November 2005 - SAT Essay Prompts

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Essay prompts from the November 2005 SAT administration

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

Prompt 1

Beauty is not a quality in  people  or in objects themselves. It exists in the mind that perceives  those objects, and each mind perceives beauty differently. To seek real beauty, in some absolute sense, is pointless. Where one person sees beauty, another may even see the opposite. For this reason, we all ought to accept our own perceptions of who or what is beautiful, and not be influenced  by the perceptions of others.

Adapted from David Hume, “Of the Standard of Taste”

Assignment: Should our perceptions of  beauty be influenced by the perceptions of beauty of other people? 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 2

There are situations where flattery is mandatory: The bride is always beautiful. If we look at someone's artwork, we are obliged to say something complimentary to the artist. If we visit someone with a new baby, we are required to say the infant is cute. In  such situations, to say nothing is interpreted as rudeness. We compliment each other because we understand that flattery makes life run smoothly.

Adapted from Richard Stengel, You're Too Kind: A brief History of Flattery

Assignment:

Is praising others, even if the praise is excessive or undeserved, a necessary part of life? 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 3

Conflict is not necessarily bad, and it does not necessarily indicate a failed interaction. It is a signal, a message that says, “Things aren’t working around here. We’ve got to do something different.” Thus, conflict can be a catalyst-a motivating force-encouraging people to interact and communicate in ways that are more satisfying. Conflict can actually benefit people by pushing them to make necessary changes.

Adapted from Beverly Potter, From Conflict to Cooperation

Assignment:

Is conflict helpful? 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

What explains our increasing obsession with money and the things it can buy? It seems as though the acquisition of money is gradually replacing real measures of success, such as integrity, honesty, skill, and hard work.

Adapted from Alan Durning, “Limiting Consumption: Toward a Sustainable Culture”.

Assignment:

Has the acquisition of money and possessions replaced more meaningful ways of measuring our achievements? 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.

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