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The Worst SAT Essay Ever

python38python38 Registered User Posts: 1,304 Senior Member
edited January 2014 in SAT Preparation

Please assess the... worst/best/most unoriginal/most innovative SAT essay ever (if I knew for sure, I wouldn't be posting this thread). Many thanks :).


"The old saying, 'be careful what you wish for,' may be an appropriate warning. The drive to achieve a particular goal can dangerously narrow one's perspective and encourage the fantasy that success in one endeavour will solve all of life's difficulties. In fact, success can sometimes have unexpected consequences. Those who propel themselves toward the achievement of one goal often find that their lives are worse once "success" is achieved than they were before."


"Can success be disastrous?"


"'Success' is a fickle word. Although the term means to achieve, to do well, and to improve, in the long run, we do not always benefit from 'succeeding.' The word 'success' is usually associated with fame and money - but these two things, in excess, can be bad for us. Several celebrities - people considered to have 'succeeded' - demonstrate this.

For example, The Dark Knight proved to be one of the most well-recieved films of the 21st century, bringing in a huge amount of revenue. One of its actors, Heath Ledger, was awarded an Oscar for his performance - the very embodiment of Hollywood glory. He must also have earned a great deal of money due to the film's success. There was no doubt that he had more than 'succeeded'. However, the Oscar was awarded posthumously - in January 2008, Ledger died due to overuse of drugs. Without so much money, he would not have been able to buy those drugs. Without working in the glamorous yet stressful film industry, he might not have felt the need to go on a "high" and keep up his image by taking drugs. His success really did lead to his downfall.

In a less extreme but no less compelling case, a child actress was distracted from her studies. Emma Watson, who acted in the Harry Potter movies, originally intended not to act in the fifth Harry Potter film, so she could concentrate on her work. However, she eventually decided to continue acting because, she said, she couldn't bear to see anyone else playing Hermione (her character). She returned not for the love of acting, but the worry that another girl might steal her fame and "success". But, in doing so, she also compromised her success. If the Harry Potter films had not been so popular and Emma Watson so well-known, it's unlikely that she would have continued acting and possibly jeopardized her education and long-term stability.

Many celebrities who've reached the 'top' report feelings of insecurity and low self-worth. This is so common that psychologists have named it "Paradise Syndrome." Paul McKenna, the successful broadcaster, describes this in his book Change Your Life In Seven Days: "I kept on thinking: is there all this is? Why do I feel so empty inside?..." The ordinary pressures that people face, he says, are increased when everyone knows who you are: you must somehow live up to the public image you have created. This is not always good, as in the case of Amy Winehouse or Katie Price, both of who rose to fame by drinking, acting rudely and glamour modelling, respectively.

In short, success can be a help or a hindrance. Fame and money are all very well, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Sometimes, money really doesn't buy happiness."

Any advice would be much welcome. :D
Post edited by python38 on

Replies to: The Worst SAT Essay Ever

  • andyjo24andyjo24 Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    Score: 10-11. Good job with your essay!! One thing. The second body paragraph is VERY biased. You never know if the person grading your essay is an Emma Watson fan. Be careful!! Otherwise, excellent work! The flow of your essay was fabulous. >=)
  • andyjo24andyjo24 Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    Oh, yeah. And also, have confidence in yourself! This is DEFINITELY not one of the worst essays I have ever read!
  • likely4rightlikely4right Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    i would try to give more "scholarly" examples...i.e. from literature or history. You write very well though.
  • pinkslippinkslip Registered User Posts: 400 Member
    My aunt grades essay for the SAT. She says that after the first couple, she stops actually reading essays and just skims to see if it seems like a good essay. This essay is good. In order to improve,
    don't write every other word like 'this'
    use english class vocab words
    think through the topic completely- don't just jump to celeb status
    use better examples- try not to discuss harry potter or what you did friday night
    oh yeah- your second body paragraph, focus on how success caused him to use drugs, not on how he was able to support his drug habits
  • IntelliEdIntelliEd Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    I think your essay is quite well-written. Although the examples aren't from history or literature, you will still get a high score for the relevance and the good development. Your 3 good examples and the 5 paragraphs is enough for a 10 if not a 12. Don't qualify your terms so much, as pinkslip pointed out with the 'this'. I don't think you need better examples--pop culture and Harry Potter counts as experience, and it might actually work to your advantage cause the readers are, for once, reading something that doesn't contain references to The Great Gatsby, or Hamlet, or The Catcher in the Rye. The only reason people say to use literature and history is because it is the safer and often easier to apply to the prompt, but non-literary and non-history examples are equally good if it applies and is well developed.
  • cassidyscassidys Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    ^This post was from 2009. Hahaha, I'm sure the original poster has graduated high school a long time ago. :p
This discussion has been closed.