June 2 2012 Sat Essay Prompt

The SAT Writing and Language Test asks you to be an editor and improve passages that were written especially for the test—and that include deliberate errors.

It’s About the Everyday

When you take the Writing and Language Test, you’ll do three things that people do all the time when they write and edit:

  1. Read.
  2. Find mistakes and weaknesses.
  3. Fix them.

The good news: You do these things every time you proofread your own schoolwork or workshop essays with a friend.

It’s the practical skills you use to spot and correct problems—the stuff you’ve been learning in high school and the stuff you’ll need to succeed in college—that the test measures.

Quick Facts

  • All questions are multiple choice and based on passages.
  • Some passages are accompanied by informational graphics, such as tables, graphs, and charts—but no math is required.
  • Prior topic knowledge is never tested.
  • The Writing and Language Test is part of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section.

Watch the Video

What the Writing and Language Test Is Like

To answer some questions, you’ll need to look closely at a single sentence. Others require reading the entire piece and interpreting a graphic. For instance, you might be asked to choose a sentence that corrects a misinterpretation of a scientific chart or that better explains the importance of the data.

The passages you improve will range from arguments to nonfiction narratives and will be about careers, history, social studies, the humanities, and science.

What the Writing and Language Test Measures

Questions on the Writing and Language Test measure a range of skills.

Command of Evidence

Questions that test command of evidence ask you to improve the way passages develop information and ideas. For instance, you might choose an answer that sharpens an argumentative claim or adds a relevant supporting detail.

Words in Context

Some questions ask you to improve word choice. You’ll need to choose the best words to use based on the text surrounding them. Your goal will be to make a passage more precise or concise, or to improve syntax, style, or tone.

Analysis in History/Social Studies and in Science

You’ll be asked to read passages about topics in history, social studies, and science with a critical eye and make editorial decisions that improve them.

Expression of Ideas

Some questions ask about a passage’s organization and its impact. For instance, you will be asked which words or structural changes improve how well it makes its point and how well its sentences and paragraphs work together. 

Standard English Conventions

This is about the building blocks of writing: sentence structure, usage, and punctuation. You’ll be asked to change words, clauses, sentences, and punctuation. Some topics covered include verb tense, parallel construction, subject-verb agreement, and comma use.  

Sample Questions

Learn about the Writing and Language Test firsthand by viewing sample questions for the SAT.

SAT Essay Prompts - May 2012




 


Materials on this page relate to the SAT before March 2016.

For updated SAT materials, please see:

We have a collection of the new SAT Essay Prompts from March 2005 till the most recent test released by College Board.

The following are the SAT essay prompts given for May 2012.

Related Topics:
More SAT Essay Prompts & Help, More SAT Math Lessons

May 2012

If you took the May 2012 SAT, you would have been given one of the essay prompts below:

Prompt 1

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

People talk too much about their feelings. They share their deepest secrets and innermost thoughts on television talk shows. They write revealing autobiographies. They buy books that advise them to tell others about their feelings. We would be far better off if we followed the advice of Florence Nightingale, a pioneer in the field of nursing, who thought that people too often waste their feelings by talking about them and should instead turn their feelings into actions that bring results.

Assignment:

Is it better for people to act on their feelings than to talk about them? 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.



Prompt 2

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

As people become more knowledgeable and experienced, they eventually realize that complete equity and justice—whether in politics, in education, or in day-to-day events—will never really be achieved. Even so, they are encouraged to continue to hope for and fight for fairness. But shouldn't people put their energies to better use? There will always be unfairness in life, and becoming an adult means finding ways to make the best of this fact.

Assignment:

Should people accept unfairness and find ways to make the best of it? 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.


Prompt 3

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

No amount of wealth can help humanity move forward and make progress, even under the management of the most dedicated and socially conscious workers. Money leads only to selfishness and becomes an irresistible temptation to its owners to abuse it. The only thing that can lead people to praiseworthy ideas and noble deeds is to follow the example of those great individuals who put other factors before money.

Adapted from Albert Einstein in Alice Calaprice, The New Quotable Einstein

Assignment:

Does money lead to selfishness? 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.


Prompt 4

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Advertisements provide information about available products and services. Many people argue, however, that something else is going on: advertisements try to convince people that when they buy things, they are also buying satisfaction and happiness. Advertisements merely fool people into believing that the next "new and improved" product will make their lives better, and the result is that people are even more unhappy and dissatisfied than they would have been without the advertisements.

Assignment:

 Do advertisements contribute to unhappiness and dissatisfaction? 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.




Rotate to landscape screen format on a mobile phone or small tablet to use the Mathway widget, a free math problem solver that answers your questions with step-by-step explanations.


You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.



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