January 2009 - SAT Essay Prompts

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Essay prompts from the January 2009 SAT administration

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in January 2009.

Prompt 1

Planning lets people impose order on the chaotic processes of making or doing something new. Too much planning, however, can lead people to follow the same predetermined course of action, to do things the same way they were done before. Creative thinking is about breaking free from the way that things have always been. That is why it is vital for people to know the difference between good planning and too much planning.

Adapted from Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

Assignment:

Does planning interfere with creativity? 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

Most people underestimate their own abilities. They tend to remember their failures more vividly than their successes, and for this reason they have unrealistically low expectations about what they are capable of. Those individuals who distinguish themselves through great accomplishments are usually no more talented than the average person: they simply set higher tandards for themselves, since they have higher expectations about what they can do.

Assignment:

Do highly accomplished people achieve more than others mainly because they expect more of themselves? 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

People are taught that they should not go back on their decisions.In fact,our society supports the notion that to change your mind is evidence of weakness and unreliability,leading many people to say,"Once I decide,I decide!"But why do people make such a statement?If factors,feelings,and ideas change,isn't the ability to make a new decision evidence of lexibility,adaptability,and strength?sat

Adapted from Theodore I.Rubin,Compassion and Self-Hate

Assignment:

Should people change their decisions when cirsumstances change,or is it best for them to stick with their original ecisions?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

The history of human achievement is filled with stories of people who persevere, refusing to give up in the struggle to meet their goals. Artists and scientists, for instance, may struggle for years without any apparent progress or reward before they finally succeed. However, it is important to recognize that perseverance does not always yield beneficial results.

Adapted from Robert H. Lauer and Jeanette C. Lauer, Watersheds

Assignment:

Is striving to achieve a goal always the best course of action, or should people give up if they are not making progress? 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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