Thursday, November 29, 2012


SAT Sample Essay #3
Do Changes That Make Our Lives Easier Necessarily Make Them Better?
Society has certainly come a long way from the days of hunter-gathering, with mankind constantly transforming itself throughout history, evolving to keep up with the various types of change it has been forced to face. Indeed, the people of current times, products of an age of rapid technological progress, have, in particular, experienced perhaps more change in the span of a couple of years than the people of different eras have experienced in their entire lives, and as a result, enjoy the availability of luxuries previously thought unimaginable. However, just because a change makes one’s life easier does not necessarily mean that it makes it better. In fact, the opposite can definitely be argued in the case of certain aspects of the advanced mode of life that so many have come to grow used to, such as the easy accessibility of knowledge and the ability for instant, electronic communication.
            With the emergence of the computer came the Internet, and with the rise of computer-owners and internet-users came the widespread proliferation of information and the search engine – which allowed for quick, easy access to it. However, although having an instantaneous means of gaining entry to a profusion of information certainly makes life easier and saves time, as with all changes in society, it comes with drawbacks as well. The search engine and the many doors that it opened in regards to the new abundance of knowledge is now a feature of life often taken for granted. A mere decade and a half ago, students had to physically seek out the information they needed in order to write a report or satiate curiosity, which in turn gave them a true recognition for the beauty of knowledge and the attainment of it. Whereas now there has sprung up a spoiled generation that has no reason to attach any worth to the pursuit of knowledge, a generation used to information that is easily and instantly accessible, and thus lacks any real appreciation for it. 
            Another product of technology that has had mixed consequences is the capacity for instant, virtual communication. This achievement has undoubtedly generated a myriad of positive effects, and the new realms of possibility that it has unlocked in terms of convenience of interaction are undeniable, but perhaps, an important aspect of human relationship has been lost in the process. With the popularity and ease of instant messaging, face-to-face, personal conversations have, to some degree, been rendered unnecessary in forging a relationship with someone – a thing of the past. In many ways, the relationships between members of the younger generation suffer greatly due to a trade-off in real, meaningful interaction in favor of a virtual, instantaneous one. 
            Living in the twenty-first century, a time in which new technological innovations are being introduced on a monthly basis, it is particularly important to consider the question of whether or not advances that make life easier always succeed in making it better. This has not always been the case, with many vital aspects of humanity being lost in pursuit of convenience. Society has grown spoiled in many ways, losing appreciation and awareness of the value of knowledge now that they have been granted such quick, easy access to information, and forfeiting genuine personal, emotional relationships in favor of on-screen virtual ones. Innovation is not likely to stop anytime soon, but it is important to realize just what it is that society is giving up, and to decide whether or not it’s worth it.

SAT Sample Essay (page 761)

SAT Sample Essay (page 761)
College Board Blue Book
Do We Need Other People in Order to Understand Ourselves?
            In a modern, post-Enlightenment world, much emphasis is placed on individuality. During the eighteenth century, the individual slowly arose and began to develop as an antithesis of the collective agrarian societies prevalent in centuries past. Ever since, the idea that everyone is unique and holds the capacity for self-determination has prevailed – no longer was a person considered merely part of a herd. This is particularly relevant in the United States, with the concept of “rugged individualism” being a trait that has long defined many of the figures Americans most admire. However, an important thing to consider is that without a community to compare and contrast themselves against, what real means does an individual have in truly understanding him or herself. Indeed, other people are integral in providing a means of defining oneself, a notion which is a central theme in the novels “Brave New World,” and “Nickel and Dimed.” Both novels provided the protagonist with the concrete means of figuring out who they truly
            Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” illustrates how one can only truly recognize the virtue and worth of one’s own culture and tradition when placed in an utterly conflicting setting. It tells the story of John, a boy who grows up alienated from the rest of his traditional Native American community, dreaming of living life in the outside, “better” world that his mother had always told him about. However, the rest of the world is a highly technologized dystopia, devoid of any of the values that John holds dear. When he visits and sees life outside of his Reservation, he becomes appalled at just how horrifying and inhumane its society is, and tries to share his beliefs with others, but soon realizes that they are a lost case and standing firm in his convictions, isolates himself from their influence. Had John not visited this society and been put in an extreme, new environment, he might have never been able to realize the worth of his principles or identify who he truly was as a person.
            In “Nickel and Dimed,” a journalist goes undercover in order to experience first-hand how “the other half lives,” – to witness the reality of the minimum-wage lifestyle. As she comes across scores of people forced to endure harsh, tiring labor and complete tasks that require more of a mental and physical strain than those in more elite fields just to survive, all her preconceived notions about the working class are shattered; no longer does she view those worse off than she as lazy and uneducated. Just like John, she finds herself in an extreme, new environment that she had no way of expecting, and this in turn leads her to the discovery of several vital aspects of her character that she had previously never known she possessed. Her difficulty in persevering in her new role in society alongside several others who have been working in the bottom-rungs of America for years brought her not only a new understanding and appreciation of the hardships of the working class, but a new understanding of herself.
                  Despite a prevalent admiration of individuality in society, it is undeniable that ultimately, people define themselves in terms of others. Characteristics like intelligence, beauty, courage, and wit are all determined on a basis of comparison to others. Even the nonconformists of the world have to have a foundation from which to veer off of, an original community or group that they actively decide to act differently from. In “Brave New World,” and “Nickel and Dimed” we are handed two examples of protagonists who define themselves against the backdrops of the societies they find themselves in, exemplifying the degree to which individuality without others there to aid you in the pursuit of understanding just what makes you, you.   

