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vcfan304vcfan304 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
Hi, I have a really big problem. I am able to consistently score 42-46 on the grammar portion of the SAT but I keep getting 8 or 9 on the Essay! PLEASE HELP! I am a good writer in AP Lang, but I do so poorly on SAT essays.

Here's the most recent essay I took this Saturday, Blue Book #2 Test #3.

Prompt: Can knowledge be a burden rather than a benefit?


Over the past couple centuries, our society has developed and expanded in ways we could never imagine due to knowledge. Advancements in technology and medicine have dominated our lives today. Steve Jobs, who invented the iPod, and Henry Gray, who discovered new surgery methods, have made our society significantly better through the years. Therefore, knowledge cannot be a burden, rather than a benefit, because it helps our society progress and develop.

Firstly, technological advancements over the past century have dominated our lives. If we didn't have knowledge, people such as the Wright Brothers, who invented the airplane, wouldn't have given us the power of flying across seas! Also, an average American watches television for four hours a day. Would we really be able to enjoy our lives without luxuries such as watching television? Having no knowledge, or saying knowledge is a burden, is like saying we would rather live like cavemen in the early ages. Knowledge has brought to us loads of technology such as cars, airplanes, television, iPods, computers, and many other developments that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

Secondly, the developments in medicine have been crucial to our lives. Knowledge has created a cure for millions of diseases and viruses, which could be the only reason we are still alive today. For example, if there was no medicine, what would someone with a broken leg do? Would they suffer endless pain? Medicine helps us live not only happier lives, but also longer lives. Life expectancy has gone from 59 in 1900 to 73 in 2010. This is a substantial improvement, leading to nearly a 25% improvement in average life expectancy! Most people today would not be able to survive without the advancements in medicine.

In the end, with knowledge comes development and with development comes happiness. Knowledge has brought to us loads of innovations such as cars, airplanes, and computers, and also developments in pharmacy, which help people live everyday. Therefore, the knowledge we have has expanded and progressed our society in ways we could never imagine and so it is not a burden.

I received a 3 and a 4, totaling a 7/12. This was my worst essay score I've ever gotten before, so I am posting this one.

PLEASE HELP! Criticism makes me stronger, please tear my essay apart!
Post edited by vcfan304 on

Replies to: SAT Essay

  • vcfan304vcfan304 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    please help with grade+advice! SAT's are in 1 week i really want to get 7-10 essays in to improve!
  • fogcityfogcity Registered User Posts: 3,228 Senior Member
    It's a weak essay, on three fronts: (1) it's barely on topic and even then, the examples are simplistic and poorly developed, and the assertions/conclusions are superficial , (2) the flow is poor -- rambling and not sufficiently focused on the example at hand, and (3) while mostly free of serious grammar errors the writing is awkward.

    Perhaps you're trying too hard.

    Given that you have only a short time before the March SAT I encourage you to approach the essay in a more formulaic manner.

    (1) Simple introduction plainly stating the thesis and your position, and a brief overview of the examples that you'll use. Try for three examples. Pick the position for which you have the best examples

    (2) One paragraph per example. Pick for your examples well regarded books, leaders, and historical events. Stay focused on that aspect of the example that serves your thesis. Have the example speak for itself. Avoid assertions that are opinions or conventional wisdom. Stick to the examples and what they show. Avoid exaggerations such as "Steve Jobs invented the iPod" or "millions of diseases and viruses". Neither is true.

    (3) Simple conclusion, much in the spirit and style of the introduction.

    Ahead of the SAT prepare a portfolio of 10-15 potential researched examples of people/leaders, characters from well regarded books, and historical events. Memorize these. Be accurate when you use them in the essay.
  • kitkat2013kitkat2013 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    First, in terms of grammar, I would check that your tense is always the same - "have dominated our lives today" should be "dominate our lives today". Additionally, I would not attempt to use grammatical structures that you are unfamiliar with - "Therefore, knowledge cannot be a burden, rather than a benefit, because it helps our society progress and develop" is unclear. Eliminate simplistic and immature phrases like "loads of". Finally, develop a thesis that is clear and contains some element of analysis (cause and effect) that proves your point, then dig deep with your commentary. Best of luck.
  • vcfan304vcfan304 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    Thanks so much fogcity.
    I love the feedback! I will follow that technique!

    I just can't write in this 25 minute time frame. I thought of two specific people and completely changed my examples to generic subjects once i started writing my intro. Ugh I hate how this essay is preventing my writing score from being mid to high 700s.
  • vcfan304vcfan304 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    Thanks kitkat! really do appreciate the feedback. i always mess up in tense in this timed scenario. my natural tense is past tense, but i need to learn how to use present consistently.
  • vcfan304vcfan304 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    By the way, could one of you guys maybe post an ideal thesis for this prompt? I really feel like an SAT Thesis is different from a school essay Thesis
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