SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Sources to Prepare Essay Examples

SAT Tip of the Week - FullAre you struggling with finding sources for your essay? You’re not alone! It can be challenging to find current examples to help you prepare for this part of the SAT. Check out these 5 tips to help you gain ideas to craft your essay:

1.  CNN Student News ( – Hate reading the newspaper? Want to watch a fast-paced video instead? CNN Student News is your answer. One caveat: while the “fun facts” may interest you generally, they probably aren’t good material for the SAT essay. After all, how would you sculpt an argument about the importance of privacy based on the fact that dark chocolate is good for your heart? (No kidding, that was part of a video three months ago.)

2. Sparknotes Videos ( – Pretty self-explanatory, Sparknotes Videos translate lengthy plot summaries into animated 7-10 minute videos that sum up several commonly-studied novels. While you’re watching, be sure to have your SAT2400 Workbook handy so that you can note down full names of characters, the setting, relevant plot points, the author, and the time period.

3. History ClassWhy not kill two birds with one stone and refresh your memory on something (a battle, a major treaty, etc.) you recently had to study for a history test?  While choosing events – and this goes for your current events and literary examples as well – always make sure that the example can be “twisted” in multiple fashions to fit multiple topics. Several such multi-faceted examples will ensure that you are prepared to answer any question with ease.

4. Wikipedia – Believe it or not, several students each class ask me if “it is okay” to use Wikipedia to look up specifics of their examples. Yes! This is not a high school research paper where your teacher has banned Wikipedia as a source. The website is a time-efficient way of noting the details you need for several examples in each category.

5. Facebook News – I mention this one because most of you are probably spending hours a day on Facebook anyways. You might even be inadvertently aware of what’s going on in current events because you just can’t help but glance to that upper right part of your home page! Let’s face it, taking a break from the “OMG LOOK AT THE SANDWICH I JUST ATE” pics will not only help you on the SAT but will prevent brain decay. Seriously. I studied Neuroscience in college.

Lastly, NO NO NO personal examples! Do as much as you can to make yourself seem more educated than the average test-taker. Be sure to keep in mind academic tone when you write your essay. For more guidance on how to master this, check out last week’s tip here. Happy Studying!

Plan on taking the SAT soon? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Sidhi Gosain studied Neuroscience at Brown University. She tutored for BRYTE, a student-led program which pairs undergraduate tutors with refugees from Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. While she is currently pursuing a film career in both acting and production in Los Angeles, Sidhi is excited to keep tutoring students to beat standardized tests!