December 2009 – SAT Essay Prompt

If you took the December 2009 SAT Reasoning Test, 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. Thanks to the Internet, the word “friendship” now has a much broader meaning. No longer are the bonds of friendship limited to telephone conversations, shared activities, or speaking face-to-face. In this day and age, very close friendships can be formed without the people ever meeting and by simply typing words on a screen. Adapted from Sharon Hendricks, “A Broader Definition of Friendship”

Assignment:
Is it easier now to form friendships than ever before? 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. An Internet phone service is offering unlimited free telephone calls for anyone who signs up. There is only one catch: the company will use software to listen to customers’ phone conversations and then send customers advertisements based on what they have been talking about. For example, if they talk about movies with their friends, advertisements for movies will appear on their computer screens. Commentators have voiced concern about customers’ giving up their privacy in exchange for phone service.

Assignment:
Should people give up their privacy in exchange for convenience or free services? 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. People are often criticized for working out their own ideas before learning all that others have discovered about a problem or subject. But those people are right; it is possible to know too much, especially at first. The time for thorough inquiry and extensive research is later, after you have made your own discoveries and come to your own conclusions. Adapted from Charles Horton Cooley, Life and the Student

Assignment:
Is it better for people to work out their own ideas on a problem or issue before learning how others have approached it? 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.