is the world changing for the better sat essay

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is the world changing for the better sat essay

SAT : Is the world changing for the better ?

amanyeid 1 / -   Jul 14, 2014   #1 SAT Essay Prompt Grading? Can you please grade this essay on a scale of 1-6 (6 being the highest). I did this essay as practice for the real SAT. change is the norm of life . Everything changes around us. We changes day after day the world also changes everyday. The world has changed dramatically in the last decades as it witness a great progress in different fields. Actually, Change isn't always good; it sometimes can be disastrous for its owner. Although the progress that is achieved in different fields, the world is still rapidly declining in other areas. It is claimed that the world is changing for the better. our lives became easy because of the technology. However, the world becomes worse day after day. It becomes a place that we can't live in. this bad change is resulted from different reasons. If we look around us , we will find pollution everywhere . the air we breathe became more polluted than before because of the technology and the human as well. We pollute air by the smoke exited from our cars and factories. In addition, the water we drink became polluted as well. We pollute it in different ways as the factories throw their wastes in it and we also throw our rubbish in it . we treated with the water badly. In fact , this pollution causes many consequences as it is the reason for many dangerous diseases that threat the human today. While it is true that the technology has solved many problems among the countries, I believe that more political conflicts among countries are resulted from the world change. For example, there is a conflict between Israeli and Palestine which makes wars of blood between them. They pretend that they are just defending themselves. However, This war causes many innocent children and virtuous people to die. what right allow those to kill the people and causes Chaos and Insecurity ?!. by what right those people displace and lose their homes and their chance of good life. In conclusion, the world is changing for the worse . life become so complicated because of the Human greed. As world change as the problems In he world become more and more and it become too hard to live in.

eirehc 4 / 6   Jul 15, 2014   #2 I think you should try to arrange the thoughts on your paragraph. Try writing 1 thought per paragraph. The ideas on each paragraph should not be contradicting. I hope this would help u.


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, sat essay examples for the 6 types of essay prompts.

SAT Strategies , SAT Writing


And since all these arguments are very simple, almost every SAT essay argument can be boiled down to one of the 6 we list here . In addition to that, though, we also explain how to argue each one, and give you sample support for both sides of every argument. Read on for the inside scoop on this important aspect of the SAT.

UPDATE: SAT Essay No Longer Offered

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In January 2021, the College Board announced that after June 2021, it would no longer offer the Essay portion of the SAT (except at schools who opt in during School Day Testing). It is now no longer possible to take the SAT Essay, unless your school is one of the small number who choose to offer it during SAT School Day Testing.

While most colleges had already made SAT Essay scores optional, this move by the College Board means no colleges now require the SAT Essay. It will also likely lead to additional college application changes such not looking at essay scores at all for the SAT or ACT, as well as potentially requiring additional writing samples for placement.

What does the end of the SAT Essay mean for your college applications? Check out our article on the College Board's SAT Essay decision for everything you need to know.

SAT Essay prompts are unlike any other writing assignment. The questions are extremely general, asking things like "is the world changing for the better," but they only ever require a very simplistic thesis statement about a complex idea. There are, for example, many ways in which the world is and is not changing for the better. The most "accurate" answer would have to be "yes AND no," but that's the opposite of what you should say on the SAT.

Because on the SAT Essay, simplicity and clarity is the name of the game . You are expected to make a broad, definitive statement about what people 'should' do or whether something is possible. You don't have to believe it, you just have to present a few examples (between one and three) that can show why your statement is correct. In this way, the SAT Essay is easier than most students think.

All of the essay questions in this article are taken from real SATs or College Board prep materials. We've categorized them not by their content --for example, "success" or "personality"--but rather by their reasoning . This is because the logic of the question, not its content, is what determines the best argument on which to build your essay.

For each type of SAT essay question below, we give you 3 sample prompts similar to what you'll run into, and a breakdown of how to argue either side of any SAT essay question of that type. You'll get detailed SAT essay examples that guide you through how to construct an argument.

SAT Essay Prompt Type 1: Discuss what people should do

This type of SAT essay question lends itself to many different kinds of examples. Anything that involves people and their choices is fair game. See the diagram below for more information on how this works.

Should people….

Step 1 : Pick a side. "Yes, people should always value new things, ideas, or values over older ones," or "no, people should not always value new things, ideas, or values over older ones."

Step 2 : Consider what would logically support your statement (see green boxes for a breakdown of the types of support you should use). For example, if you argue "Yes, people should value new things" as your thesis, you can give evidence of a time when people valued new things and it turned out well, or of a time when people didn't value innovation and it turned out poorly.

