You can breathe a sigh of relief—the conclusion is the least important part of your SAT essay. You are merely recapping what you already said. In other words, you don’t want to say anything you haven’t already said in your essay.
Can it really be that simple?
Yes and no. Yes, if you are running out of time and can barely knock out a sentence. As long as that sentence gives the essay a sense of finality (this is the conclusion after all), you should be fine—fine, in the sense that the essay grader’s mind is mostly made up by the time he or she gets to your conclusion.
Of course if you have more time, add some polish to your conclusion. But don’t feel like you have to write a long paragraph. Indeed, if you have that much time left, you should have spent it developing your body paragraphs.
Because it is better that you have at least a couple of sentences for your conclusion, here is recipe (much like the one I used for the Intro) that will keep things simple.
Sentence #1 – Reintroduce the topic
Sentence #2 – Reword the thesis
Sentence #3 – End with a parting thought
To show you this recipe “in action”, I’m going to take an excerpt I used for the Intro.
Knowledge is power. In agriculture, medicine, and industry, for example, knowledge has liberated us from hunger, disease, and tedious labor. Today, however, our knowledge has become so powerful that it is beyond our control.
So let’s say you’ve written some nice body paragraphs showing how knowledge has run amuck (I’m imagining some pretty Internet-heavy stuff). Now it’s time for your conclusion. You don’t really have to bring up specific points from your body paragraphs—though you can.
To give you an example, I’m going to write a conclusion, breaking it up sentence by sentence, with the recipe above as my guide.
Knowledge can liberate us, but it can also limit us.
Yet, today knowledge has become so vast as to become unmanageable, and ultimately beyond our control.
Unless, we can find away to once again ensure that knowledge works for us, it will inevitably work against us.
Conclusion (combining the three sentences above)
Knowledge can liberate us, but it can also limit us. Yet, today knowledge has become so vast as to become unmanageable, and ultimately beyond our control. Unless, we can find away to once again ensure that knowledge works for us, it will inevitably work against us.
The SAT essay doesn’t have to be amazing
This is not the most insightful, astounding, and brilliant conclusion ever written. Far from it. But it gets the job done in a quick few sentences. Most importantly, it gives the essay a clear ending. And that’s the thing—you don’t want to waste time on your conclusion; you want to spend those valuable minutes in the important body paragraphs. So instead of tacking on a few extra sentences to the conclusion above, I can spend that time to write more
I want to make final note: I’ve offered you a cookie-cutter approach. Blindly following is not going to ensure a good score. And not following it, but leavening your essay with a wealth of insights and stylistic prose, will most likely result in a great score. So if the structure of your essays doesn’t mirror the recipe above, but you are writing well, then do not suddenly change the way you are writing, thinking that the SAT graders are particularly fond of this structure. However, even if you are writing well, but seem to struggle writing a convincing, organized conclusion, then the formula above can help you.