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Myka Yamasaki

SAT Essay Theme: The Changing World

This is a post on the SAT essay theme, The Changing World. It is one of many helpful posts on what to do when you encounter certain SAT essay themes as a part of Magoosh’s 10 SAT Essay Theme Guides!


So what does ‘The Changing World’ even mean? To give you an idea here are some of the past SAT prompts that fit under this umbrella.

  • Do changes that make our lives easier not necessarily make them better?
  • Is the world changing for the better?
  • Does improvement or progress usually involve a significant drawback or problem of some kind?
  • Does progress reduce the number of problems in the world, or does solving old problems just lead to new ones?

Basically they want you to talk about human progress and the pros and cons of it. You can tell that none of the prompts narrowly define progress. This means you can choose to write about anything from technological progress to societal/political progress. Choose whatever is more fitting and interesting to you.

Even if you don’t have solid examples of human progress, it is ok. There are so many resources online that can give you a better picture of changes happening in the world. For example, TED Talks are a great way to learn new things about advances in our knowledge and ability as a human race.

Here are a few links to TED Talks that are great ways to learn more about different types of progress happening in the world:

Just go to this link and you will find so much more interesting content that you could potentially write about. What is also great about TED talks is that everyone who gives a talk is extremely well versed in the topic they are discussing but they are also great speakers. The convenience of the video is also much less time consuming then reading books about human progress and global change!!


Remember that every form of progress in the world does have drawbacks and comes with new problems. It isn’t very hard to research this topic. You can think to yourself about a progress you see in your everyday life. One that comes to mind may be smart phones. If you search online about smart phones and their drawbacks you will find a plethora of information. There is evidence on how cellphones ruin peoples’ sleep cycles or make us more prone to mental illness, etc.

This topic is great because it is extremely relevant to our generation. It’s not about knowing Shakespeare plays from a long time ago or being able to know the details of World War I. If you plan on being a part of society going forth as you enter college and beyond, you should be extremely familiar with ‘The Changing World.’

Get informed about what is happening now and prepare yourself with a few examples of progress that you think will fit well under a variety of prompts. Good luck!


About Myka Yamasaki

Myka will be attending Occidental College (located in Los Angeles) in the fall and is very excited! She is looking forward to reflecting on her high school experience to help others do their best on the SAT/ACT and in college admissions. She loves cats, food, and friends.

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