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09/04/2019

Can someone score my SAT essay?

QUESTION
Can someone score my SAT essay?
I don’t really have a tutor who is familiar with the SAT essay format, so any help you could give would be really useful…

“We are alone with no excuses. Man is free to write the script for his own life: He can blame no one else if his life is a poor performance.” – Jean Paul Sartre

“The expectations and restraints of society severely limit a person: Schooling, organized religion, and other social institutions imprison a person’s mind and spirit” – William Blake

Question: Are we free to make our own choices in life, or are our decisions always limited by the rules of society? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience or observations.

Essay:

In recent times, the question of whether social norms free or capture the mind and spirit has caused much debate. In my opinion, I believe that to some extent, our destinies are controlled by societal rules, and my personal experiences and observations have both helped to justify this statement.

Firstly, in India where Hinduism remains the main religion of the country, an infamous caste system regulates the lives of individuals. The caste system ensures that lower rate citizens stay immobilized in terms of social hierarchy and job status throughout generations, whereas first class citizens are given different privileges and are expected to follow the footsteps of their forefathers. For example, the Brahmins, or the highest class citizens are given the exclusive opportunity to become priests. Such rigorous rules immobilizes society and limits what Indians do in their day to day lives. This trend, shown across almost all major religions proves that social norms do matter when considering opportunities, and have affected lives throughout history.

Secondly, social norms have personally affected my life and studies in various ways. For example, although I do not consider myself someone who mindlessly follows the crowd, I have not been able to buck the influence my parents have on my choice of studies. Both of my parents are university professors; my father teaches religious studies and philosophy courses, while my mother teaches management accounting classes. Entirely uncoincidentally, business studies and religious studies happen to be my two most proficient areas of study in school. This is heavily due to the fact that my parents teach me university level courses whenever I ask, and encourage me to do well in those subjects. One of the reasons why bucking the trend is so difficult is that following the tide is more often than not the path of least resistance. For me, getting help from my parents is so easy that I ask them for help often, leading to my proficiency in those particular subjects. This clearly shows that societal trends hold tremendous influence over my life, which I suspect holds true universally.

In conclusion, almost everyone is a slave to their surroundings, whether through religious or parental influences, and it seems clear to me that our lives will always be limited by the rules of society.

– 379 words

I almost always have problems with finding good examples, so I generally stick with one or two solid, purely factual example (eg. general knowledge, current events, but rarely any book examples) and then stick in a personal example. Is this a major problem?

Also, I noticed by the end of this essay I was frantically scribbling down the end of my second example with two minutes on the clock, and then wrote a short conclusion by 0:30. How do you have the time to check?!? I usually barely finish the thing, and when typing it out again I noticed a few grammatical errors…

Thanks in advance for your help!

ANSWER
First of all, I enjoyed reading your essay. You make an argument and support it with two relevant examples. Also, your essay’s structure is very clear, thus making your argument easier to understand. For these successes, you would probably receive 4s from two graders (for a total score of 8).

However, your essay is short. The College Board graders often correlate the length of an essay with one’s understanding of the writing process–the longer the essay you have, the higher your score. While this is not always true, there have been studies to verify this. Here is a good example: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/04/education/04education.html

As for how to write the essay on exam day, just keep doing what you’re doing. Most colleges don’t care about the essay score you receive. College admission committees will judge how well you write when they read your application essays. Therefore, don’t sweat your essay score too much. Just make sure you write a complete essay on exam day that is similar in structure to the one you posted on Yahoo!Answers.

Best of luck!