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Anika Manzoor

New SAT Essay Response, Score of 2

Hey SAT practicers (let’s pretend that’s a word)! This is the final post in a series of essay attempts to this new SAT essay practice prompt. If you haven’t done so already, try your hand at the essay first and then see how it compares to this essay, a 4-point essay, a 6-point essay, and an 8-point essay. For reminders on how the new SAT is scored, you can go here. Also, if you simply can’t get enough of new SAT essay prompts, you can check out other ones here and here.

Example 2-point essay

The message is clear and straight to the point when she express how gratitude is just a simple, selfish way to be an arrogant person.

For example, how many people are having a good dinner now and are giving thanks and how many of these lucky people are doing something for those who do not have even a piece of bread. Most of the time, this act just feeds the egos of people who think that just saying thanks is enough for making the world a better place or that saying thanks to others is a favor. Well let’s try to do something for other who are not having the same opportunities that we are having now because it is the only way that we can give back.

There a lot of people there outside who are working really hard for making possible that we have better and more comfortable lives. The celebrities are doing public propaganda about how important is gratitude, like Barbara said in her thesis, so the question is what are these people doing to give thanks through real deeds, some of them can say that they are giving millions of dollars for developing the livings of those who are people in risk by organizations who help poor people, but are they actually posting or sending all those resources to make better the lives of those people who do not have the chance of rising over poverty?

We always have to remember that Gratitude is not just take and go away and say thanks in a nice way just to say I have success in this life, gratitude has to be the fact to give more than what you receive.

Why this essay would receive a 2

This writer shows many weaknesses in reading comprehension, in their understanding of what to analyze, and in their writing.

  • Reading comprehension: The writer kind of seems to get some of Ehrenreich’s points, particularly what she says about the importance of showing gratitude through action to those that deserve it, but there are ultimately significant missteps in comprehension. For example, the writer doesn’t seem to fully understand the author’s central point, which is not that “gratitude is just a simple, selfish way to be an arrogant person.” The writer also mistakenly notes that the detail of celebrity promotion of gratitude is Ehrenreich’s thesis.
  • Analysis: Most of the essay actually ends up being the writer’s own opinions and ponderings about the “selfish side” of gratitude, which not only tells us little about what they actually comprehended in the reading itself, but also indicates that the writer completely missed the point of the analytic exercise (i.e. discuss the elements Ehrenreich used to effectively show that gratitude has become a selfish act).
  • Writing: The writing itself contains a lot of grammatical and punctuation errors, has no logical essay structure, jumps from idea to idea without any real organization of thoughts (e.g. in the second paragraph, they go from talking about hard workers to the celebrities that promote gratitude without any segue), and sentences that are confusing in meaning.

An important note

As I mentioned in the post before, it is really important not to be discouraged if you find yourself scoring a 2 or a 4.  The reality is that many students might find that the SAT essay and the SAT in general not be reflective of their true abilities for a variety of reasons. For example, the writer for this essay is a smart and hardworking person—but not a native English speaker and still in the process of mastering written English. Whatever your situation may be, remember that you have two options: you can opt out to take the SAT with essay if your schools don’t require it (which is totally understandable) or you can put in the hard work to eventually get to a 6 or 8. If you choose the latter, which is absolutely possible, keep up with our blog to learn all the reading and writing techniques that will help you ace this essay!

About Anika Manzoor

A 2013 graduate of Grinnell College, Anika dedicated her first few years as a newly-minted professional to teaching. In addition to being an SAT instructor, she served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at a Malaysian secondary school for two years. Considering that both opportunities allowed her to explore fun ways to teach and relate to students who were otherwise bored out of their minds, she is excited to share that expertise on the Magoosh High School blog.

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