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SAT Essay Prompts - November 2011




 

Materials on this page relate to the SAT before March 2016.

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

SAT Essay Prompt November 2011

If you took the November 2011 SAT, 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.

It has been said that "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing." This statement suggests that people should do more than merely think about themselves and a few others, that they should feel responsible for issues and concerns that affect the larger society or community. But aren't most people already doing a lot more than "nothing" by taking responsibility for their own well-being and that of their families and friends?

Assignment:

Should individuals take responsibility for issues and problems that do not affect them directly? 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.

All communities and groups have reliable rules of right and wrong in the form of laws, values, and social standards. It is therefore generally assumed that most people know the difference between right and wrong and that they usually know the right thing to do. This view is simplistic, however. People often find themselves in complex situations for which no rule provides adequate guidance and the right course of action is unclear.

Assignment:

Is it often difficult for people to determine what is the right thing to do? 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.

When judging ourselves, we tend to consider our motives as well as our actions. If we mean to do something that will benefit others but our actions have hurtful consequences, we may feel that our good intentions are just as important as the effects of our actions. But we give our intentions too much credit. Actions can and should be judged on their own merits, regardless of what motivated someone to take them in the first place.

Assignment:

Are the consequences of people's actions more important than the motives behind the actions? 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.

It is often observed that some sense of unease or dissatisfaction with oneself or one's circumstances, some self-criticism, is absolutely necessary for people to move forward and make any kind of progress or change. But optimism—a feeling of confidence that one's actions will be successful and will pay off in the future—is even more important. If people are not optimistic, what motivation will they have to change?
Adapted from Richard B. McKenzie, The Paradox of Progress

Assignment:

Are optimistic, confident people more likely than others to make changes in their lives? 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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