April 2006 - SAT Essay Prompts

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Essay prompts from the April 2006 SAT administration

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in April 2006.

Prompt 1

Inconsistency is commonly thought to be an undesirable personality trait, and inconsistent people are viewed as indecisive and weak willed. On the other hand, firm commitment to an idea or plan of action is associated with personal and intellectual strength, stability, and honesty. Thus, once we have made a choice or taken a stand, it is best not to change.

Adapted from Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: How and Why People Agree to Things

Assignment: Is it best not to change our ideas, opinions, or behaviors? 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

A teenager challenges everything and , by forming habits of intellectual and emotional independence, makes himself or herself into an adult. In a similar way, all people can learn the behaviors that they need to become the people they want to be. We can all change ourselves ---- our behaviors, our goals, our relationships ---- because our potential for change is unlimited.

Adapted from Richard Stiller, Habits

Assignment: Is our ability to change ourselves unlimited, or are there limits on our ability to make important changes in our lives? 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

It is widely believed that people do their best work when  they are promised  rewards  for their achievements. Our schools and workplaces operate on the assumption that good work occurs when people are competing for grades, money, or recognition from others. In truth, the prospect of rewards provided by others can inhibit and limit people’s drive and creativity. People do their best work when motivated from within by their enjoyment  of a particular challenge and their satisfaction in doing something well.

Assignment: What do you think motivates people to do their best? 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

Young people should have the right to control and direct their own learning ---- that is, to decide what they want to learn, when, and where. If we take from someone his or her right to decide what to be curious about, we destroy that person’s freedom of thought. We say, in effect, “you must think about what interests and concerns us, not you.”

Adapted from John Holt, “The Right to Control One’s Learning”

Assignment:

Should each individual decide what and how to learn? 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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