Sat Essay Prompts May 2014

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in May 2015.

Prompt 1

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

Many people believe that loyalty—whether to an individual, an organization, or a nation—means unconditional and unquestioning support no matter what. To these people, the withdrawal of support is by definition a betrayal of loyalty. But doesn’t true loyalty sometimes require us to be critical of those we are loyal to? If we see that they are doing something that we believe is wrong, doesn’t true loyalty require us to speak up, even if we must be critical?

Assignment: Does true loyalty require unconditional support? 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.

From a young age, we are taught that we should pursue our own interests and goals in order to be happy. But society today places far too much value on individual success and achievement. In order to be truly happy, we must help others as well as ourselves. In fact, we can never be truly happy, no matter what we may achieve, unless our achievements benefit other people.

Assignment: Must our achievements benefit others in order to make us truly happy? 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.

In today’s complex society there are many activities and interests competing for our time and attention. We tend to think that the more choices we have in life, the happier we will be. But having too many options—choices about how to spend our time or what interests to pursue—can be overwhelming and can make us feel like we have less freedom and less time.

Adapted from Jeff Davidson, “Six Myths of Time Management”

Assignment: Is having too many choices a problem? 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

Coming Soon!!!

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Don’t forget to practice for the SAT Essay! I think many students tend to focus their attention and test preparation on the content covered in the multiple-choice questions of the Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics sections, but you can and should prepare for the essay. I have offered essay writing tips in previous posts, and I encourage you to review them. I wanted to give you, though, some sample essay prompts with which you could practice. The following prompts were given during the November 2014 SAT administration:

Many thoughtful people have said that cooperation brings out the best in people and leads to success in almost all endeavors. There is a limit, however, to the value of cooperative behavior, since such behavior may suppress people’s willingness to be creative and to stand out from the crowd. Too often, cooperating means going along with the group even if that is not necessarily the best way.

Assignment: Does working with others lead to better results than acting as an individual? 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.

We have been taught since childhood that it is wrong to quit. We learn that quitting is impulsive and easy and that we should always endeavor to keep trying, even if it is difficult. But aren’t there certain times when quitting is the right thing to do? In those instances, it takes great courage, maturity, and self-awareness to acknowledge that the plan we have chosen may need to be changed or that a new plan should be adopted.

Assignment: Is quitting ever a good idea? 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.

Many people wish that there were fewer limits on their behavior. They believe that rules—such as those imposed by parents, teachers, coaches, employers, and governments—prevent them from being successful in the activities they undertake. Other people believe that rules assist them in becoming successful in their endeavors. They claim that rules provide guidance and help define what is expected. They even say that having too much freedom can be a burden.

Assignment: Do rules interfere with or aid in the pursuit of success? 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.

There is an old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Simply put, this means that people who make their needs or desires known by making noise—that is, by complaining—are the ones who get what they need or want. But nobody likes a squeaky wheel: the complainer may get what he or she wants, but only at the risk of being perceived unfavorably.

Assignment: Should we complain to get what we want? 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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