Step 3 : Quickly think of 1-3 real-world or literary examples that fit the criteria in Step 2 (see blue boxes for ideas). To support the Yes thesis with evidence of when people valued new things with success, we could talk about Civil Rights in the United States, the Industrial Revolution, FDR's new deal, or any other example dealign with positive innovation. We could also discuss evidence where refusal to accept new things turned out poorly, like fear of vaccinations and Galileo being excommunicated for his (true) scientific beliefs.


SAT Essay Prompt Type 2: Discuss which of two things is better

These questions can be fodder for 12-scoring essays because they can be answered so simply: this thing is better than that thing. Then you just have to think of 1-3 examples in which that thing worked and/or in which the other thing didn't work. See the diagram below for more information on how this can be done.

Is it better...

Step 1 : Pick a side. "It is better to use cooperation to achieve success," or "it is better to use competition to achieve success."

Step 2 : Consider what would logically support your statement (see green boxes for a breakdown of the types of support you should use). Similar to Prompt Type 1 above, in this case you can use evidence that supports your thesis, or argues against the opposite thesis. For example, if you write that "Cooperation is better to achieve success," you can use evidence on a time when cooperation led to success, or when competition led to failure.

Step 3 : Quickly think of 1-3 real-life or literary examples that fit the criteria in Step 2 (blue boxes). Following our "cooperation is better" thesis, we can talk about when people cooperated to great success - like the Civil Rights movement, or Abraham Lincoln's cabinet during the Civil War. We could also discuss how competition is inferior through examples like the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, or the North Korea vs South Korea standoff.


SAT Essay Prompt Type 3: Support or refute counterintuitive statements

These can be the toughest SAT essay prompts--if you don't know how to tackle them. The easiest way to really knock this essay type out of the park is to say yes, it is possible, and then think of an example. The other side--no, it isn't possible--is harder to logically prove , but it can be done. See the diagram below for more information on how this works.

Is it possible for….

Step 1 : Pick a side. "Yes, it is possible for any obstacle to be turned into something beneficial," or "no, it is not possible for any obstacle to be turned into something beneficial."

Step 2 : Consider what would logically support your statement (see green boxes for a breakdown of the types of support you should use). Unlike the two prompt types above, this one is more simplistic - just find evidence that can support your thesis in a straightforward way. If you write "No, it's not possible for any obstacle to be turned into something beneficial," you just need to find evidence for when obstacles exist but don't lead to anything helpful.

Step 3 : Quickly think of 1-3 real-life or literary examples that fit the criteria in Step 2 (see blue boxes). To support the No thesis, we could use the example of how gender discrimination against women and income inequality has caused far more harm than the good it has caused.


SAT Essay Prompt Type 4: Cause and effect

These can be logically complicated, depending on which side you choose. If you say x is the result of y , then you just have to think of 1-3 examples that illustrate it. If you choose the other side, though, then you have a harder logical task in front of you--your examples have to fit a much narrower definition to make sense. See the diagram below for more information on how this works.

Is __ the result of __?

Step 1 : Pick a side. "Yes, learning is the result of experiencing difficulties," or "no, learning is not the result of experiencing difficulties."

Step 2 : Consider what would logically support your statement (see green boxes for a breakdown of the types of support you should use). For example, if our thesis is "Yes, learning is the result of experiencing difficulties," we can either argue with evidence of a time when learning IS the result of difficulty, or when a lack of difficulty led to an absence of learning. Both types of evidence support your thesis.

Step 3 : Quickly think of 1-3 real-life or literary examples that fit the criteria in Step 2 (see blue boxes). For our Yes thesis, we could talk about how the difficulty of unmanageable healthcare costs in the USA led to learning and the Affordable Care Act. We could also use the other type of evidence and talk about how Jay Gatsby's lack of difficulty in having immense wealth led to poor learning about what really makes him happy.


SAT Essay Prompt Type 5: Generalize about the state of the world

These kinds of SAT essay prompts are so open-ended that they lend themselves to all kinds of examples and interpretations. But for this same reason, they can be overwhelming and confusing. See the diagram below for more information on how this works.

What is the modern world like?

Step 1 : Pick a side. "Yes, the world is changing in a positive way," or "no, the world is not changing in a positive way."

Step 2 : Consider what would logically support your statement (see green boxes for a breakdown of the types of support you should use). Let's consider the Yes thesis. We can use evidence that problems in the past that are being solved today, or innovations today that didn't previously exist. 

