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Sat Essay Heroes

December 2010 – SAT Essay Prompt

If you took the December 2010  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.

Again and again we hear the complaint that we have no heroes anymore. Heroes—people who should be admired for their great courage or noble achievements—are no longer recognized in our modern world. Many people, in fact, believe that heroes existed only in the past. But this belief is wrong. Because more praise is given to the latest technological innovation than to one individual's heroic achievements, we may not be aware of our heroes, but we do have them.

Assignment:

Is it possible to be a hero in the modern 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 2

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

Technology has dramatically increased the speed with which we can communicate and share information. Some people are critical of this development, claiming that rapid communication, often made possible by some form of technology, discourages people from focusing at length on any one topic, shortens their attention spans, and prevents them from truly learning about the world and people around them. But what is wrong with how instantly and easily information is communicated thanks to the wonders of modern technology?

Assignment:

Does the way that information is communicated today result in people learning less than ever before? 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.

Is a temporary or partial solution to a problem better than no solution at all? Many people would say so. All that humanity can hope to accomplish is to find workable solutions to the serious problems of the world. Others would argue, however, that the world's serious problems are, in fact, caused by the so-called solutions. These solutions are creating problems more serious than the problems they are addressing.

Assignment:

Do temporary or otherwise imperfect solutions to problems only create more serious problems? 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.

Choice improves the quality of our lives. On the other hand, the fact that some choice is good doesn't necessarily mean that more choice is better. There is a problem with having too much choice. We are unwilling to give up any of our options, but stubbornly insisting upon having all the choices available to us can lead to bad decisions, stress, and dissatisfaction.

Adapted from Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Assignment:

Is it better for people to have limited choices? 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.

More Information

June 2007 – SAT Essay Prompt

If you took the June 2007 SAT Reasoning Test, 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. People are happy only when they have their minds fixed on some goal other than their own happiness. Happiness comes when people focus instead on the happiness of others, on the improvement of humanity, on some course of action that is followed not as a means to anything else but as an end in itself. Aiming at something other than their own happiness, they find happiness along the way. The only way to be happy is to pursue some goal external to your own happiness. Adapted from John Stuart Mill, Autobiography

Assignment:
Are people more likely to be happy if they focus on goals other than their own happiness? 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. Heroes may seem old-fashioned today. Many people are cynical and seem to enjoy discrediting role models more than creating new ones or cherishing those they already have. Some people, moreover, object to the very idea of heroes, arguing that we should not exalt individuals who, after all, are only flesh and blood, just like the rest of us. But we desperately need heroes to teach us, to captivate us through their words and deeds, to inspire us to greatness. Adapted from Psychology Today, “How To Be Great! What Does It Take To Be A Hero?”

Assignment:
Is there a value in celebrating certain individuals as heroes? 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 advancements that have been made over the past hundred years or more are too numerous to count. But has there been progress? Some people would say that the vast number of advancements tells us we have made progress. Others, however, disagree, saying that more is not necessarily better and that real progress in politics, literature, the arts, science and technology, or any other field can be achieved only when an advancement truly improves the quality of our lives.

Assignment:
Have modern advancements truly improved the quality of people’s 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.

Prompt 4
It is not true that prosperity is better for people than adversity. When people are thriving and content, they seldom feel the need to look for ways to improve themselves or their situation. Hardship, on the other hand, forces people to closely examine and possibly change their own lives and even the lives of others. Misfortune rather than prosperity helps people to gain a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Assignment:
Do people truly benefit from hardship and misfortune? 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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