October 2009 – SAT Essay Prompt

If you took the October 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. Both in society and in our own lives, today’s problems are serious and require serious solutions. Increasingly, however, people are taught to laugh at things that aren’t usually funny and to cope with difficult situations by using humor. They are even advised to surround themselves with funny people. There is strong evidence that laughter can actually improve health and help fight disease. Adapted from Marshall Brain, How Laughter Works

Assignment:
Is using humor the best way to approach difficult situations and problems? 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. Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. You need one because you are human. You didn’t come from nowhere. Before you, around you, and, presumably, after you, there are others. Even if you live alone and even if your solitude is by your own choice, you still cannot do without a network or a family. Adapted from Jane Howard, All Happy Clans Are Alike: In Search of the Good Family

Assignment:
Does everyone, even people who choose to live alone, need a network or family? 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.