Step 3 : Quickly think of 1-3 real-life or literary examples that fit the criteria in Step 2 (see blue boxes). To support our Yes thesis, we can find examples of problems that are better now - women's rights, slavery, and reduced violence. We can also discuss recent innovations that dramatically improve quality of life, like the Internet and widespread access to education.


SAT Essay Prompt Type 6: Generalize about people

Much like the "state of the world" questions, these can be supported by almost anything, but can also get away from you if you're not careful. See the diagram below for some ideas of how to manage these prompts.

What are people like?

Step 1 : Pick a side. "Yes, people learn from the past," or "no, people do not learn from the past."

Step 2 : Consider what would logically support your statement (see green boxes for a breakdown of the types of support you should use). Let's consider the No thesis that people don't learn from the past - we would have to find an example of when someone repeated a mistake that they could have avoided from history. 

Step 3 : Quickly think of 1-3 real-life or literary examples that fit the criteria in Step 2 (see blue boxes). A great example to use for our No thesis is comparing Hitler and Germany to Napoleon. In 1812, Napoleon fought a war on multiple fronts, fighting the Spanish army and the Russian Empire simultaneously. This led to a drastic dilution of focus and led to his defeat. A century later in World War 2, Hitler fought on two fronts as well, facing the Allies in Europe and Russia at the same time. He too was defeated through this mistake.


What do I do now?

Now that you know the basic types of SAT essay prompts and the types of arguments they require, what can you do with this information? 

A few different things: one is to practice with these questions, thinking of one or two examples to support at least one answer to each question. We've written a guide to 6 SAT essay examples you can use to answer nearly every prompt .

We show you how to construct an SAT essay , step by step . If you want to get a perfect SAT essay score, read this .

Another is to take a look at our comprehensive SAT essay prompts article, which gives you lots more questions to think about answering and supporting with the arguments above.

Finally, make sure you read our 15 SAT essay tips to know how to get an edge on the essay.

Want to get serious about improving your SAT score? We have the leading online SAT prep program that will raise your score by 160+ points, guaranteed .

Exclusive to our program, we have an expert SAT instructor grade each of your SAT essays and give you customized feedback on how to improve your score. This can mean an instant jump of 80 points on the Writing section alone.

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Laura has over a decade of teaching experience at leading universities and scored a perfect score on the SAT.

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SAT Essay Writing Sample 6 - Score of 6

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.

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is the world changing for the better sat essay

is the world changing for the better sat essay

Worse Than You Think

The changes in the new SAT reflect a very different -- and questionable -- view of the qualities that are important for success in college, argues Ben Paris.

is the world changing for the better sat essay

The new SAT has been administered for the first time, and it has come and gone without great incident. In time, this new test will be taken for granted, and few people will know or care that it ever was any different. Before that happens, though, it’s worth reflecting on the changes and what they tell us about the changing nature of education. Spoiler alert: the changes are pretty dramatic, and they reflect a very different view of the qualities that are important for success in college.

Of course, the SAT has never been the winner of any popularity contests. If teenagers had their way, it would have been abolished years ago. Even so, the new SAT is much more deserving of the scorn it will receive than its predecessors were. And it could even become dangerous if it plays a major role in changing our view of what college should be.

The Players and the Plan

Since 2012, the College Board, the creator of the SAT, has been led by David Coleman, who had previously been one of the chief architects of the Common Core curriculum. When he arrived at the College Board, Coleman felt that the SAT was “too disconnected from the work of our high schools.” That was a problem he set out to fix, and the new SAT is the product of that vision. Just as the curriculum sought to unite state standards, the new SAT brings the college admissions process into compliance with the Common Core.

In principle, that might sound reasonable. It would be unfair to make college admissions dependent on skills that were totally unrelated to high school classes. But that doesn’t mean that the SAT should be exactly like exams in high school. It’s at least arguable that the skills required in college are different, or at least that they should be. We expect more original work, more creativity and more initiative out of college students. We’ve all known people who struggled in the compliance/conformist approach typical of many high schools only to blossom in college when they finally get to shape their own experience. Are more tests of high school curricula the best way to give those people the chance to show that they can succeed?

In the past, the SAT was designed to be an alternative, to measure things that weren’t usually tested in high school. Questions were hard because they tested abstract reasoning skills and fairly creative problem solving. The people who designed those tests would therefore probably agree with Coleman’s claim that the SAT was disconnected from the high school curriculum. But they would say that this disconnect is a feature and not a bug.

