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Should I Take The Sat Essay? How to Make a Decision

Oct 21, 2022

Should I Take The Sat Essay?

Are you preparing for the SAT examination? Great! Then you need to figure out if you want to take the test with the Essay or not. If you are worried about “Should I take the SAT Essay“, then let me tell you, you are not alone. With so many announcements and prohibitions, this can be difficult to decide.

On 21st January, the College Board declared that it is not mandatory to take the Essay part of the SAT examination. This is because many schools have kept the SAT Essay optional. They don’t care whether the candidates submit the SAT score with an Essay or not. 


Yet some schools consider the SAT score with Essays. They have introduced an optional Essay section along with SAT. So, if you are wondering, ‘Should I take the SAT Essay‘ or not, don’t worry! In this guide, we’ll assist you with all the information you need to know before you decide. Let’s begin with which schools need SAT with Essay scores.

Which Schools Need SAT with Essay?

Generally speaking, most state schools don’t need the SAT with essays, while a significant number of them do. However, even within states, there are a lot of odd variances. For instance: All California schools need The SAT with Essay. But most California State University schools do not.


There are colleges that require you to take the SAT with Essay to apply. Those are – 

  • Benedictine College 
  • Delaware State University  
  • City University of London 
  • University of DeSales 
  • California Dominican University 
  • Agricultural and Mechanical University of Florida 
  • Howard College 
  • All of the universities in California 
  • Kentucky State University  
  • John Wesley University 
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture  
  • Martin Luther College  
  • Molloy College  
  • Schreiner Uni 
  • Soka Uni of America 
  • United States Military Academy (West Point)  
  • University of North Texas  
  • West Virginia Institute of Technology  
  • Texas A&M University—Galveston 
  • Western Carolina University 

Don’t assume that all schools need the SAT with Essays. Instead, check with each school’s testing criteria to know if they need one. This will help you decide on ‘Should I take the SAT with Essay‘ or avoid it. 


Purpose of the SAT Essay

As per the College Board, the SAT essay is “about the actual world.” Students will have to write analytical answers for 3 hours when their brains are exhausted! This is intended to prove a student’s writing talents in the setting of college readiness. 

How to Appear For the Essay Section

Students must analyze a passage and respond to the author’s reasoning in writing. On Test Day, the SAT Essay prompt will always be the same. The only difference will be the passage that students must analyze before responding.


It’s worth noting that questions don’t ask the candidates whether they approve of the author’s point of view. Besides, they don’t even ask to check its rationale. Students need to identify the tools or “rhetorical tactics” that the author employs to persuade the audience. The passages will be equal in length and structure to those on the SAT’s Evidence-Based Reading test. But they will be much more controversial. Speeches or editorials make up a large part of the Essay. These could be from any time.

Students Who Should Opt For SAT Essay

Although the SAT Essay has become optional, it can benefit some students. Especially the ones who meet the following criteria. Having said that, if you meet any of the criteria mentioned below, the answer to “Should I take the SAT with Essay” should be yes. 

  • You want to showcase your analytical writing abilities.
  • You want to major in a field that values analytical writing.
  • You can’t showcase your analytical writing abilities on any other exam.

1. You Want To Showcase Your Analytical Writing Abilities

Students who failed as analytical writers in high school can use the SAT’s optional Essay to measure their progress. Brilliant results in the Essay can be rewarding to students who had a less-than-satisfactory marks in English or literature. Students can take this test to show how they have improved their writing skills. To sum up, if any students feel that poor results in English in high school can lower their chance of admission, they can start preparing for the SAT Essay examination. 

2. You Want To Major In A Field That Values Analytical Writing

Many academic fields consider writing skills necessary. Various branches of science and mathematics also consider it essential. Besides, it is also beneficial for students planning to pursue humanities. Since schools need students to conduct research papers, this can be essential. Thus, strong writing skills can help in easier admission to college.


3. You Can’t Showcase Your Analytical Writing Abilities On Any Other Exam

While wondering whether “Should I take the Essay on the SAT“, ask yourself if you can show analytical writing abilities in other exams. If yes, you can skip the examination. If not, this is a good chance.

Many schools do not provide CLEP, AP English language, or similar classes. Thus, SAT Essay provides an alternate way to show improvements in college-level writing. SAT Essay also provides an opportunity for all candidates to prove their writing abilities. Besides, it also gives chances to 11th and 12th-grade students to showcase their college writing abilities.


Questions Helps You Determine Whether to Take the SAT Essay

While deciding on “Should I take the SAT with Essay“, consider these four questions to help you make decisions.

  • Do any of the Schools I’d like to Apply to Require an SAT Essay?

It is essential to know whether the school you are applying for needs an SAT Essay. If it does, you have to sit for the SAT Essay examination to show the results. However, if you don’t sit for the examination, your application will remain incomplete. Therefore, you will not get admitted to your desired school.

On the contrary, if you wish to apply to a school that does not need an SAT essay, your score with an Essay won’t matter. You can avoid that examination. To be clear, institutions that need the SAT Essay will disregard your score if you take the SAT without it.

The final thing you want to do is achieve a solid score without the Essay, only to discover that your target schools need you to take the SAT with Essay. Remember that some institutions’ application policies change from year to year. So double-check the testing rules of the institutions to which you’re applying.

  • Do any of the Schools I’d like to Apply to Suggest the SAT Essay?

This is another important question you need to ask. Even if you’re not planning to enroll in any institution that needs the SAT Essay section, we will still recommend taking it. This will broaden your school list for admission. Besides, this will add another dimension to your application that schools can consider. But, there are some situations where you can go without taking the examination.

If you are not eligible for SAT fee waivers and paying the extra cost to take the SAT Essay is a financial strain for you, please do not feel obligated to take it. In this situation, taking the SAT without the Essay is alright. Additionally, if you have difficulty writing essays under time limits, you may skip the Essay. But, this is only for students who have excellent English and writing skills but find it difficult to compose logical essays due to time pressure.

  • Are there any Scholarships that Need an SAT Score with an Essay?

Many awards like the National Merit Scholarship Program demand SAT results. But some demand SAT plus Essay scores. As a result, double-check the criteria of every scholarship you intend to apply for. Scholarships that do not need or recommend the SAT Essay will accept your SAT with the Essay result. But scholarships that do need the Essay part will not take your SAT score into account if you complete the no-essay version.

  • Is the SAT Essay Going to Help Me in Other Ways?

If it isn’t compulsory, taking the SAT Essay won’t add much to your application in general. In reality, universities that don’t suggest or need the Essay don’t give it much thought. Nonetheless, the Essay may be helpful for overseas students who wish to show their command of the English language. If you fall in the same group, consider taking the SAT with Essay. If you believe you’ll achieve a good score, there is no harm in trying. But, I recommend against taking the Essay if you do not think you’ll do well on it.


Hopefully, the guide has helped clear your dilemma on “Should I take the SAT Essay.” If it has, then why are you delaying? Start preparing for the examination today to get a good SAT essay score. But if you decide to skip the test, keep preparing for the SAT without worrying about the essay section. 


should i take the sat essay


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