Join Vince Kotchian for an in-depth discussion in this video Reviewing a sample SAT essay prompt, part of SAT Prep: Getting Started.
- The SAT Essay will always present you with some context which sets up a question and asks you to take a position on that question. In this movie I'll show you an example of a typical SAT essay prompt. So, this prompt you see here is a typical prompt. There's a paragraph of context and then it asks you a question, which is the assignment. So I'll read it for you. In many cultures, it is a virtue to be self-reliant, and people who produce great individual achievements are revered. However, humans are social creatures, and the groups we are all members of afford us the opportunity to reach greater heights than we ever could alone.
The feedback, support, and cooperation of others are all essential to help us achieve our best work. Assignment: Do we need others to reach our highest potential? Good question. So, this is a typical prompt in that it asks kind of an open-ended question, and you can really take either side here. You could say "yes, we do need others" or "no, we don't." Or maybe some combination of the two if you wanted to. And notice the context paragraph kind of separates the topic for you into two general positions. Again, either we do need others or we don't.
It's often really hard in this case to decide which side do you actually believe. You can probably brainstorm examples for both sides in a case like this. So, the best thing to do is probably just start brainstorming and pick the side that you think you have the most support for, or pick the side that you really feel most strongly about. It's probably the side that you're gonna be able to write an essay that's better for. Now, something you can do for the other side is that you wanna give it maybe a little bit of credit toward the end of your essay if you think that's required.
For example, you could say "well, most of the time "we do need others to help us "achieve our highest potential, "however there are a couple circumstances when we don't." And in general, of course, you do want to stick to a side so the reader who's reading your essay, and often who's reading your essay very quickly, is not confused about what your thesis or argument is saying. And one point I'll make as well about the context paragraph before the assignment, it's not really required that you use anything from that paragraph. In fact, the millions of other people who take the SAT that you take, will often use things directly from that paragraph.
So, in fact you might even be better off if you don't. It's just there to help you understand maybe the scope of the topic. So, remember the SAT essay is a chance for you to show not only your ability to write a good persuasive essay, but also to show the readers your thoughtfulness and flexibility. It's well worth your practice.
- Understanding the structure and scoring of the SAT
- Preparing a study strategy
- Note-taking and pacing
- Reviewing the SAT essay
- Answering grammar questions
- Learning SAT math techniques
- Improving reading comprehension
- Understanding passage-based reading questions