Now, however, the tide has turned against tests of aptitude. Past revisions have brought the SAT closer to what is taught in schools, but Coleman’s SAT goes much farther in that direction. Now, the overarching idea is that the SAT should be testing what is taught in schools and that students should never have to do anything that they have never done before. But is that a good thing?

As we ask whether the SAT is measuring the right things, let’s consider issues of fairness and inequality as well. One of the important objections to the SAT has been that it is an unfair barrier for underprivileged students. One of the (dark) jokes of test preparation is that the influence of wealth on test scores is so prominent it would be easier to cancel all the tests and just submit the parents’ income taxes returns instead. While that joke exaggerates the influence of money on test scores, the ability of some to purchase test preparation services is a serious ethical issue.

The new SAT is, to some extent, a reaction to this kind of criticism. But does aligning the test with high school curricula tend to level the playing field or reinforce the pre-existing tilt of that playing field? Does the new SAT make test preparation less important, or more? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the important changes to the SAT and see whom it will reward and punish.

SAT Reading: Mourning the loss of “SAT Words”

The most widely publicized change to the SAT has to be the de-emphasis of vocabulary. Questions testing “SAT Words” are gone. While the new SAT has retained some vocabulary in context questions, those questions are among the easiest on the test. On a released test, some of the words test takers must define “in context” included everyday words such as “directly,” “form,” and “hold.” Whereas the old SAT struck fear in the hearts of those who preferred their reading at an ESPN level, the vocabulary questions on the new SAT shouldn’t scare anyone.

Why the change? Is it simply a matter of dumbing down the SAT? Not quite, but politics and marketing are part of the answer. Remember that the SAT is a product that no one has to take. The ACT is a perfectly reasonable alternative, and many colleges have opted out of requiring any such test at all. To survive, the SAT has to convince students to take it, and lately the SAT has been losing that battle to the ACT .

As a result, the SAT feels pressure to change the test in a way that will appeal to today’s students. You can see this in the elimination of the much-hated wrong-answer penalty, the way percentiles are calculated and new yet confusing tables comparing ACT and SAT scores . What does this have to do with vocabulary? Quite a bit, really, because vocabulary questions have always been unpopular with students, and so the decision to do away with them is at least plausibly related to this unpopularity.

Marketing is definitely at play, but it isn’t the only factor. The College Board has a view of what skills should be tested to show readiness for college, and having a sophisticated vocabulary isn’t on that list anymore. The College Board thinks that the SAT should mirror the skills taught in high school, and nowadays that curriculum is more focused on being ready for the workforce and less about being able to handle ivory tower seminars on literary criticism. The College Board is telling us that these words don’t matter as much, and they’re using their power in college admissions to make their prediction a reality. After all, if the people who get into the most competitive colleges don’t need them, then those words really don’t matter, right?

In practice, however, vocabulary questions were among the best indicators of who would do well in college. That shouldn’t be a surprise. The only reasonable way to build your vocabulary is to read challenging texts, and the kids who did that tended to do really well in college. So vocabulary questions measured important things, and even better, they were less vulnerable to test preparation techniques than the rest of the test.

While critics would tell horror stories of people cramming SAT words in order to get an unfair edge, that was never really an issue. I know from years of SAT preparation that it is nearly impossible to dramatically improve your vocabulary in the short term unless you are willing to devote your life to this endeavor. The benefits of SAT word lists were never that great. Students with busy schedules (that is, all of them) were better off studying for other parts of the test. Now, though, tough vocabulary questions are gone, and that makes test preparation even more effective, which means it’s easier for people with more resources to do well. So instead of alleviating aspects of educational inequality, dumbing down the vocabulary actually makes things worse.

The rest of the reading test is fairly standard, except that it’s easier. It’s less time pressured, and the scoring is so forgiving that you can get pretty close to a middle score even if you know only one-third of the material.

Still, the test seems to have more questions that are vague, arbitrary or ambiguous. For example, one question that asks why certain facts are mentioned has one answer choice that says “offer an explanation” and another that says “support a conclusion.” But in this case, the conclusion and the explanation were basically the same thing, so what should you pick? The College Board wants you to pick the explanation choice, but there’s really nothing wrong with the conclusion choice.

Standardized tests have always had these issues, especially with reading questions. But now when I’m explaining SAT questions, I find myself explaining that the way to get the correct answer is to think the way the College Board thinks. And sometimes I can’t explain the correct answer at all. The math questions are better in this respect, but the issues there run deeper.

