December 2014 - SAT Essay Prompts

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Essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration

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

Prompt 1

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

In decision making, we usually follow a reasoned process: weighing pros and cons, talking things over with a friend, and drawing on our past actions and experiences. In snap judgments—decisions that we make on the spot, with no reflection beforehand—we do not follow such a methodical decision-making process. Everything tells us that relying on snap judgments is unwise. We make such decisions, however, because they ultimately work out better than decisions to which we give a lot of thought.

Assignment: Are snap judgments better than decisions to which people give a lot of thought? 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.

Many people believe that one must care very deeply about something in order to do it well. Passionate commitment, they argue, is a characteristic of every great achiever in history. But caring very deeply about something can cloud one’s judgment and make it difficult to think clearly. More can be accomplished, in fact, with cool detachment. It is usually those who remain emotionally detached from their tasks who achieve the most.

Assignment: Is it better to care deeply about something or to remain emotionally detached? 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.

In this day and age, you must understand the overwhelming importance of owning unnecessary material. In the way we live now, you are not what you produce. You are what you buy. And outside of that which is found in a few aisles in the grocery and hardware stores, most of what you consume is totally unnecessary.

Adapted from James B. Twitchell, Living It Up: Our Love Affair with Luxury

Assignment: Is most of what people buy totally unnecessary? 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.

My father was my role model because he could do all of the things that I wanted to do in sports. I'm sure there are people like this in your life. You might have an older brother who is in college and is getting excellent grades. You can follow his lead by listening to what he says about doing well. Your role models don't have to be famous people. They can be the people you see and talk to every day.

Adapted from Derek Jeter (with Jack Curry), The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams

Assignment: Can people who are not famous be better role models than people who are famous? 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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