May 2011 - SAT Essay Prompts

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Essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in May 2011.

May 7, 2011 – SAT Essay Prompts

If you took the May 7, 2011 SAT, you would have been given one of the essay prompts below:

Prompt 1

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

Most of us tend to find rules, limits, and restraints irritating. We want to be free of anything that limits our choices. But limitations protect us. Without limitations on our behavior, too many of us will act without regard to the consequences for ourselves, for others, and for the future. Limitations contribute to, rather than take away from, our overall happiness.

Assignment:

Do rules and limitations contribute to a person's happiness? 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.

People today seem to spend most of their free time being passively entertained: they just sit on the couch and watch movies or television or sporting events. This is mainly because they use up all their energy at work or at school. If they had more time and energy to devote to activities outside of work or school, you can be sure they would enjoy more creative and active pursuits during their free time.

Assignment:

If people worked less, would they be more creative and active during their free time? 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.

While serious thinking about important matters may disturb people in the short term, it benefits them immeasurably in the long term. Only by confronting unpleasant truths and by weighing both sides of complex issues can people understand the facts—whether in history, politics, literature, or their own lives—and make appropriate decisions. People may find it difficult, or uncomfortable, to think seriously about important matters, but not doing so means that they are leading lives without meaning or purpose.

Assignment:

Does every individual have an obligation to think seriously about important matters, even when doing so may be difficult? 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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