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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 January 2016.

Prompt 1

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

Before we make an important decision, it seems wise to gather as much information as possible concerning what action to take. Much of the information we gather when pondering a decision comes to us in the form of advice from others. We should realize, however, that no two people have exactly the same goals or values that influence behavior. Perhaps it is best to focus our attention on our opinions and to make decisions according to them.

 

Assignment: How much importance should we place on the advice of others when making an important decision? 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.

Writer Anatole France once said, "If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." This statement is true, but only if foolishness and wisdom are absolute qualities that do not change over time. In our world of relative values, if a foolish thing is repeated often enough by a sufficient number of people, it begins to sound reasonable or even brilliant. Nonsense, repeated often and with conviction, has a way of becoming widely accepted as wisdom.

 

Assignment: Do frequent repetition and widespread acceptance make a foolish thing seem wise? 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.

The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy once observed that "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." This observation is as true today as it was when Tolstoy made it over a century ago. People are always ready to blame the state of the world, including the behavior of others, for anything that goes wrong, but they never imagine that they themselves might be the ones who need to change.

Assignment: Should people think about changing themselves instead of trying to change the world? 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.

In a speech in 1775, British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke stated, "All government—indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act—is founded on compromise." It does seem that compromise is important to the work of governments, but is it really essential to every interaction with others? Surely there are situations in which compromise is not the best course of action.

Assignment: Are there situations in which compromise is not the best course of action? 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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