SAT Pattern Strategy Sample Essays 

​First and Second Edition

SAT ESSAY TEST 1: SAMPLE RESPONSES

Sample Response 1: Score 1/1/2
In this passage the author writes about the unfairness of the personality test. Also how people trying to answer the tests might say one thing because they think that the employers want them to, such as unique or orderly, or might say the other thing for the same reason. An example the author gives is “Imagine the thought processes of the nervous test-takers.”Also if the candidates prefer jogging or volleyball.

 

I can tell that the author has strong opinions about these test because she uses word such as “highly unscientific” and “not terribly reliable.” She states that some questions can be fun, for example magazines and social media questions that try and figure out the personality of the reader. The author is trying to state that the test can’t determine the performance at a job or whether your good or bad. You could answer a question one way depending on your mood, or your culture. The author says that the tests are like a sorting hat. One hat can’t tell you how your personality or how well you can work it all depends on the person and who he/she wants to be.  

 

Evaluation


Reading: 1

The response indicates that the student absorbed the main idea and some details of the text. The student does a good job of selecting quotes to demonstrate the author’s “strong opinions.” However, overall the student must work on demonstrating and understanding the author’s claims and supporting details.

 

Analysis: 1

The student is on the right track when her or she ties together two examples of diction, “highly unscientific” and “not terribly reliable,” and connects these to the author’s “strong opinions.” The student needs to keep moving toward analysis of the author’s strategies, rather than simply summarizing the information or adding personal opinion.


Writing: 2

The writing includes clear and coherent topic sentences and a variety of sentence structures. The student’s organization of ideas will likely become clearer when he or she includes more analysis. The student can raise his or her writing score by learning more vocabulary to sum up and discuss texts. Finally, the student should budget a few minutes at the end of the test session to check for sentence fragments and spelling errors.  

 

Sample Response 2: Score 4/4/4
In “Misusing Personality Tests,” Susanna Heckman makes a case against the use of personality assessments in hiring. She includes facts but mainly appeals to the reader’s emotions and ethical standards. She does so by using rhetorical devices such as allusion, parody, and irony, to express her concerns that the tests are random and unfair.

 

Throughout the essay, the author identifies the human need to “sort and label” personalities. The allusion to the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter sets up an image that helps orient the reader to the idea of sorting and labeling people, since many people are familiar with the books and movies, and know that the hat put students into one of four “houses,” which was like a family. But the comfortable idea of going into a roomful of people who are basically like you is then juxtaposed with the idea that personality tests claim to “pin down …personality traits, laying them out for inspection like a butterfly in a glass case.” That image is not so comfortable, because it makes the reader feel vulnerable. The simile appeals to the reader’s emotions by putting in a little fear of the personality assessments.

 

Once establishing an emotional conflict for the reader, Ms. Heckman questions the concept of personality tests for serious purposes. She uses parody when she compares the supposedly scientific personality assessments to the kinds of fun quizzes that are online and in magazines, adding exclamation points for fake excitement. She also points out that even people who do not believe in astrology most likely know their own Zodiac “sign,” which shows that they have paid attention to the system of sorting people at some point in their lives. The author draws on common, everyday experiences that most people do not take seriously in order to persuade readers that they should not take the personality assessments seriously, either.

 

The author also appeals to ethos when she talks about how “baffling” the personality assessments can be. She speculates about the reasoning that people may go through as they try to answer the strange questions, first offering a long line of reasoning and then saying, “or vice-versa.” This juxtaposition shows how confusing and subjective the questions can be, which makes the reader feel a sense of injustice. This attitude only grows when the author points out that the assessments try to determine how honest someone is but ask questions that are impossible to answer honestly. This perception of unfairness persuades the reader to agree with the author when she concludes that the test interpretations may be “highly unscientific.” 

 

After planting the idea in the reader’s mind that personality tests as offered now are not useful, the author points to “psychological research” to explain why any self-reported assessment will always have limitations. This knowledge increases the reader’s identification with the author when she says that it is “perplexing” that HR departments are using them. The author has waited to the end of the passage to report how public and private funds are supporting the personality-assessment industry. The author has already persuaded the reader on a personal level, but now the significance of the issue becomes clear. The reader may now agree with the author that the tests are not only useless and unfair, but in addition, a wasteful expense.

 

Evaluation
Reading: 4

The response demonstrates that the student has an excellent understanding of the passage. The student uses quotations and paraphrases throughout, discussing what the author is claiming and how it connects to other information. For example the student writes in paragraph 3 that “Once establishing an emotional conflict for the reader, Ms. Heckman questions the concept of personality tests for serious purposes.”


Analysis: 4

The response comprises an insightful analysis of the passage. The student includes in-depth discussions of strategies employed by the author (“allusion, parody, and irony”) and describes how they ultimately persuade by appealing to the reader’s emotions and sense of fairness. The student also points that the author waits until the conclusion to mention the personality-assessment industry, and speculates that this strategy enhances the reader’s concern by lifting it from the personal to the public sphere. Overall, the student accomplished a thorough analysis.

Writing: 4

The student makes good use of transitional phrases to express connections between ideas fluidly (i.e., “This perception of unfairness persuades the reader to agree with the author when she concludes that…”). The response is well organized: the student discusses the strategies outlined in paragraph 1 in the body. 
 

SAT ESSAY TEST 2: SAMPLE RESPONSES

Sample Response: Score 1/2/2
Extraterrestrials depiction has become a huge concept not only with children, but with directors, editors, and adults. In the passage of Gerdisch he claims that the depiction towards extraterrestrial are poorly and vaguely done. Through the use of rhetorical devices and diction he expresses a desire to change science fiction idea and image towards these aliens, by using examples of movies the audience could relate too.


Questioning has been a part of science and Gerdisch in passage questions about this exotic beings. The use of this element in his passage such as “What might these exotic being, intelligent or not, look like?” In our world today who really knows if we have evidence of such things. Gerdisch asks this question to bring his audience into a focus to drive their mind into common image of an alien, which could most likely be wrong depiction. However, its what the people see through the media. 

Another use of a rhetorical device in his passage is his question “So why sacrifice the idea that humans are unique for the reassurance and familiarity of an anthropomorphic extraterrestrial.” Through Gerdisch questioning he brings his audience to another term in their focus to imagine these aliens and understand the concept of how entertainment and media have build this images upon the screen so human like that science fiction can no longer prove extraterrestrial evidence. But may also raise the question that is the government hiding evidence? Is the poorly depicted images, so human-like, just to make us, humans, not afraid and feel comfortable, as Gerdisch states through his questioning.

