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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 November 2014.

Prompt 1

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

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.

Prompt 2

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

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.

Prompt 3

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

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.

Prompt 4

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

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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