Sat Essay Prompts Categories Of Tornadoes
The redesigned SAT Essay asks you to use your reading, analysis, and writing skills.
It’s About the Real World
The SAT Essay is a lot like a typical college writing assignment in which you’re asked to analyze a text. Take the SAT with Essay and show colleges that you’re ready to come to campus and write.
What You’ll Do
- Read a passage.
- Explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience.
- Support your explanation with evidence from the passage.
The SAT’s essay component has had a total makeover:
- It’s optional—but some schools will require it. Get College SAT Essay policies.
- You have 50 minutes to complete your essay, 25 minutes more than the required essay on the old SAT.
- You won’t be asked to agree or disagree with a position on a topic or to write about your personal experience.
Watch the Video
The Essay Prompt
The prompt (question) shown below, or a nearly identical one, is used every time the SAT is given.
As you read the passage below, consider how [the author] uses evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
- evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
- reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
- stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
Write an essay in which you explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience that [author’s claim]. In your essay, analyze how [the author] uses one or more of the features listed above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of [his/her] argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Your essay should not explain whether you agree with [the author’s] claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience.
You can count on seeing the same prompt no matter when you take the SAT with Essay, but the passage will be different every time.
All passages have these things in common:
- Written for a broad audience
- Argue a point
- Express subtle views on complex subjects
- Use logical reasoning and evidence to support claims
- Examine ideas, debates, or trends in the arts and sciences, or civic, cultural, or political life
- Always taken from published works
All the information you need to write your essay will be included in the passage or in notes about it.
What the SAT Essay Measures
The SAT Essay shows how well you understand the passage and use it as the basis for a well-written, thought-out discussion. The two people who score your essay will each award between 1 and 4 points in each of these three categories:
Reading: A successful essay shows that you understood the passage, including the interplay of central ideas and important details. It also shows an effective use of textual evidence.
Analysis: A successful essay shows your understanding of how the author builds an argument by:
- Examining the author’s use of evidence, reasoning, and other stylistic and persuasive techniques
- Supporting and developing claims with well-chosen evidence from the passage
Writing: A successful essay is focused, organized, and precise, with an appropriate style and tone that varies sentence structure and follows the conventions of standard written English.
Take a look at the SAT Essay rubric, or guidelines, scorers use to evaluate every essay.
Who Should Take the SAT with Essay
You don’t have to take the SAT with Essay, but if you do, you’ll be able to apply to schools that require it. Find out which schools require or recommend the SAT Essay. If you don’t register for the SAT with Essay at first, you can add it later.
SAT fee waivers cover the cost of the SAT with Essay.
If you take the SAT with Essay, your essay scores will always be reported along with your other scores from that test day. Even though Score Choice™ allows you to choose which day’s scores you send to colleges, you can never send only some scores from a certain test day. For instance, you can’t choose to send Math scores but not SAT Essay scores.
Reminder: Check the Score Choice policies of every college you’re applying to, because some schools require you to send scores from every time you’ve taken the SAT. If this sounds intimidating, keep in mind that many colleges consider your best.
UPDATE: Aug. 9th
University of Chicago Adds Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2
Chicago once again has shaken things up, introducing ED I and ED 2 along with their traditional early action program.
- As of a couple of weeks ago, Chicago now has ED1 November 1 (and ED2 January 1) in addition to Early Action November 1. SAT and ACT scores are now self-reported at first, same as APs. Of course, if you are admitted you have to send an official score report, but this seems sensible—why penalize the 90% who aren’t admitted with score report fees?
College Essays Count!
Here they come!!! College’s supplemental essay prompts are starting to be released with The University of Chicago leading the charge. Two supplement prompts have been posted, one of which is required and the other optional.
Question 1 (Required):
- How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.
Question 2 (Optional):
- Share with us a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, blogs, magazines, or newspapers. Feel free to touch on one, some, or all of the categories listed, or add a category of your own.
U Chicago has become known for their quirky essay prompts, generated each year by current students. This year their six extended essay prompt options don’t disappoint. Students must choose one of the six which range anywhere from creating your own idiom and telling of its origin to describing something vestigial and providing an explanation for its existence. They are:
Essay Option 1.
What is square one, and can you actually go back to it? —Inspired by Maya Shaked, Class of 2018
Essay Option 2. Once, renowned physicist Werner Heisenberg said: “There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomizing what should not be atomized. Unity and complimentarity constitute reality.” Whether it’s Georges Seurat’s pointillism in “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, quantum physics, or any other field of your choosing, when can the parts be separated from the whole and when can they not?—Inspired by Ender Sahin, Class of 2020
Essay Option 3. The ball is in your court—a penny for your thoughts, but say it, don’t spray it. So long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, beat around the bush, or cut corners, writing this essay should be a piece of cake. Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. PS: A picture is worth a thousand words. —Inspired by April Bell, Class of 2017, and Maya Shaked, Class of 2018 (It takes two to tango.)
Essay Option 4. Alice falls down the rabbit hole. Milo drives through the tollbooth. Dorothy is swept up in the tornado. Neo takes the red pill. Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Rather, tell us about its portal. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about. —Inspired by Raphael Hallerman, Class of 2020
Essay Option 5. Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution. In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure. Describe something vestigial (real or imagined) and provide an explanation for its existence. —Inspired by Tiffany Kim, Class of 2020
Essay Option 6. In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose your own question or choose one of our past prompts. Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun.
Whether you are writing your Common App essay or going after supplements, keeping admissions officers interested and engaged and letting the know how you think is key. Here are some of our tips for doing so:
Top Tier’s Top Quick and Easy Essay Tips
- Be Authentic.
- Demonstrate who YOU are outside of your grades and test scores through your writing.
- Choose Your Words Carefully.
- Most college essays have a word limit which means you need to carefully consider every word you enter into the Common Application, whether for a main essay, a supplement, or a why essay, etc.
- Use ACTION Words In Your Writing.
- Admissions officers want to read about the action you’ve taken, the progress you’ve made, the work you are doing, the scholarly evidence you offer –so action words are key!
- Use a Great Opening Hook.
- I had no idea how poor people in Africa were until saw them when I went on safari in Kenya last summer.
- College holds vast potentialities for the optimization of my intellect and ability to succeed in the personal financial arena.
- I was up late last night trying to figure out what to write for my college essay when the idea finally hit me!
- I am my own favorite fictional character.
- Every October, the dry winds arrive, the sky clears, and at night the hills above my house cut a black profile against the stars.
- I first got into politics the day the cafeteria outlawed creamed corn.
Get To Work
Use your summer wisely – start working on your essay(s) NOW so they can be fine-tuned for submission. Keep posted as we’ll be posting more school’s supplements and plenty of college essay writing tips as the summer progresses.
Need help now? Check out our Essay Guidance Program; you won’t be disappointed.