SAT Essay Tip: Pre-planned Ammunition

SAT Prep

Soldiers do not go into battle Ammo-1without ammunition, and you should not go into the SAT without essay ammunition. The College Board uses essay questions that tend to have consistent themes, such as success, adversity, happiness, ethics, and technology. Because these themes appear so frequently, it is useful to have a few pre-planned examples that can be applied to multiple themes with only minor adjustments. This will save you the from the pressures of having to produce great, spontaneous examples on test day.

For example, if you enter the test with strong knowledge of Helen Keller, you can use her story as an example for essays on adversity, hard work, success, happiness, team work, heroes, and many more. You could also use her teacher, Anne Sullivan, as an example for leadership and persistence.

Through your studies, it is likely that you have become an “expert” on some subject that you have researched. Maybe you have done several reports on the poet Dylan Thomas or on the Battle of the Bulge. We highly recommend that you revisit this topic before the SAT and use it as one of your pre-planned examples. It is also likely that you have done a book report on one or two novels that you remember well. Examples from literature are often favored by your readers since they are high school and college English teachers. You should return to an old book report and reacquaint yourself with the plot and the characters before taking the SAT. The more you know about an example, the more you can defend your thesis.

Some examples, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., are widely used by test takers on every SAT administration. While King is a great example for many of the themes tested and a perfectly acceptable example to use, your essay will stand out if you use less conventional examples. If you cannot come up with your own pre-planned examples, we have provided the following list of people, businesses, and events that supply strong supporting evidence for multiple essay themes. You would be wise to research two or three of these topics before taking the SAT if you do not have your own pre-planned examples:

Thomas Edison Frederick Douglass
Helen Keller FDR
The American Revolution      Galileo
Microsoft The Vietnam War
Ghandi Christopher Columbus
Stem cell research Google
May Angelou The Great Depression
Abraham Lincoln George Washington Carver
Rosa Parks Frank Lloyd Wright
The Cold War Marie Curie

PowerScore Practice Prep:

Choose two of the examples above. How could you use them on the following Essay questions? Essay 1, Essay 2, and Essay 3

Photo: "Sailors prepare ammunition," courtesy of the US Navy