 

Evaluation

Reading: 1

The response shows that the student could best improve his or her score by  re-reading the source text. The student says that the author “claims that the depiction towards extraterrestrial are poorly and vaguely done,” which is not exactly the same as the author’s main argument that science fiction writers make extraterrestrials too human-like. Further, the student does not show that he or she understands the point of the quotation in the response’s third paragraph.


Analysis: 2

The student demonstrates some understanding of the analytical task. The response might have earned a higher score by focusing on larger strategies. The student points out that the author uses rhetorical questions to focus the reader’s attention on particular ideas, which is a good insight; but then the student struggles to explain why this is persuasive. The student only briefly mentions the use of examples, a strategy that the author uses throughout the text, and which may have been easier to discuss.

 

Writing: 2

The student does a good job of organizing ideas, with a visible and coherent structure.  However, the response is difficult to understand at times because sentences become confusing. In all, the student could benefit from taking time after writing each paragraph to re-read his or her own work and quickly adjust phrasing to express ideas more clearly.


Sample Response: Score 4/4/4

The author of “Earthbound Imagination” presents a progressive, well-supported, and nuanced argument in favor of greater boldness in the depiction of extra-terrestrial lifeforms in science fiction. In this essay, the author—Mr. Gerdisch—draws from natural science, psychology, and popular culture to critique the tendency of science-fiction books and movies to portray extra-terrestrial life as “slightly-different-humans”, essentially mirrors of ourselves in physical form and “cultural practices.” Whereas such representations may be effective for certain purposes, Mr. Gerdisch argues that such they have been overrepresented in science-fiction, and that these representations fail to accomplish one of science-fiction’s central functions, to “cause people to question their preconceptions, not reinforce them.”
    
Mr. Gerdisch begins by posing questions—an effective rhetorical technique for generating interest in a topic that many readers have probably overlooked. The questions he poses are of a general character, the type of questions we have all pondered: considering the immensity of the universe, and the likelihood of extra-terrestrial life, “what might these exotic beings… look like? How might they behave?” Once the questions have been raised, Mr Gerdisch is in a position to introduce his complaint: rather than embrace the opportunity to stretch our imaginations, science-fiction has tended to depict these hypothetical beings as disguised versions of ourselves.

 

Although he is critical of them, the author provides explanations for these practices. By doing so, he clarifies the issue. He demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon he is attempting to change, which strengthens his analysis. Rather than simply criticizing the practice, he expresses empathy with the motivations that have created it. He demonstrates his understanding over the course of an extended example—the enormously successful movie Star Wars. His choice of movie is all-the-more effective in that it is widely known and loved. The aliens of Star Wars are representative of the central problem—its aliens mostly look like humans. Earlier in the paragraph, he suggests one of the motivations for such a treatment. Science fiction, he writes, is often an instrument for exploring “social, political, or religious issues” that actually exist in human societies. In other words, science-fiction is often used to create alternate versions of human reality. A variation on this motivation is presented through the character of Chewbacca, a specific example of a humanoid alien from Star Wars. According to the author, science-fiction creates anthropomorphic extra-terrestrials in order to make them more accessible and thus more popular.
    
For Mr. Gerdisch, these justifications are not enough. He argues that the purpose of science-fiction is the treatment of “big, important questions about where we came from and where we are going,” and that simple humanoid representations of aliens waste an important opportunity. His essay ends by presenting examples of works that have challenged our conventional notions, such as Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the original Star Trek series. His concluding paragraph notes the importance of science-fiction on a real human advance—space travel—to once again inspire his readers to seek more in their books and movies than “small green men with large heads”.
    
Throughout the essay, Mr. Gerdisch utilizes a conversational tone to convince readers of his position. He expresses disappointment with the phrase “that’s a shame”, and empathy with the phrases “don’t get me wrong” and “fair enough”. He leads the reader to his side through the effective use a rhetorical question in paragraph five. The strength of the essay, however, is its strong line of reasoning. It presents a balanced treatment of the question of extra-terrestrial life-forms in science-fiction, explaining underlying tendencies, and calling for a shift, rather than an overturning, of the status quo.

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

Throughout the response, the student makes use of quotations and paraphrases to show thorough understanding of the text. The response describes how the author’s central claims connect to supporting details (i.e., “A variation on this motivation is presented through the character of Chewbacca…”) The response interprets the author’s intent even regarding small phrases (i.e., “that’s a shame.”) 

 

Analysis: 4

The response outlines several of the author’s persuasive strategies and explains them insightfully. For example, the student points out the reason that the author explains the very practices with which he disagrees: this strategy “brings clarity ”and “lends credence to the issue.” The student chooses support from the text strategically, providing an excellent overall evaluation, concluding that the essay’s strength is its “strong line of reasoning.”


Writing: 4

The student demonstrates great command of the language, using sophisticated vocabulary and a highly effective progression of ideas. Sentence structures and lengths are varied, creating statements that smoothly explain difficult ideas (i.e., extraterrestrials in books and movies are “essentially mirrors of ourselves”) and catch the reader’s attention (i.e., “For Mr. Gerdisch, these justifications do not suffice.”)

SAT ESSAY TEST 3: SAMPLE RESPONSES

Sample Response: Score 2/1/2

The Graphic novel shows a historical prespective on speech ballons and how they have had a long and fascinating history. Speech ballons show the emotion the character is trying to express wheather it is showing rage towards another or showing compassion. 

The though bubble is extremely effective it indicates the communication without having to write much. For example during WWII Walt Disney did many propaganda pictures to convince people what Germany was doing was wrong and to encourage Americans to join the army why? , because he showed a illustration along with a speech ballon to send a simple message to everyone. 

In this passage the author says “…icicle ballons to indicate a frosty exchange, and color ballons to express mood.” That shows the reader how the caracters in a passage are feeling. In the novel Who censored Roger Rabbit, it shows a bridge between comic’s and animated films How? It shows a murdered cartoon whose final words are in a speech ballon under his dead body. Speech ballon as you can see symbolic a very important idea or feeling and examples are given in this passage weather it be the de Lire Sur La Bible or on newspaper. 

 

Evaluation

Reading: 2

The student does a good job showing an understanding of the text’s main idea; the response’s first line includes an overall summary of the text, correctly stating that it is a historical overview of the topic. The second sentence describes one reason the author gives for the popularity of speech balloons. The quote that the student uses in the third paragraph, however, seems haphazard because the student does not quite explain its specific relevance.    


Analysis: 1

The student needs to practice analyzing rather than summarizing. In addition, the student may be accustomed to assignments that ask for his or her opinion on an issue, backed up with outside examples (as in using the Walt Disney example), but the SAT prompt calls for writing about only the one provided text.

