October 2005 - SAT Essay Prompts

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Essay prompts from the October 2005 SAT administration

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in October 2005.

Prompt 1

Success in life is largely a matter of luck. It has little correlation with merit. And in all fields of life there have always been people of great merit who did not succeed.

Karl Popper, Popper Selections

As Colin Powell said, “there are no secrets to success. Don’t waste time looking for them. Success is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Adapted from Barry Farber, “Selling Points”

Assignment:

Is success in life earned or do people succeed because they are lucky? 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

Celebrities have the power to attract “communities” of like-minded followers; they provide an identity that people can connect to and call their own. Celebrities are trusted; they stand for certain ideas and values to which followers can express allegiance.

Adapted from William Greider, Who Will Tell the People?

Admiration for celebrities is often accompanied by contempt for “average” people. As we focus on the famous, other people become less important to us. The world becomes populated with a few “some bodies” and an excess of “near-nobodies.”

Adapted from Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen, Wizards of Media Oz

Assignment:

Is society's admiration for famous people beneficial or harmful? 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

This is a time for shallowness.  Seriousness is so rare these days that we tend to make all kinds of allowances for those who only seem to possess it. In this way, shallow ideas are not recognized for that they are, and they are increasingly mistaken for deep thoughts.

Adapted from Margaret Talbot, “The Perfectionist”.

Assignment:

Do we live in a time when people do not engage in serious thinking? 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 observation.

Prompt 4

Nowadays nothing is private: our culture has become too confessional and self-expressive. People think that to hide one’s thoughts or feelings is to pretend not to have those thoughts or feelings. They assume that honesty requires one to express every inclination and impulse.

Adapted from J. David Velleman, “the Genesis of Shame”

Assignment:

Should people make more of an effort to  keep some things private? 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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