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Past Sat Essays Help

The point of making mistakes is to learn from them. If you don't learn from what you do wrong, then making mistakes has no silver lining, it is purely bad. I have come to believe this through personal experience and watching others.

When climbing the "ladder of success," each step gets you closer to the top. Therefore each step is a mistake that you learned from, a good decision, or even a stroke of luck. How could a person climb that ladder without each and every wooden rung to help them? I am human, therefor, far from perfect, I make mistakes all of the time and I am a better person because of that. You could almost say that the more mistakes a person makes, the stronger a person they are, assuming of course that they learn from them.

As a child I stole cookies from the cookie jar, lied to my parents (still happens every once in awhile), and played tricks on my brothers. I, in turn, got in trouble with my parents and was punished. After that I learned that those things aren't okay. Now I tend to make different mistakes, such as, going to places that aren't safe for me, and giving up when things get hard. Life is a huge cycle of making mistakes and learning from them. That is why people can become so wise and strong in what they do, they make good out of the bad.

I also see people close to me using problems and mistakes to make a good situation out of a bad one. My parents, my brothers, and my closest friends are all slowly building up the knowledge to be successful. How can a person be more successful by forgetting what they have already learned? That doesn't push you forward it just holds a person back. Even if a person wanted to forget their past, they couldn't. It's like forgetting that if a stove is turned on and you touch it, it will burn you.

Why This Essay Received a 4

This essay develops a point of view ("Life is a huge cycle of making mistakes and learning from them") with adequate reasons and examples, thus demonstrating competent critical thinking. Generally organized and focused around the notion that remembering past learning experiences is crucial for success, the essay is marked by coherence and progression of ideas ("As a child I stole cookies from the cookiejar, lied to my parents . . . , and played tricks on my brothers. I, in turn, got in trouble with my parents and was punished. After that I learned that those things aren't okay. Now I tend to make different mistakes"). The essay also exhibits adequate facility in the use of language, despite some errors ("I am human, therefor, far from perfect, I make mistakes all of the time and I am a better person because of that"). To attain a higher score, the writer needs to support and extend the essay's argument with additional focused examples of people learning, or not learning, from their experiences. The essay demonstrates adequate mastery and is scored a 4.

Our essay topics have been closely modeled on those in the SAT. You can also do the essays given in the first section of each of the tests in the Official Study Guide.

Each of the topics consists of a prompt and an assignment.

  • Prompt:
    "That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value."
    Thomas Paine

    Assignment:
    Do we value only what we struggle for? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)

  • Prompt:
    If we are afraid to reveal our lack of knowledge we will not be able to learn. In order to make progress we must admit where we are now. Such an admission of ignorance is not easy. As Thoreau says, “How can we remember our ignorance which our growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all the time?”

    Assignment:
    Does the present system of education encourage us to admit our lack of knowledge, or is there too much pressure to demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    “A little inaccuracy saves a world of explanation.”
    C.E.Ayers

    Assignment:
    Is it always essential to tell the truth, or are there circumstances in which it is better to lie? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    Many societies believe that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human right. But it is also true that attainment of happiness remains elusive. Perhaps Bertrand Russell had it right when he said, “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

    Assignment:
    What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
    Winston Churchill

    Assignment:
    Do we expect too much from our public figures? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    “A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”
    Alexander Pope

    Assignment:
    Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    “What man calls civilization always results in deserts. Man is never on the square – he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth. Each generation wastes a little more of the future with greed and lust for riches.”
    Don Marquis

    Assignment:
    With our modern awareness of ecology are we likely to make sufficient progress in conservation, or are we still in danger of damaging the earth beyond repair? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he is not a man of action. It is as if a tennis player before returning the ball stopped to think about his views of the physical and mental advantages of tennis. You must act as you breathe.
    Georges Clemenceau

    Assignment:
    Is it true that acting quickly and instinctively is the best response to a crisis? Or are there times when an urgent situation requires a more careful consideration and a slower response? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    There is usually a kernel of truth in the words Oscar Wilde puts in the mouth of his most outrageous characters – they wouldn’t be funny otherwise. One such gem that is worth pondering is: The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

    Assignment:
    Is it true that when we most need advice we are least willing to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  • Prompt:
    “Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.” Bernard Shaw expected to provoke controversy with these words, but I would agree with him that these days there is too much emphasis on independence. While it is certainly true that excessive dependence on others is not a sign of maturity, total independence of others is neither attainable nor desirable: we need to be mature, and unselfish enough to recognize our interdependence.

    Assignment:
    Do we put too much emphasis on self-reliance and independence, and are we afraid of admitting that we need other people in our lives? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

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