Colleges place huge importance on SAT scores, with the essay giving them a chance to see how well you string words together on a particular topic.
The key to doing well is preparation. There are certain things you can do to prepare yourself for the writing component, and researching other papers for inspiration is one of the absolute essentials. There is so much available on the internet, ready to help you out. But where to start?
The best examples are ones that not only get good marks, but also clearly explain how those marks were attained. Watch for clearly labelled papers that break down the work into structures you can easily copy. In other words, next to the introductory paragraph there are labels and explanations as to why the paragraph works.
You need to be sure that the work you are choosing to follow comes from a website with good credentials. To do this, you can first go to a site which you know and trust (such as your place of learning) and search within its pages. Or, you can check the start of the address on the results page, or you can make a trusted source part of your original web search.
This will narrow down the results of your search. Terms such as site: link: OR all will return more narrow results, meaning that you will spend less time trawling through pages of unrelated or unusable content.
Make sure that you don’t just jump to using the first one you find. Imagine if that had gotten a terrible mark and you chose to follow its structure! Spend time viewing more than one paper and gleaning what you can from each. The more good examples you look at the better informed your own work will be.
I have two seemingly conflicting words of advice here about topics. Firstly, find a sample which is of a similar topic to the one you are writing for practice. That way you will be able to take more from it than just structure, but also tips to do with content. But then as you get more proficient, branch out and look at a large range of papers from a variety of topics. That way you will not be as limited in what you feel confident to write about.