SAT Test Prep

CHAPTER 12
WRITING A GREAT ESSAY

Lesson 4: Connect to Your Knowledge with “Source Summaries”

Prepare by Writing Out “Source Summaries”


Good writers support their claims with good examples. Well-chosen and well-analyzed examples often mean the difference between a mediocre essay and a great one. If you ever have trouble thinking of good examples, spend some time in the months before the SAT writing out “source summaries” such as those below. These help you to connect to good examples from your studies and experience—novels, historical events, people, cultural movements, and so on.


source summary is simply a summary of the key ideas about a topic: themes, theses, and details, that you can use in your essay. Look carefully at the two examples below. Notice that each focuses only on the information that you would use in an essay on the given theme. It includes the important details you need to mention in order to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

Sample Source Summaries

Practice 4: Connect to Your Knowledge with “Source Summaries”

Source Summaries Make copies of this sheet and summarize the major books, people, and events you have recently studied. Try to make a source summary for at least ten different topics of study.

Discuss these examples with your teacher or tutor to see if your analyses are “on the mark.”