SAT Math: A Monument to Drill and Kill

The College Board tells us the new test focuses more on “the content that matters most for college readiness (rather than a vast array of concepts).” In practice, that means a lot of algebra and functions, and less geometry and arithmetic. The new test has much more content from Algebra 2, and even a little trigonometry. You can see the reasoning behind that: math matters, advances in STEM fields have promoted human flourishing and you need Algebra 2 for those fields.

But that doesn’t mean everyone should take Algebra 2, and it doesn’t mean skills in Algebra 2 should be so important in determining whether and where everyone goes to college. Let’s face it: for the vast majority of people, Algebra 2 is a painful slog through concepts they will never use again. Are we really sure that we want to force everyone to take the course in the first place? And even if we think students need to take it, should it be more important to their college admissions chances than other branches of math that have been downplayed in the new SAT? To function in society, you probably should have at least some understanding of averages, percentages, ratios and many other concepts, but the equation of a parabola probably doesn’t belong on that list.

The real objection to the changes in the math section, though, is not so much about what is tested but rather how it is tested. In the past, the hardest questions on the SAT were less a test of math skills and more a test of critical thinking skills. You still needed to know the math in order to answer the question, but you had to come up with nonobvious alternatives, spot assumptions and find logical shortcuts in order to get a great score. Those skills should be relevant to college success, right?

Some people don’t think so. They argue that students find these kinds of questions really frustrating, because you would have to solve problems that were different from any you had seen before. Of course the typical high school math experience nowadays is heavy on repetition and light on both exploration and critical thinking. As a result, SAT Math is now a relentless drill-and-kill exercise that is more of a test of endurance and patience than a test of true problem-solving ability. But in the real world, who is more valuable: the person who can solve the same problem over and over or the person who can analyze a new problem and figure it out without being told how to do it?

The College Board says students should be “rewarded” for their hard work learning “ essential math skills .” Another way of seeing that is to conclude that the College Board wants uniform compliance with the Common Core vision of education -- not just in K-12, but beyond as well. If the selection process for college (and eventually, college itself) becomes more like high school, do we really think the world will be a better place?

Is There Anything Good About the New SAT?

It’s not all bad. The reading and writing sections now ask you to draw inferences from graphs. That’s an important skill that deserves to be tested. The math has a lot more reading in it, and that’s at least defensible, since translating between English and math is crucial for the application of math concepts. The College Board’s partnership with Khan Academy is a really nice development. People need high-quality, low-cost practice with official materials. So it could be worse.

Why Is the College Board Doing This?

The new SAT is not a nefarious plot to ruin education. The College Board honestly believes the new SAT is a better test than the old one. The Common Core is all about consistency, and so if you are a true believer in the Common Core, then you probably believe that this vision of education should extend into college admissions as well.

It’s also important to acknowledge that the Common Core arose in response to real problems. Today, too many students arrive at college unprepared for college work, and they drop out in great numbers and with heavy debts. Tests that measure those fundamental skills are legitimate parts of the college admissions process.

However, that doesn’t mean the Common Core is the best articulation of those fundamental skills, and it doesn’t mean skills outside of those fundamentals should be ignored entirely. College should be more than an extension of high school, and it would be an indictment of our education system if the skills required to succeed in college were merely the same as those required for high school success.

The first round of data suggests that the new SAT does predict success in the first year of college. In a sense, that’s good news, because if that weren’t true, then the SAT would clearly be a dismal failure. But there’s another way to look at it: given that the new SAT is a drill-and-kill slog of compliance, maybe the concern shouldn’t be that it won’t predict college success, but rather that it will.

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Ben Paris has more than 20 years of experience in test preparation and educational assessment, designing test preparation courses for leading companies as well as training programs to help improve the quality of test questions. He has published dozens of test prep books, trained hundreds of teachers and taught thousands of students how to succeed on standardized tests.

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The College Board's New Essay Reverses Decades of Progress Toward Literacy


Those of us who took the SAT remember what we got on that test, even if we took it long ago. On the other hand, few of us recall our high-school GPA, and the permanent record that was supposed to follow us forever has vanished without a trace. But the score that propelled us into the college of our choice, or kept us out, stays with us, surfacing at cocktail parties or when our children or our students ask, "Whadja get?" as they begin to worry about the SAT's ability to open the doors of the college of their choice.

