May 3, 2014 – SAT Essay Prompts

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in May 2014.

Prompt 1

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

We place far too much emphasis on experience and achievement in our society. We tend to judge people based on what they’ve done rather than on what they can do. But looking only at someone’s experience and achievements ignores how that person may develop or what that person may become. We can only determine people’s true worth by what they are capable of doing, not by what they have already done.

Assignment: Should people be judged by their potential rather than by their experience and achievements? 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 all have authority figures we need to deal with on a regular basis—parents, teachers, bosses, coaches, and others. Usually, we follow their advice and do what they tell us to do because they have more experience and knowledge than we do. However, sometimes we disagree with someone who holds authority over us and need to stand up for ourselves, even if it means suffering negative consequences.

Assignment: Should we express our disagreement with authority figures, even if there are negative consequences? 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.

Many people believe that it is important to plan ahead and to work toward an accomplishment that may take years to achieve, even if doing so means giving up immediate pleasures and fun. To these people, the end result of such an achievement is worth making sacrifices for in the present. Others, though, believe that it is much more important to focus on enjoying the present because it is impossible to predict what will happen in the future and because life’s joyful moments are so rare.

Assignment: Should people focus on enjoying the present moment instead of following a plan for future achievement? 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.

Public opinion—the sum of the attitudes or beliefs held by a majority of the population—is primarily expressed through the media or public opinion polls. Leaders and politicians are often swayed by it, believing that public opinion is everything. Yet true leaders should not listen to what the public thinks; they should follow their own convictions, whether or not the majority of their fellow citizens agree with them.