 

Writing: 2

The student shows signs of becoming a strong writer with a little more practice. He or she makes good use of vocabulary (“historical,” “rage,” “compassion”) and a good effort at sentence variation. The student needs to work on organizing thoughts into two or three points and describing them in topic sentences. The student also needs to avoid using phrases directly from the text unless they are identified as quotations.


Sample Response: Score 4/4/4

The author of “The Graphic Novel: A Historical Perspective” reveals how the speech balloon has grown from a means of conveying written messages in visual art to a versatile and pervasive means of communication. By presenting this history, the author suggests that the development of the speech balloon influenced the acceptance of the graphic novel as a serious form of art. Moreover, the author uses history and interesting diction to suggest that speech balloons allow people to experiment with the presentation of information.


By exploring the ways that speech balloons have been used in the past, the reader can better understand how and why they are used today. For example, many readers will be surprised to learn that speech balloons originated in 13th century France. By including this information, the author connects the speech balloon to “respectable” medieval art that is studied by scholars. This information makes it easier for the reader to believe the author’s central claim: the speech balloon contributed to people considering “comic books and graphic novels serious art forms.” 


Discussing the history of the speech balloon also helps the reader understand why speech balloons have become so pervasive in modern society. According to the author, graphic novelists were experimenting with the function of the speech balloon long before it was used for text messages or studied in neurobiology. When the author explains that the comic Pogo “shows characters physically manipulating speech balloons in humorous ways,” the audience can appreciate the versatility of speech balloons and understand why they appear so often in popular culture and day-to-day communication. 

Finally, the author’s vivid diction serves to interest the reader in the topic and then underscore the speech balloon’s many uses. For instance, the author’s claim, “icicle balloons…indicate a frosty exchange,” manages to concisely convey the connection between the balloon’s appearance and its function. Moreover, the author’s inclusion of colloquial phrases, such as when he refers to the speech balloon as “this little device,” helps establish a conversation tone with the reader; yet the author’s use of academic terms, such as “imbue” and “rebus,” adds academic authority to his writing. 

 

The author of the passage appreciates that readers must understand something’s origins in order to appreciate how it functions in the present; relating the history of the speech balloon reveals how it achieved such versatility today. The author’s inclusion of well-researched history and vivid language allow him to deliver his central claim clearly and concisely while keeping the reader interested. 

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

The student says that the text shows that the history of the speech balloon has made it “a versatile and pervasive means of communication”—a compact and excellent summary. He or she uses quotations to explain the central ideas of the text throughout the response. In short, the student demonstrates thorough comprehension.

 

Analysis: 4

The response focuses on the strategy of providing historical background, and why it is effective in understanding the use of the speech balloon today. For example, regarding the origins of the speech balloon the student says that “by including this information, the author connects the speech balloon to ‘respectable’ medieval art that is studied by scholars.” The analysis pinpoints and explains the author’s main strategy in a sophisticated manner.

 

Writing: 4

The writing earns top marks because the student develops ideas in an organized manner, with a central claim at the beginning and a clear progression of ideas. A coherent introduction, orderly paragraphs, and cogent conclusion make it easy to read and understand. Vocabulary is precise, with sophisticated words such as “colloquial,” and sentence structures are varied. Further, the response shows a strong command of the conventions of standard written English; there are no grammar or spelling errors.

SAT ESSAY TEST 4: SAMPLE RESPONSES

Sample Response: Score 1/2/1
In the passage, the author Ricki Lewis persuades her audience by using examples of relevant movies and books; the use of humor to gain credibility for her point that science concepts are being misused in literature causing problems.

 

Just how the audience may become confused is connected to many movies. Lewis gives an example of misused science concept in The Day After Tomorrow. Weather is a huge hazard the world lives with; however, the movie makers just use it to make money and entertainment. About 95% of the people who watch it will not understand the true science, which makes it problematic. people will have there mind wrapped around that this science concept are true or partly true to science. Although, Lewis does state “scientific accuracy just doesn’t matter.” To a point of giving false science, science does matter. Lewis also uses examples of books and how characters are these well educated professors, or just people, who with there scientific knowledge they are able to save the world from disaster. Lewis proves that the science used in these books is nonsense, which makes the audiences feel, “What is the true science then?”

 

Even though its quite a strong subject, Lewis builds humor into her passage to show that science could be use correctly. She states “The last thing our science-phobic world needs is another mad scientist—even a fictional one.” She gives the audience a laugh by giving them a view that most movies and books are just entertainment and for science are not to be believed. However, that scientist or people should not be based on nonsensical science concepts.

 

Evaluation

Reading: 1

The student may need to spend more time reading the source text. The student’s response would have scored much higher overall if the student had better comprehended the title and beginning of the text (i.e., that the author was reviewing a novel) and to the conclusion (that the author wishes the novelist had portrayed some positive contributions of geneticists.) Another sign of rushed reading was that the student uses a quote from the author (“scientific accuracy just doesn’t matter”) without explaining its context, which makes the reader unsure why the student has included it.

 

Analysis: 2

The response is a good effort to explain what the author does and how it affects the reading audience (“Lewis proves that the science used in these books is nonsense, which makes the audiences feel, ‘What is the true science then?’”)The student should work on identifying the author’s strategies even more specifically, in other words describing in more detail how Lewis proves her points.

 

Writing: 1

In the response, the main problem is clarity. It is sometimes unclear how thoughts connect to each other, and whether the student is slipping into personal opinion, or explaining the effect of the author’s strategy. The student can improve clarity in his or her responses by practicing using more precise vocabulary, as well as learning more about using phrases and commas.

 

Sample Response: Score 4/3/3
The book Inferno, by Dan Brown, is the topic of Ricki Lewis in the essay, “Dan Brown’s Inferno: Good Plot, Bad Science.” She is getting ready to give a talk on the novel, about an insane geneticist, and she has decided that it gets an “A” in style but an “F” in genetics. Lewis uses her own factual knowledge to prove how the book is wrong regarding it’s plot, and she builds her argument against the book with stylistic and reasoning methods. 

 

The reader can tell that Lewis is a scientist because she does not need to refer to an authority in order to state that the facts are wrong. Right away, she makes a strong case because she says that Brown confuses “cerebellum with cerebrum, and PET scans with CT scans,” which seem like very basic mistakes. She lists more mistakes as she goes on to point out the most illogical parts at the end. She says that Brown mixes up natural selection with genetic enhancement. When she writes about that, the reader almost feels embarrassed for Brown, because he is so famous.

The author is very blunt and choppy at the end, so it has stylistic impact. She is talking about how Brown explains the science, and she calls it “hand-waving—throw out a bunch of terms that presumably readers won’t recognize to make it sound like it makes sense. It doesn’t.” Also, she says that the world that is already “science-phobic” does not need “another mad scientist—even a fictional one.” So these features make the reader believe that she has the final word, and Dan Brown could not argue against her.