The SAT hasn't changed dramatically since I took it 45 years ago (my scores are none of your business), but now and then it has been overhauled, at least on the surface. On March 12 some 330,000 American high-school students took the newly revised SAT, expanded to include a writing sample. Exit polls report the following responses to the latest version of America's high-stakes college-entrance exam:

1.         The College Board found strong student enthusiasm for the test, with few complaints from parents.

2.         In contrast, Stanley Kaplan saw widespread discontent over the SAT's increased length and difficulty, with the essay proving particularly worrisome.

3.         FairTest, a longtime test watcher, charged that the new SAT is little more than the old test grown a size larger so that the multimillion-dollar nonprofit College Board, which owns the test, can raise prices, exploit proctors and graders, and increase the salaries and bonuses paid to its executives.

It doesn't take a psychometrician -- that's a vocabulary word you won't find on the SAT; it means "someone who cooks up standardized tests" -- to tell you that comments like those correlate very highly with the interests of the speakers who make them, proving that in testing, as in crime, we can get the right answer by asking cui bono? -- literally "who benefits?" but loosely rendered into the English of late capitalism as "follow the money."

The College Board benefits from changing its test to keep up with changing educational times, while plugging in to the national testing frenzy to protect its market share. In addition, the Kaplans and the Princeton Reviews and the rest of the test-prep industry scare test takers into cram courses on essay writing, raising the companies' bottom line while they help students raise their scores. And critics who argue that the SAT assesses neither knowledge nor potential, that it reinforces social stratification instead of creating avenues for mobility, benefit from catching the brief media flurry surrounding the rollout of a new test, even though those critics must also acknowledge that testing has such a stranglehold on the American consciousness that no one really cares whether their objections are valid.

The comments of those most directly involved in education, teachers and students, are also predictable. Teachers seldom agree about curriculum, and those interviewed about the new SAT seem evenly divided for or against the essay. It either does or does not give students an opportunity to think critically and write the kind of impromptu, timed theme on a surprise topic that the College Board seems to think they will encounter regularly in college and later on in their careers.

And students, whose lot is ever to complain, gripe that the test is too long, the breaks too short, and there isn't enough time to finish. Some test takers liked the essay, others didn't. Many weren't used to writing by hand, and most agreed that the general nature of the topic -- on March 12 students on the East Coast had to discuss majority rule, while students in the West dealt with the role of creativity in the modern world -- together with the time constraint of 25 minutes for planning and execution all but guaranteed a response that was both formulaic and unreflective.

Because I write and teach about writing, I have my own concerns about the SAT essay test. It makes up only 30 percent of the new and "improved" writing section -- that section is worth 800 of the new SAT's total score of 2400 points -- and is nothing more than the old, optional SAT II writing test repackaged as a mandatory part of the SAT I. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of a student's "writing" score comes not from writing prose but from identifying sentence and paragraph errors by way of multiple-choice questions. That method is no different from the SAT's earlier attempts to gauge writing knowledge indirectly.

The students are right that responses to general essay prompts in the new test are almost certain to be formulaic, and that those essays that don't fit the five-paragraph mold are likely to be rated down by graders looking for an easy peg to hang a score on. SAT test-preparation guides, whether online or in print, stress the importance of a simple four- or five-paragraph structure. They encourage students to begin with a catchy opener; to demonstrate their literacy by offering supporting examples from literature, not pop culture or personal experience; and to dazzle graders by throwing in a few obscure vocabulary words.

Such advice is counterproductive, since (1) formulas like the five-paragraph essay, while common enough "in vitro," in school, and on standardized tests, rarely occur "in vivo," in the more natural world of personal and on-the-job writing; (2) literary examples may demonstrate that the writer is also a reader, but they may not always be the best examples to support an argument; and (3) the average student can't deploy sesquipedalian words appropriately.

To be fair, the College Board insists that the essay assessment won't be formula driven, and one essay-test developer claims that, despite the explicit instruction to write a persuasive essay, students could earn high scores with a story or a poem. Maybe so. After all, a student who skips the essay entirely but fills in enough correct bubbles with a No. 2 pencil to get a perfect score on the grammar and usage questions can still come away with a respectable 650 points out of a possible 800 on the "writing" section.

However, few students will dare to blow off the essay, and with only five minutes to plan and 20 for drafting, most students aren't going to risk pushing the boundaries of form or write outside the box. Instead, they'll stick with what they've been told by their teachers and coaches is safe: an introductory paragraph, three examples -- consisting of one paragraph each -- and a conclusion, all of which makes a tidy five-part package. Even that may be hard to cram in to the time allotted. Many who took the test on March 12 complained they couldn't finish, adding that when they have to write in class they get twice as much time to deal with a topic whose subject matter they already know, since it derives not from thin air but from the work they've done in class.

