Close

09/08/2019

Can you score this SAT I essay on a scale of 1-6?

QUESTION
Can you score this SAT I essay on a scale of 1-6?
Essay Prompt:

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

People who like to think of themselves as tough-minded and realistic tend to take it for granted that human nature is “selfish” and that life is a struggle in which only the fittest may survive. According to this view, the basic law by which people must live is the law of the jungle. The “fittest” are those people who can bring to the struggle superior force, superior cunning, and superior ruthlessness.

Assignment:
Do people have to be highly competitive in order to succeed? 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:

There is a scarcity of almost everything in life. Therefore, people have to compete for each and every little thing, from the basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, to who will get the last piece of candy in a candy jar. In order to succeed, one must be able to defend oneself and be aggressive. Therefore, people have to be highly competitive.

The basic law by which nature operates is the law of “the survival of the fittest”. The celebrated scientist Charles Darwin was the first to discover this process of natural selection. He discovered that since ancient times, animals have been struggling for survival, from monstrous dinosaurs right down to microscopic bacteria. He observed that only the fittest would be able to survive, while the weak died. Only the species who were capable of surviving could pass their characteristics down to the next generation. Therefore, we can see that even in nature, only those with superior force, cunning and ruthlessness can succeed and move on, much like our present society. Those who are incapable or inferior in any way will be left behind and ultimately exterminated.

Our modern-day concrete jungles are no different from the wild. Because of the current economic recession, jobs are scarce. People have to fight like dogs over a piece of meat in order to secure a decent job. Those who are incapable or or are not adequately qualified are not even considered as worthy applicants. Only the leaders of the pack who are highly qualified and meritorious stand a chance of snagging up a job. If a person wants to avoid being jobless, then he will have to fight for one with complete disregard for others. This is the only way he can succeed.

People who are realistic and headstrong are the ones who are clear on the fact that life is a struggle in which only the fittest may survive. Only these kinds of people have the necessary skills and tools to survive and a world which is governed by the law of the jungle. Only the “fittest” are able to survive in this cold, brutal world, where everybody seeks to go ahead of the competition. Thus, in order to succeed, people must be highly competitive and fight relentlessly for what they want.

ANSWER
On the basis of this scoring rubric, this excellent essay is a strong 5

▪ Organizes information and ideas
with a high degree of
coherence and unity

▪ Language and style are
sophisticated, well-crafted,
and engaging with a strong
sense of audience and purpose
(very strong here)

▪ Few errors do not interfere with
expression of ideas or weaken
impact of the essay

▪ A thorough command of the
essay form, text, and prompt
results in a masterful essay

▪ Refines a thesis that addresses
the prompt with insight

This is the weakness — and the only reason this is not a 6:

▪ Integrates substantial and
compelling supporting
evidence

▪ Shows thorough analysis and
skillful synthesis of ideas
————————————–…
I thought that the comparison to Darwinian survival of the fittest should have been only a starting point, and not made to carry the entire weight of the evidence for the thesis.

The comparison to natural selection is not apt enough (or perfect enough) to make a compelling point. More specific examples from actual human life would have made a more convincing case for the thesis statement than brief references to competitiveness among bacteria.