 

The reasoning element comes into play when Lewis wonders why Brown didn’t include a subplot about something good achieved by genetics. She says that Brown is so famous, and he had an opportunity to teach people, but he did not use it. He could have written in a subplot about how a family saves its child from a genetic disease, according to Lewis. Her argument is logical because she raises a good point.


Overall, Lewis uses her own facts, combined with blunt style and logical reasoning to explain why Dan Browns novel gets an “F” in science. She kind of implies that he may scare people about genetics in ways that they don’t need to be scared, because it’s not possible to do the things he shows people doing.  

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

The student quickly establishes that he or she understands the article’s central idea by claiming that the article’s author “has decided that it [Inferno] gets an ‘A’ in style but an ‘F’ in genetics.” The student’s summaries are accurate and concise and make excellent use of quotes from the article. The student’s skillful use of quotations and ability to connect the author’s ideas within the response indicate a strong understanding of the source material. 

 

Analysis: 3

The student’s analysis remains focused and relevant to the source material. For example, in paragraph 2 of her response, the student explains that the author appeals to her authority as a scientist when criticizing Dan Brown; in the last sentence of the paragraph, the student briefly elaborates on this idea by explaining the impact the author’s strategy has on the reader. However, for a more comprehensive analysis, the student could further explore the ways in which the author’s stylistic decisions influence the reader or support the article’s central idea. 

 

Writing: 3

The student consistently uses clear phrasing and simple but precise diction. Additionally, the student’s response is structured well, presenting a clear progression of ideas. The student could improve his or her response by including a greater variety of sentence structures; using sentence structures that are more sophisticated may allow the student to convey a more complex and nuanced analysis of the source material.

SAT ESSAY TEST 5: SAMPLE RESPONSES

Sample Response: Score 2/1/1
The passage “The Other Side of American Football” it talks a lot about the negative outcomes that can occour playin the three different levels of football. Things like conccusions, broken bones, and diseases like CTE. 

 

“In the 2005/2006 season more than 500,000 injuries happened in just high school.” This means that as young as these kids are they are damaging their brains and bodies. Some kids after high school play college. At this level they are stronger so if they keep getting injured their injuries could be chronic or con lead to death because of the damage to the brain. This passage talks about how the damage of the brain is caused by hard tackles and the lack of protection to the players. Players after death have show CTE which is a disease to the brain by bruising it, some players at early ages have shown the brain of an elderly person such as 80 – 90 years old. 

 

The author uses facts from people who had brain damaged or people who died from playing football. This author used lots of facts and true history to support his claim of banning football. 

 

Evaluation

Reading: 2 

The student starts with a nice summary of the author’s evidence, and does a good job of restating the text’s factual information. The reading score would have been higher if the response had focused on describing the author’s purpose before the last line.

 

Analysis: 1

The student needs to practice analyzing rather than summarizing. The student is on the right track by pointing out at the end of the response that the author “used a lot of facts and true history,” but in order to get a higher score, the student must expand upon and explain the effects of the strategy on the reader.

 

Writing: 1

Reading the response, one cannot help but feel that the student simply wrote summarizing sentences while reading through the source text. But the College Board is looking for more organization, such as a “central claim” at the beginning of a student response, followed by a “discernible progression of ideas.” In other words, students must begin by describing the author’s goal, and then think up two or three topic sentences for the beginning of distinct paragraphs.

 

Sample Response: Score 4/4/4
Joseph Stalin famously claimed, “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic,” implying that tragedy relies on being able to connect a name, a face, or a list of accomplishments to the deceased. In the article “The Other Side of American Football” Meyer ensures that the reader sees the tragedy of football-related mental illnesses by recounting the admirable achievements and bright futures of football players only to reveal that their premature deaths are linked to football-related injuries. Meyer's appeals to statistics and medical diagnoses serve to underscore his appeals to the reader’s emotion, which are conveyed via multiple accounts of premature deaths. 

 

Meyer's central claim, that “America must ban high school football, restrict it in college, and must radically change the professional game,” would seem extreme if not for the damning evidence presented throughout his article. The information in paragraph 1 alone is enough to raise alarm in even the staunchest football advocate. Moreover, the way Meyer presents the information hints at the severity and pervasiveness of football-related head injuries: five deaths are recounted in as many sentences. The brevity of the deceased players’ lives is highlighted by the brevity of Meyer's accounts. 

 

Meyer does not just rely on tragic personal accounts to drive home his central claim. He invokes statistics and medical diagnoses to heighten the emotional impact of the deaths discussed throughout the article. Even if the tragic personal anecdotes were absent from the article, fact alone would appall the reader. In paragraph 2, Meyer reveals that CTE, a pervasive football-related head injury, does not just kill the players it effects, it also drives them to insanity. Symptoms of CTE include “depression,” “violent outbursts,” and “dementia.” And the tragic consequences of these symptoms are revealed throughout the article. Meyer's account of Dave Duerson’s death highlights the insidious manifestation of CTE’s symptoms, which ruined Duersons’ life and likely led to his death. 

 

The multiple accounts of football player deaths because of CTE would raise concern in any compassionate reader, yet the staggering statistics relayed in paragraph 4 horrify. These statistics cause the reader to question how a sport can be condoned if it kills approximately ten high school students and causes 50,000 serious injuries each year. These statistics recall Meyer's rhetorical question, “What kind of country sacrifices the lives of young athletes so it can watch a game?” Based on the evidence he presents, the answer is resoundingly, “America.” Ultimately, Meyer's use of tragic accounts, horrifying medical diagnoses, and shocking statistics brings attention to the issue of football-related head injuries. Moreover, these same elements, conveyed persuasively by the author, justify his central claim—football must undergo radical changes to better ensure the safety and mental wellbeing of its players. After all, no rational modern society should trade human life for entertainment. 

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

This response demonstrates a clear understanding of the prompt. The student correctly describes the author’s main point, which is that the toll that football takes on people’s lives is too dear and that America’s relationship with the sport must change. The student pulls relevant quotes from the prompt when needed (“America must ban high school football, restrict it in college, and must radically change the professional game”), and follows the author’s argument across the different forms of evidence—statistical, medical, and personal—he presents in support of his assertions.

 

Analysis: 4

The student displays mastery of the analytic task. Not only does he follow the author’s argument over different forms of evidence, as noted above, he correctly assesses the impact of each type of evidence (Meyer does not just rely on tragic personal accounts; He invokes statistics and medical diagnoses to heighten the emotional impact). The student also makes note of sophisticated stylistic elements (The brevity of the deceased players’ lives is highlighted by the brevity of Meyer's accounts) and persuasive rhetorical techniques (These statistics recall Meyers’ rhetorical question) employed by the author to really drive home his point.

