SAT Writing Prompts

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The College Board SAT has received many mixed reviews from fellow students, parents, and even teachers about its effectiveness for college admission. The SAT writing portion in particular affects juniors and seniors who are thinking about and applying to various colleges and universities. Generally speaking, when junior year rolls around, the stress and anxiety builds up when preparing for these standardized tests. Many, including myself when I went through the process, worry about the preparation needed, strategies needed to be learned, and ability of whether or not one is able to sit through the dwelling three-hour exam. In addition, we must take into consideration that some people naturally test better than others on these types of exams.…show more content…
At the beginning of the exam, one is presented with a writing prompt, where you are expected to formulate a well developed essay. Generally, these prompts are simple and basic. With these prompts, one typically pulls previously learned information from school to back up your argument. Because the essay only takes place in one day, there is no time for revision. This introduces a problem because writing is supposed to be a developmental process. In school, teachers always stressed the importance of having a rough draft, or even multiple drafts, before turning in your final copy. However, with the SAT, you are no longer able to do this because “state assessment of writing has revitalized the traditional five-paragraph essay at the expense of authentic expression” (Thomas par. 7). Instead, the SAT causes one to completely change the form of a traditional high school essay. Your essay will be scored and evaluated without you being able to revise and rethink your ideas and argument. If this is the case, how is one able to show what they have learned in school? This type of essay College Board stresses goes against what one learns in school. Therefore, the way one is taught to write in school becomes seemingly pointless. Because the SAT essay portion requires a different approach of constructing an essay, “students are trained to write” (Thomas par. 10). The students taking…show more content…
With such little time, it seems merely impossible to write a well, fully developed essay. What if someone gets writers block midway through the exam? Not every student is able to come up with an argument and fully construct an essay in such little time. The variable of a time restriction is “what [makes] the differences among tests and leads [one] to say that a test is not a test” (Hillocks 64). The fact that the SAT times students to write an essay is a poor evaluation of one’s academic abilities. Granting a student the proper amount of time to write an essay could create an enormous difference in one’s score. With proper time, students would not feel rushed. They would have adequate time to read over and revise their work. In addition, we must consider the factor that some people test better than others. While someone could be a great student in the classroom, they could just test poorly. Should this be a fair representation of the student? If someone is unable to test well, this automatically puts them at a disadvantage by hindering their ability to show their full potential. This factor poses as an unfair advantage to some students. Not only do some test better than others, but some get test stress and anxiety. It is possible to do poorly on the first test, but better on the second test “because scores generally improve with
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