SAT Essay Prompts

We have a collection of the new SAT Essay Prompts from March 2005 till the most recent test released by College Board.

 

 

May 2008

If you took the May 2008 SAT Reasoning Test, you would have been given one of the essay prompts below:

Prompt 1

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

Technological advances have freed society from tiresome labor, such as washing clothes by hand, hauling heavy loads, and walking long distances, and have given people increased access to information and entertainment. Yet, when given a choice, many people still resist using modern conveniences. There must be something to be gained from not using technology

Assignment:
Are there benefits to be gained from avoiding the use of modern technology, even when using it would make life easier? 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 talent contests to the Olympics to the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, we constantly seek to reward those who are "number one." This emphasis on recognizing the winner creates the impression that other competitors, despite working hard and well, have lost. In many cases, however, the difference between the winner and the losers is slight. The wrong person may even be selected as the winner. Awards and prizes merely distract us from valuable qualities possessed by others besides the winners.

Assignment:
Do people place too much emphasis on winning? 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.

There are those who believe that everything we do is inspired by the desire for power in its various forms. They maintain that our actions are nothing but expressions of a striving for power. In this view, even when we act kindly toward other people, we are motivated, whether we know it or not, by a desire to have some control over their lives, for our act of kindness puts them partially in our power.

Adapted from Leszek Kolakowski, Freedom, Fame, Lying, and Betrayal: Essays on Everyday Life

Assignment:
Are people's actions motivated primarily by a desire for power over others? 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.

Common sense suggests an obvious division between the past and present, between history and current events. In many cases, however, this boundary is not clear cut because earlier events are not locked away in the past. Events from history remain alive through people's memories and through books, films, and other media. For both individuals and groups, incidents from the past continue to influence the present—sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

Assignment:

Do incidents from the past continue to influence the present? 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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Useful Links:
Info on the new SAT Test at CollegeBoard's site
 

 

 

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