 

Writing: 4

Nevertheless, it is an ideal for which students can strive. The essay begins with a powerful and (more importantly) relevant outside quote (Joseph Stalin famously claimed) and strong introductory paragraph, and concludes with another strong paragraph which both summarizes the analysis and reinforces the author’s central point in light of this analysis (Moreover, these same elements, conveyed persuasively by the author, justify his central claim). Sentence structures are sophisticated and varied, as is the use of vocabulary (staunchest; insidious manifestation; resoundingly).

SAT ESSAY TEST 6: SAMPLE RESPONSES

Sample Response: Score 1/1/1
Chloe Medosch talks about how urbanization is leading to a decline of the older trees. She talks about how 87% of hollow-bearing trees population will decline over the next 300 years. how does she know this, yes it is an average but things can change in the 300 years either for better or worse. Chloe Medosch seems to be like a friendly environmental person because she talks about how she cares about the animals life and the fact that some animals live in trees and if the trees are dying the animals life can be in danger. 

 

She mentions Canaberra Australia and how the population is projected to double. She also mentions that due to that terrestrial environment could occure, what does she mean by saying that? Does she say it to notify us that something bad is going to happen or is it to let us know that a good change is going to occur? The author also mentions in the passage that they are getting data about how fast the new trees are growing and how the old trees are being taken down or dieing. This is trying to let the reader know that she isn’t the only one trying to save the trees and that there are more people concerned about the trees and how urbanization is slowly leading to the cause of trees getting cut down or dying because we as humans want to build more buildings in places where trees are planted so we cut them down without thinking about the damage we are doing to nature. 

 

She mentions how we can save the trees not only for the animals but also for us because we need the oxygen. She talks about how we can develop strategies with the research available on how to protect old trees and how to help trees to grow. The last thing she mentions is that “We are not the only living beings on Earth.” She says this because it is easy for us to forget about the animals, but that we should always keep in mind that we need them. 

 

Evaluation

Reading: 1

The student does show an understanding of the text’s overall point, that tree populations are in danger, but does not mention that the author is mainly reporting on a study that predicted tree loss around one city. The student can improve by focusing very carefully on the title and the first few paragraphs of a source text in order to make sense of it. 

 

Analysis: 1

The response is mostly summary; the student needs to more thoroughly interpret the author's use of techniques. The student begins to do this by mentioning the author's use of data, but ends up summarizing the data rather tahn analyzing why the author thinks that the data will persuade the reader. 

 

Writing: 1

The student is "questioning the text," as evidenced by  the interior questions in the second paragraph. As the student prepares for the SAT Essay Test, however, he or she must instead write claims and then support those claims with evidence from the text. The student should also work on sentence structure and punctuation in order to avoid run-on sentences. 

 

Sample Response: Score 4/4/3
People think about saving trees in the forest but sometimes we have to think about our own backyard. Chloe Medosch in her article “Out on a Limb: Dwindling Trees in Cities,” uses data, reasoning, and an emotional call to action to give readers more concern about the trees around cities. Medosch is very persuasive that people need to work together on saving trees or planting them.

 

Medosch uses data from a study in Canberra, Australia where they figured out the average number of trees, and how much they were dying or getting taken out, and how fast the younger ones were growing. Then they predicted what would happen if everything kept going just the same, and they found out that trees with hollows could decline 87 percent over the next 300 years. Or they could even die out within 115 years. The specific numbers sound really convincing because they don’t seem like guesses. So we have to face the reality of the numbers.


Medosch also uses reasoning to make her case about trees. She says that “Only with a combined management strategy, including planting more hollow-bearing trees and forming more hollow-bearing habitats, would the population of trees increase over 250 years…” Medosch wants cities to plan so that they can make sure that they are planting enough trees which seems simple and appeals to the reader’s logic. The reader can see that there is a solution. Medosch also brings the concept of innovation into the discussion, saying that “urbanization brings new innovation,” such as putting up nesting boxes.

 

Finally, Medosch uses emotional facts and words to bring the reader on board. At the very beginning she says that we need the old trees for oxygen, but also 180 animal species depend on hollow trees for living. Later she says that losing the trees is “a terrifying thought,” and then she mentions that birds, bats, squirrels and others live in the trees. Mentioning these animals, plus ourselves and the oxygen, makes the reader feel that the trees are important and feel anxious about losing them.

 

Trees are important, not just to birds and animals but to all of us. When our cities grow and take over areas with large, old trees, we need to think about the future. We won’t be here, but other people will. Chloe Medosch uses powerful writing strategies to make us want to save trees and plant new ones.

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

The student demonstrates a strong understanding of a passage that includes complex numerical concepts such as extrapolation. He or she accurately paraphrases the data and the concepts presented (Then they predicted what would happen if everything kept going just the same) while correctly representing the author’s central assertion (Medosch is very persuasive that people need to work together on saving trees).

 

Analysis: 4

The student successfully accomplishes the analytic task. He or she not only summarizes the use of data as evidence, but also describes their presentation in light of the effect they are intended to have on the reader (The specific numbers sound really convincing because they don’t seem like guesses; seems simple and appeals to the reader’s logic). This response addresses all three important aspects of the argument’s delivery—evidence, reasoning, and style—and their emotional and intellectual impact (makes the reader feel that the trees are important and feel anxious about losing them).

 

Writing: 3

The essay is clear and well-structured. The various points are helpfully organized into paragraphs, with functional introductory and concluding paragraphs. The concluding paragraph, however, is mostly a restatement of previously made points, and the essay as a whole suffers from repetitive sentence structure (Medosch uses data; Medosch also uses reasoning; Finally, Medosch uses emotional facts) and in this respect would be improved by greater variety in syntax. The student could also improve by using more sophisticated diction. For example, saying, "in addition to" rather than "plus" sounds more academic. 

SAT Pattern Strategy Sample Essays 

​Third Edition

SAT ESSAY TEST 1: SAMPLE RESPONSE

Sample Response: Score 4/3/4

In the essay, “I hate personality tests,” the blogger known as Stubborn Mule argues that
personality tests do not reflect real personality traits of participants. In this essay, the author
focuses on appeals to emotion and the use of facts to persuade readers of his or her claim. In
particular, the author relies on diction to relate to the reader in a humorous manner that
undermines the validity of personality tests.


In the first paragraph of the essay, Stubborn Mule uses words like “fancy” and “lucky” in
a sarcastic fashion to evoke his or her frustration with personality tests. In addition, the author
compares personality tests to astrology to discredit the former’s effectiveness at predicting
cognitive and behavioral patterns. The author uses diction in this paragraph to connect with the
audience; he or she creates a friendly and entertaining tone that helps readers identify with his
or her perspective. By engaging with the reader in this way, Stubborn Mule strengthens the
overall argument.


