Q:

I'm not getting the best grades on my essays, even when I check both spelling and grammar on the computer. I want to become a better essay writer so I can do well on the writing section of the SAT. What's the solution? -- Writing Problems

A:

Gather several of your essays together and ask your English teacher for an opportunity to talk about them. As you go over the essays with the teacher, make a list of the problems you are having so you can avoid them in the future. Then the next time that you write an essay, you can use the list to check your work for these shortcomings. It would be especially helpful if the teacher would work with you on improving some of the problem areas so you have a better understanding of how to write a good essay. You might need to discuss your essays several times with the teacher to make any real improvement. Be patient and hang in there, as it takes time to become a good writer.

It also could be helpful to read essays of other students in the class who have received top grades. This will give you a good picture of what your teacher is looking for in an essay.

While using good spelling and grammar on an essay is definitely important, so is having good organization and content. One way to improve this is to read an essay aloud to see if it makes good sense. If this doesn't work, have someone read the essay aloud to you. Most students can then recognize problem areas. After you have worked on improving the essay, read it aloud again. And remember, the more you write, the more your writing should improve.