May 2013 Sat Essay Prompts Uncertainty

October 5, 2013 – SAT Essay Prompts

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in October 5, 2013.

Prompt 1

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

Most people think that contentment—being happy with the way things are—is the perfect state of affairs. After all, what could be better than being so satisfied with how things are that you don’t want anything else? But contentment has disadvantages: if we are content with the way things are, we are not motivated to change things, to improve ourselves, or to do better. We must therefore always choose between being content and pushing ourselves to do better.

Assignment: Does being content with the way things are prevent people from improving themselves and doing better? 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.

Privacy was once valued and protected. Diaries came with locks to keep the writer’s privately recorded thoughts from being read by others. Public telephones were enclosed in booths so that conversations would not be overheard. But now people feel free to post information about themselves on social networking Web sites and carry on cell phone conversations in public places. We would be much better off if we valued privacy—our own and that of others—far more highly than we do.

Assignment: Do we place too little value on privacy? 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.

Nobody wants to be called old-fashioned or be considered out of touch with current trends and thinking. But there’s something to be said for holding on to old ideas and customs even if they may not be in fashion at the moment. People are too easily impressed by anything new and trendy—the latest television show, or music group, or technological gadget. They place too much emphasis on newness without bothering to look at something’s real value.

Assignment: Do people place too much value on newness? 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.

Everything a public figure or celebrity says or does is likely to turn up on an internet site or a television show. The great appeal of these sites and shows is that they help us learn as much as possible about public figures. The more we know about political candidates, for example, the more informed we are as voters. Much of the information, however, is irrelevant and actually prevents us from focusing on the issues that matter.

Assignment: Does having too much information about public figures distract us from the important issues? 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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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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