In addition to connecting with the audience on a personal level, the author also uses
facts and scientific evidence to persuade readers of his or her point. Particularly effective is the
author’s mention of the “Forer effect.” By referencing a well-known psychological study,
Stubborn Mule provides compelling evidence that people easily relate to any personality type,
regardless of its origin or accuracy. This example further undermines the efficacy of personality
tests and reinforces the author’s central claim.


In the concluding paragraph, the author acknowledges a differing perspective by
conceding that personality tests have “more substance… than astrology.” This rhetorical
strategy is not as effective as other strategies the author uses because its inclusion is insincere.
Stubborn Mule does not seem dedicated to exploring how or why these tests are more accurate
indicators of behavior. Instead, he or she seems to express only his or her frustration and fails
to build a solid counterargument to the legitimate value that personality tests offer.

 

Throughout the essay, the author uses diction to create a connection with the reader.
Sarcasm is an especially powerful strategy that encourages the reader to support Stubborn
Mule’s position. Though the author concedes that personality tests have some value, this
acknowledgement actually weakens the author’s claim. To compensate for this shortcoming,
Stubborn Mule builds a convincing argument with his use of facts and reasoning. The inclusion
of the “Forer effect” especially lends credibility to the author’s point.


Evaluation
Reading: 4
The student demonstrates thorough comprehension of the blog entry, accurately describing the
author’s central idea that personality tests do not reflect real personality traits of participants,
and identifies the main supporting strategies of sarcastic humor and scientific facts.


Analysis: 3
The student insightfully focuses on two of the author’s main strategies to discredit personality
testing: the use of sarcastic humor, and an explanation of the Forer effect. The response could

have been strengthened with more discussion of how the author makes use of these. For
example, the student says that By referencing a well-known psychological study, Stubborn Mule
provides compelling evidence that people easily relate to any personality type, regardless of its
origin or accuracy
, a point that could have been explained more fully. Even so, the overall
analysis is clear and perceptive.


Writing: 4
The response is well organized, with a central claim, logical flow of focused ideas, and clear
transitions. Diction and sentence variation are excellent; for example, the student discusses
what in the passage further undermines the efficacy of personality tests, and determines that a
strategy is less effective because its inclusion is insincere.

SAT ESSAY TEST 2: SAMPLE RESPONSE

Sample Response: Score 4/4/4

The author of “Earthbound Imagination” presents a progressive, well-supported, and nuanced argument in favor of greater boldness in the depiction of extra-terrestrial lifeforms in science fiction. In this essay, the author—Mr. Gerdisch—draws from natural science, psychology, and popular culture to critique the tendency of science-fiction books and movies to portray extra-terrestrial life as “slightly-different-humans”, essentially mirrors of ourselves in physical form and “cultural practices.” Whereas such representations may be effective for certain purposes, Mr. Gerdisch argues that such they have been overrepresented in science-fiction, and that these representations fail to accomplish one of science-fiction’s central functions, to “cause people to question their preconceptions, not reinforce them.”
    
Mr. Gerdisch begins by posing questions—an effective rhetorical technique for generating interest in a topic that many readers have probably overlooked. The questions he poses are of a general character, the type of questions we have all pondered: considering the immensity of the universe, and the likelihood of extra-terrestrial life, “what might these exotic beings… look like? How might they behave?” Once the questions have been raised, Mr Gerdisch is in a position to introduce his complaint: rather than embrace the opportunity to stretch our imaginations, science-fiction has tended to depict these hypothetical beings as disguised versions of ourselves.

 

Although he is critical of them, the author provides explanations for these practices. By doing so, he clarifies the issue. He demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon he is attempting to change, which strengthens his analysis. Rather than simply criticizing the practice, he expresses empathy with the motivations that have created it. He demonstrates his understanding over the course of an extended example—the enormously successful movie Star Wars. His choice of movie is all-the-more effective in that it is widely known and loved. The aliens of Star Wars are representative of the central problem—its aliens mostly look like humans. Earlier in the paragraph, he suggests one of the motivations for such a treatment. Science fiction, he writes, is often an instrument for exploring “social, political, or religious issues” that actually exist in human societies. In other words, science-fiction is often used to create alternate versions of human reality. A variation on this motivation is presented through the character of Chewbacca, a specific example of a humanoid alien from Star Wars. According to the author, science-fiction creates anthropomorphic extra-terrestrials in order to make them more accessible and thus more popular.
    
For Mr. Gerdisch, these justifications are not enough. He argues that the purpose of science-fiction is the treatment of “big, important questions about where we came from and where we are going,” and that simple humanoid representations of aliens waste an important opportunity. His essay ends by presenting examples of works that have challenged our conventional notions, such as Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the original Star Trek series. His concluding paragraph notes the importance of science-fiction on a real human advance—space travel—to once again inspire his readers to seek more in their books and movies than “small green men with large heads”.
    
Throughout the essay, Mr. Gerdisch utilizes a conversational tone to convince readers of his position. He expresses disappointment with the phrase “that’s a shame”, and empathy with the phrases “don’t get me wrong” and “fair enough”. He leads the reader to his side through the effective use a rhetorical question in paragraph five. The strength of the essay, however, is its strong line of reasoning. It presents a balanced treatment of the question of extra-terrestrial life-forms in science-fiction, explaining underlying tendencies, and calling for a shift, rather than an overturning, of the status quo.

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

Throughout the response, the student makes use of quotations and paraphrases to show thorough understanding of the text. The response describes how the author’s central claims connect to supporting details (i.e., “A variation on this motivation is presented through the character of Chewbacca…”) The response interprets the author’s intent even regarding small phrases (i.e., “that’s a shame.”) 

 

Analysis: 4

The response outlines several of the author’s persuasive strategies and explains them insightfully. For example, the student points out the reason that the author explains the very practices with which he disagrees: this strategy “brings clarity ”and “lends credence to the issue.” The student chooses support from the text strategically, providing an excellent overall evaluation, concluding that the essay’s strength is its “strong line of reasoning.”


Writing: 4

The student demonstrates great command of the language, using sophisticated vocabulary and a highly effective progression of ideas. Sentence structures and lengths are varied, creating statements that smoothly explain difficult ideas (i.e., extraterrestrials in books and movies are “essentially mirrors of ourselves”) and catch the reader’s attention (i.e., “For Mr. Gerdisch, these justifications do not suffice.”)

