Sample Score 6 Sat Essay
SAT Essay Sample from the Official SAT Study Guide Practice Test 6
There is, of course, no legitimate branch of science that enables us to predict the future accurately. Yet the degree of change in the world is so overwhelming and so promising that the future, I believe, is far brighter than anyone has contemplated since the end of the Second World War.
Adapted from Allan E. Goodman, A Brief History of the Future: The United States in a Changing World Order
Assignment: Is the world changing for the better? 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.
World is changing, but not necessarily better, particularly from the perspective of the critical views and the non-symmetrical psychological effects of the many lingering negatice effects brought about by the changes.
SAT Sample Essay - Score of 6
Reactions to World Wars one and two in expressed by the artistic community and historically do not support the idea that the world is changing for the better. One example of the negative effects of World War two psychologically may be taken from Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony. The novel’s protagonist, Tayo, a young native american veteran living on a reservation, returns from his war experience severely mentally damaged, referring to himself at one point as “white smoke”. The novel expresses several times that Tayo is only one case of many damaged young native americans who return from this war. Elders of the Laguna native american tribe express distress at the fact that they will not be able to heal their returning World War two warriors with traditional war healing ceremonies, and Tayo believes this is because warfare has changed dramatically.
The tribe, losing many members to the war physically and psychologically, suffers weakening blows. It is clear that the difference between old warfare in which warriors could face their enemies and new warfare in which soldiers shoot blindly across distances is great. The destruction of modern warfare witnessed by the new veterans was devastating in a ruinous way as it never had been. The resulting threat of the disintegration of the tribe as old healing techniques fail weakens the tribe in ways it had never been weakened before.
A similar mental disintegration, tied in with a lack of optimism was seen a great deal following World War one. Before the war, old Enlightenment ideas of rational thought, progress, and the goodness of mankind abounded. The incredible and unprecedented destruction seen in World War one, however, combined with the psychological effect of the use of the newest mass-destruction and chemical weapons proved to quash the pre-war sentiment of optimism and post-Enlightenment zeal. New weapons such as mustard gas and machine guns could kill thousands in unspeakably brutal ways, and the casualties of the war, greater than any in history, showed the weapons to be very effective. The loss of human life in hundreds of thousands, combined with the destruction of European land at the end of World War one proved to crush the morale of the European populace and to discourage optimism with regard to scientific progress; scientific progress had only served to cause destruction and horror in war.
The negative psychological repercussions of World War one and two served to give people, particularly Europeans, a less optimistic view of the world and of mankind. The change in weaponry and style of warfare, visible in the example of Silko’s Ceremony, contribute to the the idea that the world was not changing for the better; the new warriors of Ceremony could not be healed, and the optimistic, naive vision of preworld war two Europe could not be restored. If man could cause such immense physical and psychological destruction with the products of scientific change, the world could not have changed for the better.
Hey SAT practicers! If you’re just joining us, this is Part 2 of a series of essay attempts to this new SAT essay practice prompt. If you haven’t done so already, try your hand at the essay first and then see how it compares to this essay and an 8-point essay. For reminders on how the new SAT is scored, you can go here. Also, if you simply can’t get enough of new SAT essay prompts, you can find another one here. Let’s get to writing!
Example 6-point New SAT Essay
In Barbara Ehrenreich’s article “The Selfish Side of Gratitude,” she argues that expressing gratitude has become a selfish act. Ehrenreich uses evidence from popular news sources, real world events and appeal to emotion to argue her thesis.
The first example Ehrenreich uses to show that gratitude has a selfish side is evidence from a popular news site. She says “much of the gratitude advice involves no communication or interaction of any kind” and then uses a CNN article from a yoga instructor to show that this is the case. If one looks at the advice, one will see that Ehrenreich has a point because the advice doesn’t mention showing gratitude to other people at all. This example is effective because it shows that the media is influencing our perception of gratitude and making us selfish about it.
Ehrenreich also uses real world events to show why gratitude has become a selfish act. She talks about the financial crash of 2008 and how it’s related to gratitude (“The financial crash of 2008 further dimmed the luster of positive thinking…This left the self-improvement field open to more cautious stances, like mindfulness and resilience and — for those who could still muster it — gratitude”). By discussing such a famous event, Ehrenreich not only grabs the audience’s attention, but shows how gratitude is related to the problematic way of thinking (positive thinking) that caused the horrible event in the first place.
Finally, Ehrenreich appeals to the emotions when she talks about how we need to show gratitude to other people. She says “there is a need for more gratitude, especially from those who have a roof over their heads and food on their table” which implies that rich people need to be more grateful to the poor people that help us. Then, she provides a lot of details about all the people that are involved in providing meals and how they have “aching backs and tenuous finances”. All these details about how tough the jobs of these people are and how they make up whole communities is heart-renching. Ehrenreich’s appeal to emotion is effective because it forces us to admit that not enough people show their gratitude to others in the way that Ehrenreich is describing.
Overall, Ehrenreich does a good job about making us realize that gratitude has a selfish side. She does that through using evidence in the form of popular news sources, real world events, and appeals to emotion.
Why this essay would receive an 6
If you were to talk to a College Board essay grader, I believe the key word you would hear from them in describing this essay is “competent.” Although there’s definite room for improvement, the writer showed competence in all three grading categories.
- Reading comprehension: In all the examples the writer used in their essay, the writer shows a solid understanding of the passage through paraphrasing and direct quotes from the passage. However, the writer could also have provided more details in their paraphrasing for a higher score. For example, the writer could have included quotes from the yoga instructor to bolster the statement “the advice doesn’t mention showing gratitude to other people at all.”
- Analysis: The writer also had a good understanding of what they were supposed to analyze. They discussed concrete examples taken from the text and explained what they served to do. For a higher score, the writer could have further developed details used from the passage (e.g. use better or additional evidence that linked the 2008 financial crash to gratitude) or elaborated further on the effectiveness of the examples they used (e.g. why exactly does “[forcing] us to admit that not enough people show their gratitude to others in the way that Ehrenreich is describing” prove that gratitude is selfish?)
- Writing: The writer has a good knowledge of how to organize their essay (though it might be too formulaic) and can more or less express themself clearly. Sometimes, however, they lapse into common speech (“…Ehrenreich appeals to the emotions when she talks about…”) and makes noticeable punctuation errors.
About Anika Manzoor
A former High School blogger, Anika now serves as the editor for Magoosh's company and exam blogs. In other words, she spends way too much time scouring the web for the perfect gif for a given post. She's currently an MPP candidate at Harvard University and wants her life back, so if you ever find it, please let her know.
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