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College Board Sample Sat Essay Prompts

In this article, we've compiled a list of the 14 real SAT essay prompts that the College Board has released (either in The Official SAT Study Guide or separately online) for the new SAT. This is the most comprehensive set of new SAT essay prompts online today.

college board sample sat essay prompts

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At the end of this article, we'll also guide you through how to get the most out of these prompts and link to our expert resources on acing the SAT essay. I'll discuss how the SAT essay prompts are valuable not just because they give you a chance to write a practice essay, but because of what they reveal about the essay task itself.

While most colleges had already made SAT Essay scores optional, this move by the College Board means no colleges now require the SAT Essay. It will also likely lead to additional college application changes such not looking at essay scores at all for the SAT or ACT, as well as potentially requiring additional writing samples for placement.

SAT essay prompts always keep to the same basic format. Not only is the prompt format consistent from test to test, but what you're actually asked to do (discuss how an author builds an argument) also remains the same across different test administrations.

The College Board has released a limited number of prompts to help students prep for the essay. We've gathered them for you here, all in one place. We'll be sure to update this article as more prompts are released for practice and/or as more tests are released.

SPOILER ALERT: Since these are the only essay prompts that have been released so far, you may want to be cautious about spoiling them for yourself, particularly if you are planning on taking practice tests under real conditions. This is why I've organized the prompts by the 10 that are in the practice tests (so you can avoid them if need be), the ones that are available online as sample prompts, and the ones that are in the text of the Official SAT Study Guide (Redesigned SAT), all online for free.

Special note: The prompt for Practice Test 4 also appears on the College Board's site with real sample essays written in response. If you've written a practice essay for practice test 4 and want to see what essays of different score levels look like for that particular prompt, you can go there and look at eight real student essays.

The Official SAT Study Guide (editions published in 2015 and later available online for free) contains all 10 of the previously mentioned practice tests at the end of the book. In the section about the new SAT essay, however, there are two additional sample essay prompts (accompanied by articles to analyze).

Using sample SAT Essay prompts, set aside 50 minutes to work through them as you would with the test day prompt. Compare your response to that of the student examples provided at different score points to discover possible weaknesses in your reading, analytics, and writing skills that you'll need to focus on in your preparations. For more objective feedback, consider working with a friend, your parents, or a teacher. Our partner Khan Academy has an SAT Essay practice tool where you can submit essay drafts against practice prompts and get real-time feedback.

For practice, you could write an entire essay on one of the prompts, or you could identify one historical, one literary, and one current event example that could be useful for each prompt. If you have taken a course at our center, you will remember that you should research and memorize 5 literary, 5 historical, and 5 current event examples on a variety of topics before you walk into the test. This strategy saves you valuable time and ensures your examples are detailed, accurate, and original.

The majority of U.S. universities and colleges do not require prospective students to submit their SAT essay scores. While the SAT Essay is technically optional, however, it may be a wise addition to competitive applications.

The SAT Essay is often used as an extra way to impress admissions officers with your overall academic preparedness. But what does a good essay look like vs a bad one? To make life easier, the College Board has provided some helpful SAT essay samples that you can study over.

Below is a sample synthesis essay question, sample scoring guidelines, comments from the Chief Reader about the sample student essays, seven sample student responses, and scoring commentary for each sample.

Over the years, the college admission process has become quite complicated. Basically, the SAT exam is a common requirement for admission into most colleges in the United States. In this case, an SAT essay is one of the tests in the SAT exam, which students may decide to complete. Moreover, this form of essay writing differs from the standard essay types. Consequently, it is vital for individuals who are planning to take the SAT essay test to prepare adequately and internalize this unique form of essay writing. Therefore, this manual provides students with detailed explanations concerning the SAT essay with a focus on the writing style, scoring rubric, and best practices for attaining high scores in the SAT essay.

The College Board developed the SAT essay is an optional test for college applicants. For example, many universities require applicants to take SAT essay prompts and share their SAT essay score reports as part of the college application. In this case, the SAT essay test is not a mandatory SAT section for all colleges, which explains its optional status. Then, colleges encourage applicants to complete the SAT essay because it provides additional information that the admissions office may use to determine the college readiness of an individual. Moreover, the College Board releases a schedule that identifies seven test dates in different months when an interested party can take the SAT exam. Typically, all test dates fall on Saturday because most examinees are high school goers, which makes the avoidance of conflict between the regular school program and SAT a priority.

The skills evaluated by using SAT essay prompts take a substantial amount of time to master, which makes consistent practice a useful strategy for increasing an individual score. In this case, students should allocate adequate time to familiarise themselves with the SAT essay. Moreover, there are many resources that a person may utilize in preparing for the SAT essay:

The writing dimension of the SAT essay follows rather rigid criteria, which makes its assessment to be straightforward. Mostly, an SAT follows the standard five-paragraph essay structure. Also, the SAT essay must have an introduction, at least two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In this case, the college board committee expects a thesis statement at the end of the informative introduction. Besides, the body paragraphs should comply with paragraph structure guidelines, which implies that each body paragraph has a topic sentence, evidence from the source text, a detailed but concise evaluation of the evidence, and a transition statement that binds the one paragraph to the next. In turn, markers take an interest in the sentence structure variety and other mechanics of language in calculating the rating for the writing dimension of the SAT essay score.

The overview of the practice essay provides much insight that is useful in responding to sample SAT essay prompts. The practice essay familiarises the examinee with the structure of the essay prompt and the expectations of the examiner. Prior exposure to the structure of the essay prompt reduces the likelihood of incorrect interpretation. The previous example made the expectations of the marker apparent because it explains the core features that graders typically look for during the rating process. This information is useful because it enables the author to develop a mind-set identical to the markers, which aids in suitable content generation. Equally important, the review outlines some of the common mistakes, which an author strives to avoid while responding to the SAT essay prompt, for instance, overreliance on direct quotes for expression.

  • With updated guidance and practice problems that reflect the most recent information, this new edition takes the best-selling SAT guide and makes it even more relevant and useful. Be ready for the SAT with strategies and up-to-date information straight from the exam writers.The Official SAT Study Guide will help students get ready for the SAT with:8 official SAT practice tests, written in the exact same process and by the same team of authors as the actual exam.

  • detailed descriptions of the math and evidenced based reading and writing sections.

  • targeted practice questions for each SAT question type.

  • guidance on the essay, including practice essay questions with sample responses.

  • seamless integration with Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy.

The fact that more colleges are lifting their ACT/SAT requirement does not imply that either test or any component of it is now obsolete. Students who must write the SAT essay can still stand to gain from doing so, especially those who wish to major in a writing-intensive field. The essay can also demonstrate a progression or upward trajectory in writing skills.

The SAT essay can give a boost to the college applications of the few students to whom it is still available. If the requirement applies to you, be sure to learn more about the SAT essay and practice it often as you prepare for your upcoming SAT.

Also, decide if you take the SAT essay. For that, find out if your chosen colleges require such essays. Also, check if they ask applicants to take SAT Subject Tests (they are given by College Board on individual subjects).

This is a brand new essay, and it is brand new for everyone. The people who will be grading your essay will have been trained to grade it like the sample essays that are on the website, so these free samples and the reasons why they got the scores they did are a gold mine of information. Remember, you too are writing for a specific audience: the SAT graders. So know what they are looking for and write for them.


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