SAT ESSAY TEST 3: SAMPLE RESPONSE

Sample Response: Score 4/4/4

In her Essay, “Here are some more reasons why liberal arts matter,” Cecelia
Gaposchkin explains why liberal arts are an important part of a well-rounded education.
Ms. Gaposchkin acknowledges counterarguments, provides examples of industries that
rely heavily on liberal-arts disciplines, and uses logical reasoning to convince readers
that liberal arts are important in their own right.


One key strategy employed by Ms. Gaposchkin in relaying her opinion is the
recognition of other viewpoints. From the start, she asserts that many view STEM
disciplines as “practical [and] technical.” She also concedes that “some disciplines might
prepare for certain types of problem solving… more strongly than others.” These
counterarguments are cogent and relevant to the author’s own claim. Their inclusion
provides a logical springboard for Ms. Gaposchkin’s case and strengthens the
declarations made later in the passage; the use of counterarguments makes the essay
feel like a debate, and her points are directly opposed to the rhetoric of her rivals.


When Ms. Gaposchkin presents her own argument, she uses a strongly logical
approach. She declares the value of liberal arts lies in learning “how to think, not simply
what to know.” She backs this up by reminding us that “information itself is now so
easily acquired through Google.” These points provide the core of her argument: that
liberal arts disciplines are both valuable and practical. The logic here supports the
central claim and candidly retorts the counterpoints she concedes throughout the essay.


Another strong point of Ms. Gaposchkin’s essay is the incorporation of examples.
“Whole industries do in fact exist that are not based on STEM premises,” she posits.
The list includes several sectors that are recognized as major contributors to a strong
economy. In addition to industries that are independent of STEM curricula, Ms.
Gaposchkin mentions that many STEM-centric business also rely on nontechnical
employees. These examples build on the logic presented previously and provide sound
support to the author’s main idea. By utilizing examples in this way, Ms. Gaposchkin
shows that her premise is applicable to the real world.


Throughout her essay, Cecelia Gaposchkin argues that liberal arts are a valuable
course of study. Though some of her points are rather weak, the overall essay does a
good job convincing readers of the main premise. The use of examples and logical
reasoning are especially helpful in persuading the audience. Most importantly, however,
Ms. Gaposchkin creates a sense of debate by continually referring to
counterarguments. Her use of logic and examples directly responds to each
counterargument. This style thoroughly convinces the reader of her thoughtful analysis.

 

Evaluation
Reading: 4
The response demonstrates a complete understanding of the essay’s central argument
and its structure. For example, the student reflects on how the use of counterarguments
make the essay feel like a debate
.

Analysis: 4
The student identifies three main persuasive strategies used in the essay and discusses
the value of each using specific examples from the text. The student’s explanations, for
example, include noting that including counterarguments provides a logical springboard
for the author’s arguments, and that her examples build on the logic presented
previously
and show that her premise is applicable to the real world.


Writing: 4
The writing is sophisticated. The student makes a few minor mistakes. However, assessors understand that minor mistakes will occur in a timed test, and this response’s varied vocabulary and sentence structure, as well as its clear organization, easily earn it a “4.”

SAT ESSAY TEST 4: SAMPLE RESPONSE

Sample Response: Score 2/3/4

In his essay, “Why do we fall for fake news?” S. Shyam Sundar discusses
several facets of the fake news phenomenon and provides reasons for its power in the
age of digital media. Mr. Sundar relies heavily on logical reasoning, but also presents
evidence in the form of scientific studies performed by himself and other researchers.


To begin his evaluation of fake news in the media, Mr. Sundar takes a historical
approach. He examines the rise of the internet and the presence of news media prior to
the popularity of online new outlets. This provides compelling evidence for the role of
the internet in propagating fake news. Mr. Sundar specifically points out the role of
“Usenet newsgroups where hoaxes where shared.” Though fake news was common in
the early days of the internet, Mr. Sundar points out that television, radio, and
newspapers were still prominent; the circulation of news through these formats curtailed
the spread of misinformation due to “gatekeepers,” who rigorously fact-checked
information.


Mr. Sundar uses the information presented early on and builds on the facts using
logical reasoning. He points out the fact that “politicians and celebrities have direct
access to millions of followers.” These famous people, Mr. Sundar adds, rarely check
the veracity of the news they share. He reasons that, in this way, people are exposed to
a variety of news sources, many of which are fake. This strategy helps the reader
understand why online media is a cesspool of misinformation; it provides context for Mr.
Sundar’s arguments and creates a logical transition to the introduction of Mr. Sundar’s
own research.


Approximately half of Mr. Sundar’s essay examines research that verifies the
information introduced earlier. Here, Mr. Sundar considers another reason why people
believe fake news: personalized news feeds. The research here exposes bias in the
way many people interpret news sources and easily convinces the reader that social
media (and online media in general) engenders this kind of bias.


Mr. Sundar’s essay convincingly persuades readers of his point: that online
media has led to an increase in the circulation of fake news. He uses multiple strategies
that effectively assure the audience of his argument. His use of historical information
and facts regarding the current state of news culture show the reader how and why fake
news has become so prominent. Finally, Mr. Sundar’s inclusion of peer-reviewed
research ensures wide acceptance of his claim.


Evaluation 2/3/4
Reading: 2
The response indicates that the student read the essay a little too quickly. The student
begins by correctly describing its central argument as fake news’ power in the age of
digital media. The student also correctly identifies the connection the author makes
between personalized news feeds and bias. However, while the essay primarily offers
reasons that people are vulnerable to falsehoods on social media, the student reads

that as claims about the amount of fake news itself, incorrectly stating the author’s main
purpose is to evaluate online news media and to persuade the reader that online media
has led to an increase in the circulation of fake news.


Also, when the author mentions “politicians and celebrities” as potential links in chains
of sources which readers do not check, the student reads that as the author claiming
that famous people rarely check the veracity of the news they share.

Analysis: 3
The student identifies the author’s main strategies: use of facts and logical explanations
to build context, and scientific research to support claims. Regarding the first, the
student is somewhat clear describing the role of logic: if gatekeepers are bypassed,
more fake facts will appear. The student is more explicit about the effectiveness of
referring to authoritative research that exposes bias in the way many people interpret
news sources and easily convinces the reader that social media (and online media in
general) engenders this kind of bias.


Writing: 4
The student response is very well-written. It is free of errors in grammar or punctuation,
well-organized, and uses sophisticated vocabulary such as prominent, rigorously, and
engendered.

SAT ESSAY TEST 5: SAMPLE RESPONSE

Sample Response: Score 4/4/4
Joseph Stalin famously claimed, “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic,” implying that tragedy relies on being able to connect a name, a face, or a list of accomplishments to the deceased. In the article “The Other Side of American Football” Meyer ensures that the reader sees the tragedy of football-related mental illnesses by recounting the admirable achievements and bright futures of football players only to reveal that their premature deaths are linked to football-related injuries. Meyer's appeals to statistics and medical diagnoses serve to underscore his appeals to the reader’s emotion, which are conveyed via multiple accounts of premature deaths. 

