission.

Live Online Classroom and Self Paced Programs

Students enrolled in comprehensive SAT and ACT Live Online and SAT and ACT Self Paced courses will have their practice test essays graded when submitted with a practice test (we do not grade essays that are separate from the practice tests associated with your course).

How do I submit my essay?

You will see a section in your practice test webgrid for submitting an essay.  Simply input the text of your essay there and it will be submitted along with your test.  

How and when will I receive my score?

You can expect your essay to be graded within 3 business days.  When you log into your online resources and check your test score, you will see the numerical grade for your essay.

Note: You will not see any score (even for the multiple choice sections) until your essay is graded.

Who grades these essays?

Your essay will be hand-graded by a member of the Kaplan Essay Grading team.  Our professional team grades hundreds of essays and has received training in the same rubrics that the official ACT and SAT essay graders use.

For SAT:

  • Each scorer awards 1-4 points for each dimension: reading, analysis, and writing.
  • The scores are doubled to account for the two graders who will review your essay on your official test.
  • You’ll receive three scores for SAT Essay – one for each dimension – ranging from 2 – 8 points.

For ACT:

  • You will receive a total of five scores for this test: a single subject leevl writing score reported on a range of 2 – 12, and four domain scores, also 2-12, that are based on an analytic scoring rubric.
  • The subject-level score will be the rounded average of the four domain scores.
  • The four domain scores are: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions.

I want more feedback.

Classroom, Live Online, or Tutoring students, you may reach out to your Kaplan instructors to inquire about more personalized essay feedback. For more information on why you received the score you did, and Self Paced students, see the official  Scoring Guide  from or the official Scoring Guide from

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College Discussion / SAT and ACT Tests & Test Preparation / SAT Preparation
Introducing a New Expert Content Section: Careers !
New Discussion

Grade my SAT Essay please!

thebslee thebslee

Registered User Posts: 5 New Member

in SAT Preparation
Hello, would you mind reading through my essay and giving me feedback on what I could improve on? It’s an essay for the New SAT, and the article I used can be found here:

My Essay:

The idea that libraries should be closed down is supported by economic reasons and the increasing availability of books online; however, strong opposing arguments are often overlooked. In "The North West London Blues," author Zadie Smith puts forth a detailed argument for library preservation. In doing so, she employs a variety of rhetorical elements, including powerful word choice, appeals to the human identity, and hard facts and statistics.

Smith’s deft use of word choice begins with her discussion of what makes a library invaluable. Opposing the notion that a library is merely a "function" (1), she asserts that each library has a unique "character" (2). By using a word usually reserved for people—their "character"—she personifies libraries, thus making it seem cruel to demolish them. This personification is maintained and strengthened throughout the passage; for instance, she calls the libraries’ supporters "friends" (1) of the libraries. Smith also uses warm language, saying that people "love the library" (4), to rouse the reader’s empathy for the library preservationists. Although the author’s use of such diction may seem overly dramatic, it effectively garners the reader’s emotional support.

Just as persuasive as Smith’s diction are her appeals to the human identity. She concedes that much of her argument is based on emotion, then proceeds to emphasize that "We’re humans, not robots" (4)—namely, that emotional support for libraries is part of what it means to be human. By appealing to the human identity, Smith paints her argument as a very inclusive one, which everybody can and should get behind as a human. She reiterates the inclusivity of her argument soon after: "A library is one of those social goods that matter to people of many different political attitudes" (4). Simultaneously, Smith portrays a sharp contrast between the humanity of library preservationists versus the coldness and selfishness of opponents, calling them "technocrats" (1) or "Mr. Notmytaxes" (5). Through this comparison, she presents her argument as the obvious choice.

Lastly, Smith bolsters her argumnet using data and specific examples. In proving the popularity of libraries, she notes that British libraries received greater than 300 million visits in 2011 (5). The use of statistics grounds the author’s argument in reality, and makes it more difficult to oppose. The data is buttressed by several specific examples of popular support for libraries, such as the "human chains" North West London people made to prevent the destruction of libraries (5). The specific examples, by giving concrete evidence for the author’s argument, prove that the passage is well-researched and lends it credibility. Without these hard facts, the passage would lose the element of logos, depending only on emotional appeals to make its points.

In conclusion, Zadie Smith—using word choice, appeals to identity, and hard facts—effectively makes the case for library preservation. It is her use of persuasive elements that not only informs the reader of the issue but also spurs the reader to action.

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Replies to: Grade my SAT Essay please!

  • #1

    fehministic fehministic

    Registered User Posts: 20 New Member

    I’m noting these as I go, so:
    i. ‘Deft use of word choice’ seems redundant and not entirely grammatically correct. It’s either ‘deft use of words’, or ‘strategic word choice’.
    ii. Also, as far as I’m aware, don’t number the points you’re making. I don’t know if you’d lose out on points for that, but it’s certainly unnecessary.

    This was certainly a well written essay, and I feel I should commend you for it. You seem to have a splendid vocabulary and fairly good grasp of what the essay is looking for. The only other suggestion I would make is to go even deeper into analysing the author’s essay than you have here. Explain WHY she chose that device and HOW it affects the reader’s perceptions instead of merely stating them.

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