Memories can be helpful to some and hinder others

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SAT Sample Essays: Memories

Why AAA Received a Score of 3

This essay develops a point of view ("Memories can be helpful to some and hinder others") and shows some critical thinking by providing examples of the positive and negative effects of memories. However, the examples are limited in focus, featuring some lapses in coherence and progression of ideas, and are thus inadequate to support the position. The essay also demonstrates occasional problems in sentence structure and mechanics. To achieve a higher score, this writer needs to use critical thinking to clarify and expand each example by adding additional focused reasoning and details. The writer also needs to avoid using run-on sentences (". . . when looking at the past they see they have beat it once why not beat it again"). The essay demonstrates developing mastery and earns a 3.

Why FFF Received a Score of 2

Although it expresses a point of view ("I think it is wrong to believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, that they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it"), this essay is seriously limited, exhibiting weak critical thinking, insufficient use of evidence, and serious problems with progression of ideas. The essay also demonstrates frequent problems in usage, grammar, and sentence structure. To achieve a higher score, the writer needs to develop the point of view with reasons and specific examples instead of merely repeating the same vague ideas ("Everything you did and saw in the past helps you to move on. . . . Everything we do has to do with our experiences in the past"). The essay demonstrates little mastery and is scored a 2.

Why BBB Received a Score of 5

This essay effectively develops its point of view ("Memories and past experiences serve as a rail, a guiding support, for people in an effort to succeed in the present") through the appropriate examples of dissent during wartime and grieving for a pet, thus demonstrating strong critical thinking. Well organized and focused, the essay demonstrates coherence and progression of ideas ("In seeing the undemocratic ways of an earlier era, America was able to recognize the bad and try to reform it. If the Sedition Acts had been forgotten then what is to say that they wouldn't come back? Remembering the failed times insures that improvement is possible"). The essay also uses appropriate vocabulary and demonstrates effective variety in sentence structure. To earn a 6, this writer needs to achieve smoother progression of ideas by using language more skillfully (the phrase "past experiences can only offer a gap between the steps on the ladder of success" seems to express the opposite of what the writer intends). The essay demonstrates reasonably consistent mastery and receives a 5.

Why CCC Received a Score of 4

This essay provides adequate reasons and examples to support both aspects of its point of view ("I believe that one should remember the past and learn from those events. However, I also believe that many bad memories harm the present and the future"), thus demonstrating competent critical thinking. The essay is generally organized and focused and features coherence and progression of ideas. Facility in the use of language is adequate, despite some inconsistencies ("Through my knowledge, I have learned that in many bad instances, time to forget is very important"). The essay also has some errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics. To earn a higher score, the writer should provide additional appropriate evidence and use critical thinking to extend the discussion of situations in which "people are required to use both elements." The essay demonstrates adequate mastery and receives a 4.

Why DDD Received a Score of 6

This essay effectively and insightfully develops its point of view ("In order to move up the ladder of success and achievement we must come to terms with our past and integrate it into our future") through a clearly appropriate extended example drawing on the writer's experience as an actor. The essay exhibits outstanding critical thinking by presenting a well-organized and clearly focused narrative that aptly illustrates the value of memory. The essay also uses language skillfully, demonstrating meaningful variety in sentence structure ("To my detriment I thought it would be a good idea to watch the movie in order to prepare. For two hours I studied Elizabeth Taylor's mannerisms, attitude, and diction, hoping I could mimic her performance. I auditioned for the part of "Maggie" feeling perfectly confident in my portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor, however, I was unaware that my director"). Despite minor errors, the essay demonstrates clear and consistent mastery and is scored a 6.

Why EEE Received a Score of 1

This minimal essay demonstrates very little mastery, offering only a collection of general ideas in support of the writer's point of view ("don't forget the past or live in it, and the past is only guidelines"). The evidence presented is disorganized and unfocused, resulting in a disjointed essay. To earn a higher score, this writer needs to provide additional focused evidence that develops the point of view, including specific examples. The essay demonstrates very little mastery and receives a 1.

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