 

Meyer's central claim, that “America must ban high school football, restrict it in college, and must radically change the professional game,” would seem extreme if not for the damning evidence presented throughout his article. The information in paragraph 1 alone is enough to raise alarm in even the staunchest football advocate. Moreover, the way Meyer presents the information hints at the severity and pervasiveness of football-related head injuries: five deaths are recounted in as many sentences. The brevity of the deceased players’ lives is highlighted by the brevity of Meyer's accounts. 

 

Meyer does not just rely on tragic personal accounts to drive home his central claim. He invokes statistics and medical diagnoses to heighten the emotional impact of the deaths discussed throughout the article. Even if the tragic personal anecdotes were absent from the article, fact alone would appall the reader. In paragraph 2, Meyer reveals that CTE, a pervasive football-related head injury, does not just kill the players it effects, it also drives them to insanity. Symptoms of CTE include “depression,” “violent outbursts,” and “dementia.” And the tragic consequences of these symptoms are revealed throughout the article. Meyer's account of Dave Duerson’s death highlights the insidious manifestation of CTE’s symptoms, which ruined Duersons’ life and likely led to his death. 

 

The multiple accounts of football player deaths because of CTE would raise concern in any compassionate reader, yet the staggering statistics relayed in paragraph 4 horrify. These statistics cause the reader to question how a sport can be condoned if it kills approximately ten high school students and causes 50,000 serious injuries each year. These statistics recall Meyer's rhetorical question, “What kind of country sacrifices the lives of young athletes so it can watch a game?” Based on the evidence he presents, the answer is resoundingly, “America.” Ultimately, Meyer's use of tragic accounts, horrifying medical diagnoses, and shocking statistics brings attention to the issue of football-related head injuries. Moreover, these same elements, conveyed persuasively by the author, justify his central claim—football must undergo radical changes to better ensure the safety and mental wellbeing of its players. After all, no rational modern society should trade human life for entertainment. 

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

This response demonstrates a clear understanding of the prompt. The student correctly describes the author’s main point, which is that the toll that football takes on people’s lives is too dear and that America’s relationship with the sport must change. The student pulls relevant quotes from the prompt when needed (“America must ban high school football, restrict it in college, and must radically change the professional game”), and follows the author’s argument across the different forms of evidence—statistical, medical, and personal—he presents in support of his assertions.

 

Analysis: 4

The student displays mastery of the analytic task. Not only does he follow the author’s argument over different forms of evidence, as noted above, he correctly assesses the impact of each type of evidence (Meyer does not just rely on tragic personal accounts; He invokes statistics and medical diagnoses to heighten the emotional impact). The student also makes note of sophisticated stylistic elements (The brevity of the deceased players’ lives is highlighted by the brevity of Meyer's accounts) and persuasive rhetorical techniques (These statistics recall Meyers’ rhetorical question) employed by the author to really drive home his point.

 

Writing: 4

Nevertheless, it is an ideal for which students can strive. The essay begins with a powerful and (more importantly) relevant outside quote (Joseph Stalin famously claimed) and strong introductory paragraph, and concludes with another strong paragraph which both summarizes the analysis and reinforces the author’s central point in light of this analysis (Moreover, these same elements, conveyed persuasively by the author, justify his central claim). Sentence structures are sophisticated and varied, as is the use of vocabulary (staunchest; insidious manifestation; resoundingly).

SAT ESSAY TEST 6: SAMPLE RESPONSE

Sample Response: Score 4/4/3
People think about saving trees in the forest but sometimes we have to think about our own backyard. Chloe Medosch in her article “Out on a Limb: Dwindling Trees in Cities,” uses data, reasoning, and an emotional call to action to give readers more concern about the trees around cities. Medosch is very persuasive that people need to work together on saving trees or planting them.

 

Medosch uses data from a study in Canberra, Australia where they figured out the average number of trees, and how much they were dying or getting taken out, and how fast the younger ones were growing. Then they predicted what would happen if everything kept going just the same, and they found out that trees with hollows could decline 87 percent over the next 300 years. Or they could even die out within 115 years. The specific numbers sound really convincing because they don’t seem like guesses. So we have to face the reality of the numbers.


Medosch also uses reasoning to make her case about trees. She says that “Only with a combined management strategy, including planting more hollow-bearing trees and forming more hollow-bearing habitats, would the population of trees increase over 250 years…” Medosch wants cities to plan so that they can make sure that they are planting enough trees which seems simple and appeals to the reader’s logic. The reader can see that there is a solution. Medosch also brings the concept of innovation into the discussion, saying that “urbanization brings new innovation,” such as putting up nesting boxes.

 

Finally, Medosch uses emotional facts and words to bring the reader on board. At the very beginning she says that we need the old trees for oxygen, but also 180 animal species depend on hollow trees for living. Later she says that losing the trees is “a terrifying thought,” and then she mentions that birds, bats, squirrels and others live in the trees. Mentioning these animals, plus ourselves and the oxygen, makes the reader feel that the trees are important and feel anxious about losing them.

 

Trees are important, not just to birds and animals but to all of us. When our cities grow and take over areas with large, old trees, we need to think about the future. We won’t be here, but other people will. Chloe Medosch uses powerful writing strategies to make us want to save trees and plant new ones.

 

Evaluation

Reading: 4

The student demonstrates a strong understanding of a passage that includes complex numerical concepts such as extrapolation. He or she accurately paraphrases the data and the concepts presented (Then they predicted what would happen if everything kept going just the same) while correctly representing the author’s central assertion (Medosch is very persuasive that people need to work together on saving trees).

 

Analysis: 4

The student successfully accomplishes the analytic task. He or she not only summarizes the use of data as evidence, but also describes their presentation in light of the effect they are intended to have on the reader (The specific numbers sound really convincing because they don’t seem like guesses; seems simple and appeals to the reader’s logic). This response addresses all three important aspects of the argument’s delivery—evidence, reasoning, and style—and their emotional and intellectual impact (makes the reader feel that the trees are important and feel anxious about losing them).

 

Writing: 3

The essay is clear and well-structured. The various points are helpfully organized into paragraphs, with functional introductory and concluding paragraphs. The concluding paragraph, however, is mostly a restatement of previously made points, and the essay as a whole suffers from repetitive sentence structure (Medosch uses data; Medosch also uses reasoning; Finally, Medosch uses emotional facts) and in this respect would be improved by greater variety in syntax. The student could also improve by using more sophisticated diction. For example, saying, "in addition to" rather than "plus" sounds more academic.