Handwriting - it makes a difference!
Having worked with dozens of high school students preparing for the SAT writing exam, I recognize that this is tends to be the most anxiety-laden exam when it comes to test prep. While content, structure, and syntax are the skills officially assessed by the SAT writing exam, most students find the time constraints to be troublesome as well.
Students who dread in-class essays because of the pressure to write neatly for an extended period of time are especially vulnerable to SAT writing test anxiety. Even students who typically have excellent penmanship and neat presentation can get sloppy, and although there is no *official* score for neatness and readability, the fact is that this exam is graded by people, not computers or machines. As such, readers are subject to fatigue, and a well-structured essay will receive lower marks (and possibly even no credit) if there are any issues with legibility.
I suggest that you address penmanship concerns pro-actively as you study for your SAT writing exam. Type your practice essay responses on a computer, then adjust the font size to 14. Pick a font that is easy to write (sans-serif) and easy to read. Although many teachers (and college professors, especially) require Times New Roman as the font of choice for typed papers, Times New Roman is a "serif" font, meaning it has extra "doo-dads" on the ends of letters, which makes it look elegant and important; attempting to make your handwriting resemble serif fonts is time consuming an unnecessary. Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial, Candoo, and Comic Sans, are stylistically simple, and resemble natural human handwriting. Scroll down the font menu in your word processing program until you find a font that you would like your own handwriting to emulate.
Once you have typed your essay, adjusted the font size to 14, and picked your favorite sans-serif font, you are ready to print your essay and practice writing the shape and size of the letters. Using a number 2 pencil, trace the essay word for word, letter by letter. Do this several times, then practice writing it on a sheet of blank, lined paper. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing, and you can use it to your advantage with fine-motor skills such as clear, legible handwriting.
Although this may seem like a misappropriation of your valuable study time, it can make a substantial difference in your comfort level when it comes time to take the exam. You will notice that once neat handwriting becomes your second nature, the dread of writing timed, in-class essays will subside, and your hard work and practice will pay off with higher grades and more positive feedback from teachers. Your SAT writing exam will go over better, and you will undoubtedly feel greater confidence, and possibly even enthusiasm, about taking any writing exam.