Sat Essay Question March 2012

Get an overview of how the SAT differs from the one students took before March 2016. The first table compares the major features. The second table compares the number of items and testing times in each part.

Major Features Compared

CategoryOld SATNew SAT

Total Testing Time

3 hours and 45 minutes3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional])
Components
  1. Critical Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Mathematics
  4. Essay
  1. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    • Reading Test
    • Writing and Language Test
  2. Math
  3. Essay (optional)
Important Features
  • Emphasis on general reasoning skills
  • Emphasis on vocabulary, often in limited contexts
  • Complex scoring (a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
  • Focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings that research has identified as most important for college and career readiness and success
  • Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact
  • Rights-only scoring (no penalty for guessing)
Essay
  • Required and given at the beginning of the SAT
  • 25 minutes to write the essay
  • Tests writing skill; students take a position on a presented issue
  • Optional and given at the end of the SAT; postsecondary institutions determine whether they will require the Essay for admission
  • 50 minutes to write the essay
  • Tests reading, analysis, and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided source text
Score Reporting
  • Scale ranging from 600 to 2400
  • Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Critical Reading; 200 to 800 for Mathematics; 200 to 800 for Writing
  • Essay results scaled to multiple-choice Writing
  • Scale ranging from 400 to 1600
  • Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three dimensions for Essay
  • Essay results reported separately
Subscore ReportingNoneSubscores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, admission officers, educators, and counselors

Test Length and Timing Compared

Old SATNew SAT
Component Time Allotted
(min.)
Number of Questions/
Tasks
Component Time Allotted
(min.)
Number of Questions/
Tasks
Critical Reading 7067Reading 6552
Writing 6049Writing and Language 3544
Essay251Essay (optional)501
Mathematics 7054Math 8058
Total 225171Total 180 (230 with Essay)154 (155 with Essay)

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.




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