Grade this SAT II Writing example

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: April 2004 Archive: Grade this SAT II Writing example
By Maumolina (Maumolina) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 03:33 pm: Edit


"There has always been great passion to keep things as they are."

"There has always been great passion to bring about change."

Assignment: In an essay, discuss one of the two statements above, supporting your views etc...

Thanks for any comments.

Neither of these statements is absolutely true, since the sentiment on this subject varies from person to person. This being true, I believe that the elite of society exhibit great passion to keep things as they are.

After the end of World War II and the return of soldiers from abroad, there was a great demand for consumer products. Housing and cars were at the top of the list. A great innovator named Tucker designed a car with more safety features than any other car of its time. It had seat belts, disk brakes, and even a third headlight that moved along with the steering wheel. Simply put, it was a car ahead of its time. The American dream would lead us to believe that this man was able to produce his car and sell it to the masses, but it wasn't to be. The automobile industry, dominated by the big three in Detroit (GM, Ford and Chrysler), colluded to keep Mr. Tucker out of the market. With connections in high places, they were able to bring a lawsuit against Mr. Tucker accusing him of fraud and successfully destroying his and his car's image.

What does the aforementioned example serve to show? Well, it helps us understand why we can't pinpoint whether or not "there has always been great passion to keep things as they are". It all depends on perspective, on who you ask. The people at the top of the mountain definitely would like to keep things as they are, since everything is going well for them. The majority though, those who are watching the top and trying to get there, are the ones who incessantly push for change.

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 08:33 pm: Edit

I'd give it a high 3/low 4. It is very well written, save a few minor mistakes ("destroying his and his car's image" to "destroying his reputation and his car's image", and about one other one). However, I don't think this is the best example to use to prove your point. I would rather have you used America's foreign policy stance of isolationism (in place from Washington's farewell address to WWII and the threat of communism). Perhaps it would be more cliche to use that than the example you choose, but their would be more support for it. Also, if you wanted to argue the opposite prompt, you could use the growth of political parties. Even during the "Era of Good Feelings" in the 1820s (where everything was supposedly going smoothly) factions for change eventually spawned - the whole process of politcal parties itself designates the desire for change.

Nevertheless, I'll continue to support your overall writing skills (smoothness, flow, and transition). But if graders take the example chosen into consideration, I'd have to give you a low 4 at best. To me, that situation is rather trying to defeat competition, not stop change (though I can see a slight connection). Hope this helped.

By Maumolina (Maumolina) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 09:23 pm: Edit

Crypto thanks for your comments.
I understand what you are pointing out, I should have made it clearer, or gone more in depth to describe how the example relates to this prompt. In my mind, I believed the example would suffice, but after writing it, I see how the SAT readers would not be able to see the connection to the prompt.

The point I was trying to get across is that viewing it from the Big Three's perspective, they are inclined to keep things as they are (keep the automobile market to themselves) because they are on top (an increase in the number of suppliers in the market would definitely hurt their profits and referring back to the analogy, would push them from the top of the mountain).

Aside from using a different example and exploiting it better, what do you suggest I should do to get a 6?
If there is anything else you notice, please point it out. Thanks.

By Shadow_Wolf (Shadow_Wolf) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 01:21 am: Edit

If you want to score a 6 you're going to have to write a lot more. If you're going to write the traditional essay, then its gonna have to have more than one argument, at least 2 (3 is better). And you're going to have to think of a new opening for a conclusion, you can't say "What does the aforementioned example serve to show?" If your body paragraph was thorough enough then the reader wouldn't need you to translate it for them. Your essay was essentially thesis-single example-summary, which is the correct format, but all you had was the bare bones....there was no flesh to fill it out. I might be wrong about this but I always thought that the SAT2 writing essay had to be at least a little thought-provoking, and to get the really high scores you would need to make the reader go "Ah, I see." (In the good impressed way, not in the confused-and-had-to-read-the-conclusion-sentence-to-understand way). I don't mean to sound harsh because you have the right idea, you just need to expand upon it. Once you do that, a 5 should not be a problem.

By Conker (Conker) on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 10:32 am: Edit

I would give this essay a 3. It's well-written, but it doesn't blow me away. As for examples, you've only supported one argument (and a weak one, at that): that the elite don't want change. If you want a 5 or a 6, then you'll need to offer stronger, more conclusive evidence, as well as support for your final statement (that the lower classes are the ones who push for change).

By Justice (Justice) on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 02:12 pm: Edit

You don't need more than one argument. In fact, realistically speaking, it's a waste of brain energy to think of three examples. It is quite possible to get a 6 using one extended example--that's what I did. I think you would get a 4. Your conclusions doesn't make sense. As long as you follow through with a clear argument and don't waste words pointing out flaws in the prompt, with your general proficiency with language I think you will have no trouble getting a 5.

By Maumolina (Maumolina) on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 07:11 pm: Edit

Thanks for all the comments. Here is another essay I just finished, grade it and tell me what you think if you have a chance.


"In some cases, it is necessary for the government to limit personal freedoms."

It is imperative for society's well being, that the government limit our personal freedoms. If not, the defenseless of society are vulnerable to exploitation by the few evil-doers.

Contrary to what occurs in my country Colombia, in the United States one can file a lawsuit against anyone that in an indirect way has caused one harm. Lawsuits represent a major flaw of excessive freedom. How can a burglar who breaks into a house, file a lawsuit against the homeowner, claiming that he was cut by the upward-facing kitchen knives? It is preposterous the deal one can get by virtue of excessive freedom.

Furthermore, the perils of excessive freedom can be more easily found in the capitalist system. A system which bases itself around Adam Smith's teaching of "greed is good" is certain to have some drawbacks. These can be vividly seen in the purest free market system, the stock market. This laissez-faire market is forced to trust people for it to effectively work. Unfortunately, the bullies out there like Martha Stewart try to get an edge on the disadvantaged by obtaining illegal 'insider information'. She rightly paid for this crime yet there are many other cases like this that go unnoticed and the 'cheater' goes unpunished. The trust and freedom that the stock market lends to its customers can do more harm than good, if it is not properly regulated by the SEC.

In a utopian society, freedom is unlimited, but since in our world good grows along with evil, regulation of freedoms is essential to keep order.

By Justice (Justice) on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

This one is go on too many tangents...pretend like you're talking to someone and trying to prove a point. Look at the prompt again. Specify WHICH cases require limitations in your first paragraph. You had me guessing at your main argument for the entire time. You will be in huge trouble if your reader gets lost.

By Maumolina (Maumolina) on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit

Thanks for the comments man I knew that one was shaky. Check this one out that I just wrote.

"True love can overcome all obstacles"

Our hearts want to make us believe this statement, but as it was shown in 'Romeo and Juliet', true love does not always "overcome all obstacles.

Shakespeare's most famous play pits two young lovers against the greatest of obstacles, a family feud. Although it may seen as irrelevant in today's society, the struggle between the Capulets and Montagues disallowed this love. Nevertheless, the two lovers persisted in their journey to be together. Romeo took great risks to spend precious small moments with his love. Everything between the two occured in a clandestine fashion for fear of intensifying the feud. Their love, although dispersed in intervals, was still present amidst the attrocious actions that occurred between the two families like the slaying of Juliet's cousin, Tybalt. Romeo and Juliet were able to get married but their luck ended there. A miscalculated plan left Romeo dead. Juliet chose to end her life as well rather than live without her beloved.

It is true that most people grow up hearing 'love conquers all', the sad events in fair verona prove otherwise.

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