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hunter practice test Essay

So cute! She choose to write about Kweller Prep!


Hunter Exam Sample Essay (The Best Thing That Happened This Year)

    Throughout this year, many momentous events have transpired in my life. I joined the volleyball team, read many great books, and made some new friends. However, the most significant benchmark by far, was when I qualified for the Hunter Exam. Qualifying for the exam presented me with a chance that not many are given. It also led me to learn many new things in the course of my preparation for the exam. Having the ability to take the test has truly changed my life.

    Every year, only a select group of students are invited to take the Hunter High School Entrance Exam. The invitation itself carries an enormous amount of prestige, and validates all my hard work throughout my years of schooling. Furthermore, as Hunter High School is considered one of the best schools in the city, the very prospect of getting to learn alongside a myriad of bright and motivated students is exciting. I know that attending Hunter will open many doors for me, and this in turn encourages me to work even harder in my attempt to get in.

    To prepare for the exam, my parents enrolled me in a tutoring center called Kweller Prep. At Kweller Prep, I was able to acquire numerous new skills such as building my vocabulary, learning how to write essays properly and improving my competence in math. Even if I fail to get into Hunter, I know that the knowledge I gained at Kweller Prep has granted me with the tools needed to excel in a variety of other subject areas, as well as to succeed in whatever I put my mind to, and will stay with me through life.

     Being given the chance to take the Hunter High School Entrance Exam has truly been the best thing that has happened to me this year. It has given me a concrete means of taking pride in my achievements and provided me with the ability of learning many invaluable new things. Regardless of whether I get into Hunter, merely receiving the invitation to take the test has already changed my life for the better.

Is the PSAT a SCAM?

Is the PSAT a scam?

The PSAT claims that if you score in the 99th percentile, then you qualify for the National Merit scholarship. So that’s means, nationwide, your score must be in the top 1%, right? Wrong!

Well, I have two students who scored in the 98th percentile, but they didn’t win the national merit scholarship. Why not? Because STATE WIDE, they are not in the 99th percentile. Isn't this a NATIONAL merit scholarship?

 Interesting. So basically kids with lower scores in other states are qualified as national merit scholars. Perhaps it Should be called a STATE merit scholarship (scam). Now if you qualify for National Merit, the you can get a full scholarship to your college of choice. Perhaps kids from New York should register for the exam to take it in another state? So how can you cheat or beat the PSAT at their own game? How about sending your kid to a boarding school for a year to a state where the National merit score is lowest? How about living in New York and making your kid take the test in a school in New Jersey?

So if there is no asterisk  then that means that your child will qualify for National Merit. Interesting, so my students have asterisks, but they did not qualify.

When calling the National Merit PSAT , they respond that the child must be in the top percentile in the state.

Another question is, why does a student have to wait 11 months to learn if he is a national merit scholarship receipent?  You get your PSAT score in about 2 months after taking the exam. The school gets the score actually, and then the principal decides when the school will actually get the score.

It’s a joke. A big joke. The score report says that “you scored higher than 99% of juniors,” but that does not automatically mean that you are in the top 1% to qualify for national merit scholarship.

Let’s take a peek at the college board’s website about what winners in which state have the highest to lowest PSAT scores?

NYU stops National Merit scholarship. An article, released by NYU, titled.
“NYU Exiting National Merit Scholarship Citing Test Process”

The article states, “New York University pulled out of the National Merit scholarships, becoming at least the ninth school to stop funding one of the largest U.S. merit-based aid programs, because it doesn’t want to reward students based on a standardized test.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. distributed more than $50 million to students in the 2009-2010 year based on the PSAT college entry practice exam. Most of the money comes from almost 200 colleges, including Northwestern University and University of Chicago, to fund awards of as much as $8,000 over four years. Companies such as Boeing Co. and Pfizer Inc. also sponsor the program, primarily to benefit their employees’ children”

Colleges contributed $23.6 million to the National Merit program in the 2009-2010 academic year and corporations and foundations gave more than $19 million. The remaining $7.7 million in scholarships were funded by National Merit from interest on its investments, which were valued at $146 million as of May 2010, according to the group’s annual report.
TO QUALIFY AS A NATIONSAL MERIT SCOLAR, you must take  the SAT, why? Because they are owned by the same company, the notorious college board.

About 3.5 million students, including as many as 1.6 million 11th-graders, took the PSAT last week, qualifying them for consideration in National Merit’s competition. The nonprofit company determines a score cutoff in each state to determine who advances as a semifinalist. Those that qualify must take the SAT exam, submit grades and write an essay to become one of about 15,000 finalists.

So who are the former national merit scholarship winners?

The College Board gains a marketing benefit from its association with National Merit when school districts or states consider using public funds to pay for the PSAT in 11th grade or ACT Inc.’s 10th-grade test known as PLAN, according to Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman for FairTest, a nonprofit group in Boston that works to end the misuses of standardized testing. Almost 1.3 million 10th-graders nationally took the PLAN test in the 2010-2011 academic year, according to the nonprofit ACT.

Still, not everyone who qualifies for a scholarship gets rewarded.

Greg Heon, 18, who graduated in June from Horace Mann, a private school in New York, scored high enough on the PSAT to become a semifinalist. Since he did well on the ACT, he hadn’t planned on taking the SAT, until he read it was required to become a finalist.