Sample Essay Questions From Sat

SAT Essay Questions

Understand Your SAT Essay Topics

The SAT Essay

The essay questions of SAT evaluate your skills in interpreting a given issue, in supporting your proposition with relevant examples and in following the Standard Written English. In an essay question, you are given a prompt or a short excerpt in which an issue is presented. An assignment is also given to you, which is against the prompt. You need to understand this issue completely and form your own opinion about the issue. Once you have formed your opinion, you need to compose an essay, reflecting your opinion. You have to frame your essay illustrating it with examples and facts from your reading, studies, observation and experiences. While writing your essay, you have to follow the principle of standard written English. You should be well aware of keeping a connection between your opinion and the given issue. Should you deviate from the topic, the evaluators will disqualify your essay. Moreover, do not forget that you have to use a No.2 pencil to compose your essay.

What are Some Useful Strategies to Answer the SAT Essay Questions?

The essay questions of SAT are surrounded by many myths about answering it suitably. You might be advised to read more work that is classical, use more examples and narrate a long five-page essay to get a better score in the essay section. These myths are inappropriate in reality. The essay evaluators are experts in identifying a good essay. You should develop your point of view with sufficient examples and reasons in your essay. That is the mantra of scoring high in this section. You have to read the issue carefully before forming your opinion. While composing the essay, you should not oversimplify your opinion. It is unnecessary to use abundant examples, which confuses the readers. Invest time in simplifying one particular example. Lastly, do not be afraid to use the ‘I’ element in your essay. As the essay asks about your opinion, you can give the thoughts and experiences of your own life. However, make sure, you are supporting them with enough reasons.

How Will the Evaluators Mark Your Essay?

The previous paragraph contains some recommendations for approaching your essay questions. Follow the basic rules for writing the essay and you can score high in the essay section. The evaluators mark you on a scale of 2-12. There are two evaluators who read your essay. Each of these evaluators will mark you on a scale of one to six. Your SAT essayscore depends on the combined score of these two evaluators. On an average, both the evaluators will mark you the same. However, in case, the evaluators differ by one mark or more, a third evaluator reads your essay and marks you. Your essay marks depend largely on your usage of proper vocabulary, flawless grammatical sentences and sufficient uses of facts and evidences in advocating your opinion.

In the essay, a score of 10 out of 12 is considered excellent. A test-taker may get a zero score in case he has written an essay not related with the topic or failed to abide by the requirements to write the essay. However, you will get a better grip at writing essays if you consult few of the sample essay papers.

Sample SAT Essay Questions

In order to clear all your doubts about the SAT essay, you should go through few of the sample essay questions. The official website of College Board provides few prompts of SAT essay.You may start composing essays based on these prompts. Once you have started your essay, you should keep in mind the exact course or pattern you will follow for writing the essay. Following are some of the sample essay prompts, which will help you in understanding the essays.

  1. Sample 1:
  2. The Prompt:

    Time has a doomsday book, on whose pages he is continually recording illustrious names. But as often as a new name is written there, an old one disappears. Only a few stand in illuminated characters never to be effaced.

    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Assignment: Are there some heroes who will be remembered forever? Or are all heroes doomed to be forgotten one day? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)

  3. Sample 2:
  4. The Prompt:

    Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.

    • Adapted from I've Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation, by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

    Assignment: Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in 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.

  5. Sample 3:
  6. The Prompt:

    Even scientists know that absolute objectivity has yet to be attained. It's the same for absolute truth. But, as many newspaper reporters have observed, the idea of objectivity as a guiding principle is too valuable to be abandoned. Without it, the pursuit of knowledge is hopelessly lost.

    • Adapted from "Focusing Our Values," Nieman Reports

    Assignment: Are people better at making observations, discoveries, and decisions if they remain neutral and impartial? Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

  7. Sample 4:
  8. The Prompt:

    Although most of us do not like being criticized, it is said that we can always benefit from being told what we are doing wrong. We may lose a valuable learning opportunity if we do not listen to the criticisms expressed by others. Yet criticism, even when honest and well intended, can be more harmful than helpful. We have more to gain by ignoring or shielding ourselves from the criticisms of others.

    Assignment Are people better off if they do not listen to criticism? 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.

  9. Sample 5:
  10. The Prompt:

    "Discipline" is a negative word for many people because it is associated with rigorous training, strict rules, and strong self-control. But we fail to realize that freedom comes only through discipline. Discipline compels us to sacrifice immediate rewards and pleasures, but it also gives our lives structure and prevents us from making costly mistakes. It keeps us from being subject to our impulses and weaknesses and thus frees us to achieve our true goals.

    Assignment Do people need discipline to achieve freedom? 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.

    You can score a complete 6 in all of the above essay prompts. However, there are certain standpoints you need to keep in mind before you approach the essay. Let us discuss the last sample essay, i.e. sample essay 5. Read the prompt carefully. It tells you the values of ‘discipline’ and the utility you derive from it. The assignment asks you to evaluate the role of ‘discipline’ in achieving freedom. You need to provide reasons and facts, which best describes your essay. Here is what you need to provide in the essay.

