SAT Essay Sample 5 from Barron's Writing Workbook

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SAT Essay Sample 5 from Barron's Writing Workbook for the New SAT

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following statement:

SAT Essay Prompt

J.K. Rawlings maintains that “The most important things in friendship are tolerance and loyalty.” Are tolerance and loyalty the most important things in a friendship?


Plan and write and essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. If you think other qualities are more important than tolerance and loyalty, be sure explain. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your readings, experiences or observations.

David's Essay - Score of 6

Friendship is made up of many components. I would have to say that tolerance and loyalty certainly are important, but because there are so many parts to a good friendship, it is difficult to judge whether they are the most important qualities. Many other pieces of a friendship are vital, but some of them may grow from a basis of tolerance and/or loyalty.

Trust, for example, is something that is definitely important in any successful relationship. It is difficult to work with anyone you don’t have faith in. They could be telling halftruths or they may be unreliable. Without trust people would be forced to do everything themselves and would become socially isolated. However, it is possible that loyalty is more important than trust, because a friend’s loyalty may be a source of trust. If someone sees that a loyal friend has come through for him or her time and time again, trust will develop. And one must ask one’s self if a disloyal friend could ever be trusted.

Though I agree that loyalty is certainly one of the most important factors in a friendship, I do not know if I agree that tolerance is as well. Tolerance, I’m sure, helps a friendship, but it may not be as necessary as many other parts. Friends are often the first to critique work and point out flaws. Often times a friend’s lack of tolerance can help a person improve themselves. Competition is also very common between friends, and that is just not tolerating the fact that one will be beaten. Also, wouldn’t it make sense that someone would be a friend that they find easier to tolerate than most other people? Nontolerance seems to be a big part of friendship too.

I think that acceptance is more important than tolerance in a friendship. One must accept the flaws of a friend at times, but many of a friend’s problems are solved because they are not tolerated. It is important to accept a friend for who they are, but not everything they do must be tolerated. No friendship is perfect, but that does not mean that attempting perfection is out of the question.


Whew, this young man really likes long sentences, doesn’t he? For the most part, however, he handles them well. Only one or two become a bit convoluted and would probably have been better if broken up into smaller bits.

There is nothing wrong with long sentences, nor is there anything wrong with short ones. After all, both William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are authors worth reading. Nevertheless, variety is encouraged. Sometimes, as in David’s response, a sentence may become so long that its focus becomes lost. However, let’s remember that this is a 25-minute writing, and that leaves little time for any major reworking of your sentences.

This is a good response to the prompt. It disagrees a bit with Rawlings, and it adds some thoughts and ideas. That is commendable. You will not be graded up or down for agreeing or disagreeing with a prompt. This essay defines tolerance differently than the first response. This is a good response to this prompt, and would, no doubt, earn a five from an SAT Essay reader. 

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