October 2008 - SAT Essay Prompts

Home > SAT Test > SAT Essay > SAT Essay Prompts

Essay prompts from the October 2008 SAT administration

If you took the October 2008 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.

We are frequently told that compromise is the best way for people to work out their differences. When people compromise, with each side losing a little in order to reach a satisfactory agreement, both sides can continue to live in harmony. However, compromise can work only when the issues at stake are not that important. Compromise does not work when there is a genuine difference of opinion about strongly held principles or ideas.

Assignment:

Is compromise always the best way to resolve a conflict? 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.

People usually assume that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it. We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible and then spending as much time as possible analyzing that information. But there are times when making a quick judgment is the best thing to do. Decisions made quickly can be as good as decisions made slowly and cautiously.

Adapted from Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Assignment:

Are decisions made quickly just as good as decisions made slowly and carefully? 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.

It is unrealistic to think that any group of people—a family, a committee, a company, a city—can function peacefully and productively without some kind of authority. The needs and interests of the individuals who make up any group are too varied for its members to operate as a unit without having someone to make the final decisions. Somebody has to be in charge; somebody has to be ultimately responsible.

Assignment:

Can a group of people function effectively without someone being in charge? 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