Then there's the problem of grading the essays. According to the College Board, graders must have a B.A. and preferably will have taught English recently. They must also own a personal computer connected to the Internet, even if that computer is at an all-night Kinko's or an Internet cafe in Bangalore. But that's not all. Checking the college transcripts and work records of so many graders proved so onerous that now applicants are asked simply to affirm that they meet the minimal criteria.

The pool of graders, who are paid $17 an hour, is expected to process about 2.5 million handwritten essays each year. They are trained not in groups led by assessment specialists but through an interactive DVD that they can watch in their free time on their computers. The DVD shows them how to assess essays holistically using a six-point scale, working alone at their Web browsers. In the assembly-line online marathon necessary to process all the tests, the average grader must read 300 essays over a 10-day grading period. Given a six-hour work day and a high-speed Internet connection for downloading essays and uploading scores, that comes to 10 minutes per essay, assuming no breaks to get another latte, check e-mail, or call a grading supervisor with a question. It is not clear that graders who work at that pace, or on such a scale, can reliably evaluate what they read.

That leads me to think that the College Board won't be exploiting essay graders for long. It already markets WritePlacer Plus, a service that offers colleges machine grading of student-placement essays, and its online SAT-prep course uses the same software to give students instant feedback on sample SAT essays they must write and submit. In addition Pearson, which holds the contract for scoring the SAT, is actively pushing another machine-grading package, the Intelligent Essay Assessor, which promises to eliminate human subjectivity from the process altogether. Once that happens, writers will be compelled to become even more formulaic in their quest to craft an essay that matches the computer's highest-score algorithm.

Our educational system trains writers to address human readers, not machines, and switching to machines to process millions of writing samples won't send students the message that writing is important. Those students who don't like to write will like it even less if they're being graded by silicon, and those who think of themselves as literary will only feel more alienated than they normally do. In addition, whether the SAT essays are graded by humans or machines, it is not clear that the scores assigned to them indicate anything beyond the ability of high-school juniors to hit the ground writing. Even in the information age, that's not a skill that will get anyone very far.

Surely basing a critical decision like where a student goes to college on a single writing sample is a precarious thing to do. But one of the biggest complaints about standardized tests like the SAT, the ACT (which includes an optional essay), and the numerous state-mandated assessments now in place -- many of which already include essays -- is that they force educators to teach to the test. Of course the testing companies, making lemonade out of their lemons, insist that this is the whole point of assessment. Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, cheerfully predicts that the new SAT will bring about a much-needed revolution in the public schools, with writing instruction at its center.

But writing isn't even at the center of the SAT's new 800-point writing section. What Caperton's revolution is really promising is to marginalize writing still further by promoting the five-paragraph theme from an educational curiosity into something more like the National Writing Report Card. Doing that guarantees leaving even more schools behind than does the government's controversial No Child Left Behind policy. Writing is harder to master than reading, and schools where writing is deemed deficient will be forced to adopt a mechanical, building-blocks approach to it, just as schools with low reading scores are steered toward phonics and direct instruction in reading. Those methods will reverse decades of progress in literacy instruction and ultimately turn students into intellectual automatons.

More specifically, the five-paragraph theme, or any other formulaic approach to writing, will not help improve the writing of either high-school or college students: It won't help those who can't produce intelligible, written sentences to form them better, and it won't teach those not used to thinking analytically to analyze either their writing or the subject that they're writing about.

The fact that the new SAT's writing section values correct English more than competent writing will have a negative impact on the teaching of grammar and usage in our schools. Correctness in language is not learned through memorization. It evolves through complex choices conditioned by the social and rhetorical context of specific acts of communication. The SAT's idea that questions about language can be answered a, b, c, d, or "none of the above" promotes the mistaken notion that there is only one right answer when it comes to good English, and thus will force language instruction to revert to simplistic, one-size-fits-all grammar drills. As a result, the new SAT will widen the gap between high and low achievement for speakers of nonstand-ard English and for those who speak English as a second language.

Instead of providing colleges with a more accurate measure of students' writing ability and linguistic knowledge, the new SAT will further disadvantage those students who are already educationally disadvantaged. Today's high schoolers will remember their SAT score not as the opener of educational doors but as the certificate of membership in, or exclusion from, the elite club of those whose writing and grammar already matches the College Board's idea of what is correct.

