January 2013 Sat Essay Practice

June 1, 2013 – SAT Essay Prompts

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in June 2013.

Prompt 1

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Our cherished notions of what is equal and what is fair frequently conflict. Democracy presumes that we are all created equal; competition proves we are not, or else every contest would end in a tie. We talk about a level playing field, but it is difficult to make conditions equal for everyone without being unfair to some.

Adapted from Nancy Gibbs, “Cool Running”

Assignment: Is it possible for a society to be fair to everyone? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 2

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many colleges now offer courses in which students study television programs, comic books, magazines, advertising, and other aspects of popular culture. Critics complain that schools should not replace serious literature and history courses with such fluff. They claim that courses in popular culture present material that is trivial and inconsequential. But the study of popular culture can be just as important, demanding, and instructive as the study of traditional subjects.

Assignment: Can the study of popular culture be as valuable as the study of traditional literary and historical subjects? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 3

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many voters think that integrity and character are the most important qualifications for political office. I disagree. Integrity—the quality of standing up for the same values in every situation—is not a good qualification for getting people to work together. Strongly held morals may make a candidate too inflexible and incapable of negotiation. And if character were really so important, candidates would be judged by their personal relationships rather than by their ability to deal with a community’s or a nation’s problems.

Adapted from Stanley Fish, “Integrity or Craft: The Leadership Question”

Assignment: Is strong moral character the most important qualification for a leader? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 4

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Thanks to the Internet, people have more access to more information than at any other time in history. People can instantly find information on almost any topic in the time it takes to type a couple of words and click a mouse. But we often know so little about the source of this information, including its reliability and the qualifications of the person who wrote it. If we do not know its source, information is not much good to us.

Assignment: Do people need to know the source of any information before they use it? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

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January 26, 2013 – SAT Essay Prompts

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in January 26, 2013.

Prompt 1

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

People generally prefer originality to imitation, which is often considered inferior and second-rate. However, we have learned most of what we know by imitating others. Mastering any skill or gaining any knowledge means that we must learn from those who have gone before us. In fact, it is not until we have imitated others and learned from them what there is to know that we can strike out on our own and maybe create something new.

Assignment: Is it necessary for people to imitate others before they can become original and creative? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 2

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many people say that money is not the most important thing in life and that being overly concerned about money leads only to unhappiness. Others point out, however, that money and wealth have always been of dramatic significance in society. They argue that there is really nothing more important to one’s overall quality of life than money.

Assignment: Is money the most significant factor in determining a person’s quality of life? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 3

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Young people are highly influenced by popular culture. They attempt to define themselves on the basis of what they see on television, in newspapers and magazines, and in the movies. In fact, young people accept the values of popular culture as their own, believing that those values are central to their personal development and social acceptance.

Assignment: Is popular culture the strongest influence on a young person’s identity? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 4

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many people believe that our behavior should be consistent, that we should always be ourselves. They feel that we should not act one way with some people and another way with others. But is this right? Should our behavior always be consistent, or should we behave differently in different situations? Isn’t behaving differently according to the people we are with or the situation we are in simply a matter of politeness and common sense?

Assignment: Should people change their behavior depending on what situation they are in? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

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