SAT Writing Prompts

7 SAT Essay Topics Explained!

Prompts of SAT Writing are essay topics that are part of the SAT test. The time allotted to writing essays is 25 minutes. A prompt is a brief introduction or an excerpt on the topic or issue, followed by an assignment. Based on the assignment, you need to write your opinion and thoughts about the issue. This article includes sample essay prompts of SAT and guidance on how to tackle them.

Prompt 1

"Discipline" is a negative word for many people because it is associated with rigorous training, strict rules, and strong self-control. But we fail to realize that freedom comes only through discipline. Discipline compels us to sacrifice immediate rewards and pleasures, but it also gives our lives structure and prevents us from making costly mistakes. It keeps us from being subject to our impulses and weaknesses and thus frees us to achieve our true goals.

Assignment: Do people need discipline to achieve freedom?

  • Tip: Write a brief introduction. Provide a real example of discipline, for example, in school. Use the example to discuss and analyze why discipline is important and what it would be like without discipline. This paragraph should include your views to support your essay. Conclude your essay touching upon all the points covered in your essay.

Prompt 2

We are often encouraged to stop worrying about making mistakes and advised not to dwell on those we have already made. But without analyzing mistakes—decisions and actions that made a project fail, for instance—how can anyone be successful? Besides, there are some well-known mistakes others have made that seem worth studying carefully. Perhaps these mistakes could have been prevented if those responsible had been more concerned about making mistakes in the first place.

Assignment: Do people have to pay attention to mistakes in order to make progress?

  • Tip: Introduce your topic by stating what the issue is about. Include your point of view. Use an example from your experience to illustrate this. What would happen if you learned from your mistakes? You might want to add another example to contrast your view. What would happen if you ignored mistakes? Conclude your essay covering all the points in the essay.

Prompt 3

The making of illusions—misleading images or ideas that appear to be authentic or true—has become the primary business of our society. Included in this category are not only the false promises made by advertisers and politicians but all of the activities which supposedly inform, comfort, and improve us, such as the work of our best writers and our most influential leaders. These promises and activities only encourage people to have unrealistic expectations and to ignore facts.

Adapted from Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image

Assignment: Are people overly influenced by unrealistic claims and misleading images?

  • Tip: Are illusions important? Discuss what might happen if there were no illusions. How compelling are illusions? What drives illusions? Why is it important to strike a balance between the truth and illusion?

Prompt 4

Although most of us do not like being criticized, it is said that we can always benefit from being told what we are doing wrong. We may lose a valuable learning opportunity if we do not listen to the criticisms expressed by others. Yet criticism, even when honest and well-intended, can be more harmful than helpful. We have more to gain by ignoring or shielding ourselves from the criticisms of others.

Assignment: Are people better off if they do not listen to criticism?

  • Tip: How to judge the difference between good and bad criticism? How to accept criticism? Self-analysis of your actions that invited the criticism. Repercussions of ignoring good criticism and shielding yourself against harmful criticism.

Prompt 5

The discovery that someone we admire has done something wrong is always disappointing and disillusioning. Yet even when people we consider heroes have been tarnished by their faults, they are no less valuable than people who appear perfect. When we learn that an admired person, even one who is seemingly perfect, has behaved in less than admirable ways, we discover a complex truth: great ideas and great deeds come from imperfect people like ourselves.

Assignment: Do we benefit from learning about the flaws of people we admire and respect?

  • Tip: “To err is human.” Adulation and its effect on your life. Importance of making your own mistakes and learning from them. Disillusionment on learning the flaws of people we admire. Impassivity towards revelation of flaws. Your own views of whether or not you would be affected if you learn that a person whom you admire has flaws.

Prompt 6

Some people say you should be content with what you have and accept who you are. But it is possible that too much self-acceptance can turn into self-satisfied lack of ambition. People should always strive to improve themselves and to have more in their lives — friends, things, opportunities. After all, where would we be if great people, both in history and in our own time, did not try to have more and to improve themselves?

Assignment: Is it best for people to accept who they are, and what they have, or should people always strive to better themselves?

  • Tip: “Change is the only constant.” Nature’s principle of change. Why it is important to embrace change and work towards improving your circumstances. Evolution as a natural example of man’s efforts to improve himself and his surroundings. Why you should strive for the better? Learning to be responsible on the road to improvement.

Prompt 7

Knowledge is power. In agriculture, medicine, and industry, for example, knowledge has liberated us from hunger, disease, and tedious labor. Today, however, our knowledge has become so powerful that it is beyond our control. We know how to do many things, but we do not know where, when, or even whether this know-how should be used.

Assignment: Can knowledge be a burden rather than a benefit?

  • Tip: “Half knowledge is dangerous.” Ways in which knowledge can benefit mankind; especially discoveries and inventions. Application of knowledge just as important as learning. Knowledge exceeding the boundaries of nature and humanity, for example, cloning and destruction of nature through technology.