SAMPLE SAT ESSAY Topics

1. “Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.” — Adapted from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I’ve Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation

Assignment: Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in 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.

 

_______________________________________________________________________

2.

  • Some people and places have reputations that are greater than they deserve.
  • Some people and places have reputations that are less than they deserve.

Assignment: Choose one person or place that would illustrate one of these two statements. Then write an essay showing why you feel the person or the place is overrated. Consider carefully the following statement and the assignment below it. Then plan and write your essay as directed.

_______________________________________________________________________

3. “Once a person’s mind has been stretched by a new idea, it will never return to its original shape.”

Assignment: Select a book you have read, an idea you have discovered, or a specific experience you have had. Write an essay explaining how this book, idea, or experience has had a lasting effect on you.

SAT essay Topics

_______________________________________________________________________

4. I have experienced various things that have made me feel worthwhile, but I have never felt better than when ________.

Assignment: Write an essay completing this statement. Be sure to explain the reasons for your choice.

_______________________________________________________________________

5. “There’s no success like failure.”

What is your view on the idea that success can begin with failure?

Assignment: In an essay, support your position using an example (or examples) from literature, the arts, history, current events, politics, science and technology, or from your personal experience or observation.

_______________________________________________________________________

6. “Some people believe that war is never justified. Other people believe that war is justified under certain circumstances.”

Are people motivated to achieve by personal satisfaction rather than by money or fame?

Assignment: 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.

_______________________________________________________________________

7. “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value.” – Thomas Paine

Assignment: Do we value only what we struggle for? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)

_______________________________________________________________________

8. If we are afraid to reveal our lack of knowledge we will not be able to learn. In order to make progress we must admit where we are now. Such an admission of ignorance is not easy.  As Thoreau says, “How can we remember our ignorance which our growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all the time?”

Assignment: Does the present system of education encourage us to admit our lack of knowledge, or is there too much pressure to demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

9. “A little inaccuracy saves a world of explanation.” ~ C.E.Ayers

Assignment: Is it always essential to tell the truth, or are there circumstances in which it is better to lie? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

10. Many societies believe that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human right. But it is also true that attainment of happiness remains elusive. Perhaps Bertrand Russell had it right when he said, “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

Assignment: What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

11. “The price of greatness is responsibility.” ~ Winston Churchill

Assignment: Do we expect too much from our public figures? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

12. Prompt: “A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” ~ Alexander Pope

Assignment: Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

13. Prompt: “What man calls civilization always results in deserts. Man is never on the square – he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth. Each generation wastes a little more of the future with greed and lust for riches.” ~ Don Marquis

Assignment:  With our modern awareness of ecology are we likely to make sufficient progress in conservation, or are we still in danger of damaging the earth beyond repair? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

14.  “A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he is not a man of action. It is as if a tennis player before returning the ball stopped to think about his views of the physical and mental advantages of tennis. You must act as you breathe.” ~ Georges Clemenceau

Assignment: Is it true that acting quickly and instinctively is the best response to a crisis? Or are there times when an urgent situation requires a more careful consideration and a slower response? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

15. There is usually a kernel of truth in the words Oscar Wilde puts in the mouth of his most outrageous characters – they wouldn’t be funny otherwise. One such gem that is worth pondering is: The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

Assignment: Is it true that when we most need advice we are least willing to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

16. “Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.” Bernard Shaw expected to provoke controversy with these words, but I would agree with him that these days there is too much emphasis on independence. While it is certainly true that excessive dependence on others is not a sign of maturity, total independence of others is neither attainable nor desirable: we need to be mature, and unselfish enough to recognize our interdependence.

Assignment: Do we put too much emphasis on self-reliance and independence, and are we afraid of admitting that we need other people in our lives? Plan your response…

_______________________________________________________________________

17. “Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.”  ~ Adapted from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I’ve Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation

Assignment: Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in 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.

 

Share

Comments are closed.