May 2013 - SAT Essay Prompts

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Essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in May 2013.

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in May 2013.

Prompt 1

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

People use the term “wisdom” to mean many things. They describe someone as wise if that person is intelligent, well-informed, or capable of making good decisions. These descriptions, however, are not really useful in distinguishing wise people from unwise ones. Happiness is a better measure of wisdom: a wise person is a happy person. Even the most intelligent people should not be called wise if they are not happy.

Assignment: Is it best to determine how wise people are by how happy they are? 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.

We live in an era of individualism. The individual is celebrated and praised in every way—for being special and creative, for making an original contribution, for competing with others to be the best. Nowadays individualism is a guiding idea for many people and has many benefits. But focusing on individuals has caused us to neglect our sense of community, our feeling that we are part of a harmonious group. The importance of belonging to a community has been forgotten.

Adapted from Piero Ferrucci, The Power of Kindness

Assignment: Has the emphasis on individualism in our society caused people to forget the importance of belonging to a community? 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.

We live in a world that values action over thought. The idea of taking time to reflect and think things through is out of favor. Our most popular movies and novels focus on action, not reflection, and our most admired public figures are praised for what they do, not for what they think. While there is something to be said for taking action instinctively and without hesitation, the fact is that people put too much emphasis on action.

Assignment: Is it a mistake to value action over thought? 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

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

No one knows how the future will turn out. Faced with this uncertainty, some people choose to live as though the only thing that matters is now. Instead of planning for the future, they devote their energy to enjoying the present. How misguided! They should spend their time today preparing for the future. Knowledge, skills, and resources they work to acquire now will serve them long after the pleasures of today are forgotten.

Assignment: Is preparing for the future more important than enjoying the present? 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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