You need to have the correct positioning of strength and clarity of the topic. You got to present relevant examples supporting the argument, a flawless organization of paragraphs and have a command over vocabulary. You have to know perfect sentence construction and make a skillful selection of words in your essay. It is for these few perspective, that your essay will fetch you a complete 6.

These essay topics will help you get a gist of the essay section of the SAT. Your essay score will be based on your knowledge, as portrayed in the essay. You have to be clear of the issue given in essay questionsbefore developing your opinion. Use crisp yet legible words to bring out your opinion in the clearest manner.

If you want to practice the new SAT essay, good news! We have a passage and a prompt for you.

On the New SAT, the essay requires you to read a persuasive passage and then respond to it. The reading portion of the New SAT essay will always be adapted from a noteworthy original source—a famous author or prominent media outlet.

In your response, you need to analyze the argument made by the author. In this post, we’ll look at a written opinion piece that is adapted from Dean Ornish’s public speech from the TED Talks symposium. (Ornish is a prominent physician and nutritionist.) Sample answers with commentary will be given in a later post.

Adapted from Dean Ornish, “The Killer American Diet That’s Sweeping the Planet.” © 2006, TED Conferences, LLC. Originally published February 2006.

With all the legitimate concerns about AIDS, avian flu, and other debilitating diseases, I would like to bring your attention to another important and devastating global pandemic. This worldwide plague to human health takes the form of an international rise cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other disorders related to unhealthy eating.

Greater awareness of this growing problem is of crucial importance, because all three of these diseases are completely preventable for at least 95 percent of people who suffer them; the preventative cure is simply a matter of changing diet. This globalization of diet-related illness is occurring due to the influence the United States exerts on the world at large. One every continent, people are starting to eat like Americans, live like Americans, and die like Americans.

Heart, blood vessel, and weight-related diseases still kill more people than all other health maladies combined, not only in the United States, but also worldwide. Take the case of the Asian continent. In one generation, Asia has gone from having one of the lowest rates of heart disease and obesity and diabetes to one of the highest rates for these types of afflictions. Africa has seen similar growth in in diet-related health problems, with death from cardiovascular disease equal the HIV and AIDS fatalities over the last decade. At the core of this international pandemic is an epidemic of obesity. In America itself, obesity is seen in two-thirds of adults and 15% of children. This is a recent and significant shift in health within this country, with the United States Center for Disease Control reporting marked increase in obesity from 1985 onward.

Perhaps of greatest concern, this rapid increase in obesity rates has led to a worldwide growth in diabetes. Again we can look to the United States as a case study for the consequences of the modern American-style diet. In America diabetes has increased 70 percent just from 1995 to 2006. Because diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses have multiplied so exponentially in the USA, this may be the first generation in which American children live a shorter life span than their parents. This trend, which is happening not just in the United States but in many developed and developing nations that have recently adopted the American diet, is both pitiful and preventable.

It is of utmost importance to look at ways to reverse this new direction world health is moving in. We must act to prevent these life-style related maladies from becoming an intractable international problem. A good first step is to find out what kinds of eating habits could combat the effects of America’s killer diet. This step has been achieved. In research I have conducted with my colleagues, we have found that the traditional Asian diet is optimal for reversing obesity, heart disease, and even diabetes that is caught in its early stages.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, Asian people are starting to eat like Americans do, and are starting to get sick in the same way as Americans. To combat this effect, I have been working with a lot of the larger United States food companies. Through advertising, marketing, and food engineering, these companies can make it appealing and convenient to eat healthier foods. In fact, positive change on this front is already beginning to happen in the multinational food industry.

As part of my work as a nutritionist, I chair the advisory boards to McDonald’s, PepsiCo, ConAgra, Safeway, and Del Monte. With guidance from the medical and scientific community, these and other corporations are and they’re finding that it is good business to promote the health and wellbeing of their customers. The salads that you see at McDonald’s come from this collaborative work between food and health agencies. It is especially worth noting that McDonalds now offers an Asian-style salad. To give an additional hopeful example, The Pepsi Corporation has seen two-thirds of their revenue growth came from their healthier offerings.

The American approach to food focuses on convenience and flavor, often at the expense of wellness and nutrition. The world’s healthcare professionals, food manufacturers, and consumers must make an effort to turn this trend around, both in the United States and worldwide. If we can succeed in this health-driven goal, we will not just become more effective at preventing and curing things like obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. We will also be better equipped to take on all illnesses. The simple preventative practice of improved diet will reduce the need for expensive treatment of the sicknesses that come with unhealthy eating. This in turn we can free up resources for buying the drugs and intensive medical solutions that really are needed for treating AIDS, HIV, malaria, avian flu, and so on.

Write an essay in which you explain how Dean Ornish builds an argument to persuade his audience that the world should turn to better eating habits. In your essay, analyze how Ornish uses one or more of the features listed in the box above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Ornish’s claims, but rather explain how Ornish builds an argument to persuade his audience.


About David Recine

David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent. Currently, David lives in a small town in the American Upper Midwest. When he’s not teaching or writing, David studies Korean, plays with his son, and takes road trips to Minneapolis to get a taste of city life. Follow David on Google+ and Twitter!

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