In most writing assignments in college – as well as in the SAT writing section – your main goal is to try to persuade your reader to accept your point of view about a topic. That point of view is called a thesis or an argument.
When the graders are reading your SAT essay, they are looking for your thesis. So make it easy for them. Tell them exactly what your thesis is.
While students often stress out when they hear the word thesis, it is important to keep in mind that you actually use thesis statements to persuade your friends and family all of the time.
Let’s say the family is going out for dinner and are deciding between pizza and burgers. Your brother wants burgers; you want pizza.
You work to persuade everyone that your point of view (pizza for dinner) is far superior to your brother’s thesis that burgers are better.
Your thesis goes something like this:
“We should have pizza for dinner because we have a coupon for half off, we just had burgers the other night, and studies show that tomato sauce contains lycopene, which is a very powerful antioxidant.”
See how that works? You have a specific view about something (in this case, pizza for dinner) and you are explaining why your point of view is the one that everyone else should believe. It is the same for writing a thesis statement for the SAT writing section.
And the best part is that your evidence examples become the different sections of the essay for the SAT. The Instant Thesis not only gives you a thesis, but it also makes sure that you have a structure for the essay.
Here is a foolproof formula for writing a strong thesis every time you write an essay.
#1) Although ________ (general statement, opposite opinion),
#2) nevertheless _____________ (thesis, your idea)
#3) because ______________ (examples, evidence)
By filling in the blanks, you can make a thesis about anything. Let’s return to our pizza/burger debate. The Instant Thesis would look something like this:
#1) Although my brother wants burgers for dinner tonight,
#2) nevertheless pizza is a much better choice
#3) because we have a coupon for half off, we just had burgers the other night, and studies show that tomato sauce contains lycopene.
Adapted from Steven Posusta, Don’t Panic: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing an Effective Term Paper (Santa Barbara, CA: Bandanna Books, 1996).