A major secret to excelling on the SAT essay is to pre-plan the examples and evidence you want to use. By preparing a collection of reliable examples that can answer most prompts, you'll cut down on planning time and significantly increase the amount you can write.
In this article, we give you 6 good SAT essay examples to use that can answer nearly every prompt the SAT throws at you. By memorizing these examples and practicing writing about them, you'll be able to walk into every SAT essay confident.
Preselecting Your Examples
As you can see, the SAT essay prompts cover a lot of common ground. This means that you can have a pretty good idea ahead of time of what you might see when you open the booklet on test day. And because of that, you can prepare yourself with SAT essay topics that involve more than one of these issues—we've provided some ideas below.
We've chosen 2 books, 2 examples from American History, and 2 current events that you can use as stellar evidence to support your thesis. Play to your strengths - if you like English, you might develop more examples in literature. If you're a news buff, you might use current events that are on your mind.
For each example below, we also show you how you can use the evidence to support your thesis across a range of prompts. This should prove to you how effective pre-planned examples are.
So, without further ado, onto our list of multipurpose support for any SAT Essay prompt.
Examples from Literature
Books are great examples to use since they cover a wide range of human experience and social issues. You don't need to have read a book to write about it - you just need to understand key points about the plot and be able to relate it to the thesis.
This short novel written by George Orwell in 1945 is a parable (a short story used to illustrate a lesson) about the Russian Revolution. It describes a farm's animals banding together to overthrow the farmer who exploits their work and products (milk, eggs, etc.) so they can take control of the farm themselves. However, the pigs (with specially bred dogs as guards) immediately begin scheming to control the farm themselves, and ultimately take advantage of the other animals in the same way the farmer did.
This is a literary classic, and for good reason - it touches upon many core human struggles. Animal Farm can be used to support the following theses, among many others:
(Opinions and Values) Should people pay more attention to the opinions of people who are older and more experienced?
- Yes; in Animal Farm, the only animal who suspects the pigs' deception is Benjamin, the oldest animal on the farm. He tries to warn the other animals that the pigs have sent the loyal horse, Boxer, to be killed, but no one listens to him, and the pigs' reign of terror continues to go unchecked.
(Morality) Is it best to always suspect that others may have ulterior motives?
- Yes; the animals in Animal Farm would have been better off if they had suspected that the pigs were planning to exploit them.
(Success and Achievement) Are important discoveries the result of focusing on one subject?
- No; in Animal Farm, the success of the animals in running the farm depends on their ability to teach themselves how to read, do math, build structures, and harness electricity, among other skills.
This classic novel by Mary Shelley, first published anonymously in 1818, tells the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who alienates his family by following his obsession with animating a man made of corpses, creating artificial life for the first time. But he is horrified by his creation, and the monster, lonely and miserable, wanders the earth, rejected by everyone. He develops anger toward his creator and kills Victor's brother, and then Victor's wife, on their wedding day. Victor then chases the monster all over the world, trying to kill him, and dies in the process.
Frankenstein can be used to support the following theses, among others:
(Knowledge, Learning, and Creativity) Is self-knowledge the result of adversity?
- Yes; Dr. Frankenstein can only understand the horror of artificially creating life (or "playing God") after multiple people are killed.