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SAT Essay Prompts

Essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in March 2014.

Prompt 1

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

Many people are philanthropists, giving money to those in need. And many people believe that those who are rich—those who can afford to give the most—should contribute the most to charitable organizations. Others, however, disagree. Why should those who are more fortunate than others have more of a moral obligation to help those who are less fortunate?

Assignment: Should people who are more fortunate than others have more of a moral obligation to help those who are less fortunate? 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.

Our culture puts entirely too much emphasis on popular entertainment. Of course, we all need to be distracted occasionally, but if we spend a lot of time browsing our favorite websites, watching television, playing video games, or updating our social networking accounts, we are merely avoiding life’s more important realities. Moreover, none of these activities helps us develop any of the skills or acquire any of the knowledge we need to succeed in the real world.

Assignment: Can popular entertainment offer us anything of value, or is it just a worthless distraction? 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.

By never being satisfied with what we have, we are never content. Our focus on growth, progress, and the idea of “more” makes us fundamentally unhappy, always seeking more than what we need. I used to believe greatly in “growth,” but I’ve changed my mind. It now makes sense to me that growth for growth’s sake creates a fundamental dissatisfaction with what I have.

Adapted from Ron McDonald, The Spirituality of Community Life: When We Come ’Round Right

Assignment: Do growth and progress make us happy or do they lead to dissatisfaction? 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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