Dennis Baron is a professor of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Section: The Chronicle Review

Volume 51, Issue 35, Pp B14-15

Socratic Summer Academy

Changes to the SAT: No More Essay + Subject Tests!

The College Board drops the essay section

The College Board drops SAT Subject Tests

The College Board announces that they will be working on an online version of the SAT

Read more about the SAT on our blog !

Latest News from the College Board

On January 19, 2021, the College Board announced that the Essay section of the SAT as well as SAT Subject Tests (previously known as SAT IIs) will no longer be offered - a significant and very unexpected change for many.

Buy Subject Tutoring

So why were these changes made?

After the 2016 SAT redesign, the essay became optional. Many students opted out, and although all eight Ivies started out requiring the essay portion, each slowly let go of that mandate which set the scene for the rest of the U.S. colleges and universities. Because of this shift away from the essays in the past years, we’re not surprised to see the CollegeBoard do away with it completely.

 The dropping of the SAT Subject Tests, however, is HUGE. Our educated guess is that the CollegeBoard is expecting to make up all of the lost revenue from SAT Subject tests in AP test revenue (as they own the APs as well). We personally have noticed an upward trend in AP test-taking, and if Subject Tests are no longer offered, it’s likely that AP tests will hold much more importance. 

An Online SAT

Another announcement the CollegeBoard made is that they will be trying to create an online SAT. This is not new - they attempted to create an online test at the beginning of the pandemic, but after the chaos of the online AP tests, the CollegeBoard realized they simply did not have the ability to pull something successful together soon enough. It looks like they may have been working on this, though, and are seriously planning to administer some SATs online in the future.

Unfortunately, there are a few issues we see with an online test. First of all, it has been proven that reading comprehension is far lower on a screen than on paper - which has obvious consequences on a student’s performance on a test like this. Secondly, without the ability to mark up the test, write notes in the margins, etc., (which our personal strategies rely on heavily for a good reason!) students may find themselves unable to comprehend the material as before. This also brings up questions of equity: students from better-resourced schools are more likely to know how to use scratch paper and other material to their advantage, as well as being more likely to have reliable internet and technology which has been a recurring theme throughout this entire pandemic. 

We will definitely be keeping an eye on the online test to see what developments are made, but in the meantime, we hope our students enjoy the freedom from the essay portion and the SAT Subject Tests! Stay tuned for more information on college admissions updates on our website: .

For more information about changes to the SAT and ACT, read this article ! Wondering if the SAT matters to colleges? Check out our tips here and here !

Learn more about college, financial aid, and SAT® news and tips and tricks!

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Unit 7: Lesson 1

The sat essay: overview.

The SAT Essay

OK—I know I'm writing the SAT Essay, and I'd like to do my best. What's next?

The Passage: What to expect

Essay Scoring

Your reading score, your analysis score, your writing score, attributions, want to join the conversation.

Incredible Answer


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  6. 😊 Changing the world essay. I Can Change the Essays: Complete Guide and 15 Brilliant Ideas. 2019

    is the world changing for the better sat essay


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  1. Is the world changing for the better sat essay all assignments on time!

    Journals present peer essay better the changing world is the for sat reviewed research. Nonmusic majors one of the year period between and, yet

  2. SAT : Is the world changing for the better ?

    I did this essay as practice for the real SAT. change is the norm of life . Everything changes around us. We changes day after day the world

  3. Does the SAT Essay Matter? Expert Guide

    The SAT was revised in March 2016. The aspect of the exam that is most changed is the essay. Instead of writing a 25-minute opinion piece, you

  4. SAT Essay Examples for the 6 Types of Essay Prompts

    The questions are extremely general, asking things like "is the world changing for the better," but they only ever require a very simplistic

  5. SAT Essay Writing Sample 6

    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

  6. The implications of changes to the SAT (essay)

    The changes in the new SAT reflect a very different -- and questionable -- view of the qualities that are important for success in college

  7. The College Board's New Essay Reverses Decades of Progress

    The SAT hasn't changed dramatically since I took it 45 years ago (my scores are ... "in vivo," in the more natural world of personal and on-the-job writing;

  8. Changes to the SAT: No More Essay + Subject Tests!

    On January 19, 2021, the College Board announced that the Essay section of the SAT as well as SAT Subject Tests (previously known as SAT IIs)

  9. Is The World Changing For The Better Sat Essay Examples

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  10. The SAT Essay: Overview (article)

    OK—I know I'm writing the SAT Essay, and I'd like to do my best. ... "Robots are transforming many industries and should run the world" or "Climate change