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SAT Essay College Board Test #4:

  • 50 minutes total
  • Post essay below for review

PDF Exams (Print Format):

Essay Grading Tool:

As you read the essay passage, consider how the author uses

  • evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
  • reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
  • stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.

Your essay should not explain whether you agree with the author’s claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his audience.

The following links are to PrepScholar’s (one of our favorite SAT references) SAT essay articles.

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This Post Has One Comment
  1. In the passage, “Let There be Dark,” Paul Bogard argues that natural darkness should be preserved. In response to increasing light pollution, Bogard effectively employs logical reasoning, anecdotal evidence, and an emotional appeal to persuade the readers of his claim.

    Bogard begins his passage with a personal anecdote to motivate his readers to preserve natural darkness. “At my family’s cabin on a Minnesota lake, I knew woods so dark that my hands disappeared before my eyes. I knew night skies in which meteors left smoky trails across sugary spreads of stars.” Bogard depicts a clear image of the nights he spent at his family cabin in his childhood days, and the wonders of the natural darkness he experienced as a child. Bogard draws a crystal image in his readers’ mind of this astonishing natural darkness and inspires his readers to see natural darkness for themselves. On the other hand, Bogard also criticizes his readers of their tendencies. “Today, though, when we feel the closeness of nightfall, we reach quickly for a light switch.” Bogard emphasizes a trivial habit, normally gone unnoticed, and criticizes his readers for immediately rushing to the safety of light. Bogard’s simple observation of an unnoticed habit motivates his readers to reflect on themselves and wonder whether they really need the light. The anecdote and observation Brogard provides helps set up the coherent logical argument used later in the passage.

    Throughout the passage, Bogard utilizes a sound logical reasoning in order to convince his reader there is a worth in preserving natural darkness. “Sleep disorders have been linked to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression, and recent research suggests one main cause of ‘short sleep’ is ‘long light.’” Bogard sets up a logical connection between “short sleep” and the increase in the amounts of light, providing several examples of diseases linked to “short sleep.” The explicit nature of this logic allows Bogard to force his readers to contemplate the negative effect increased amounts of light can have on a person’s health. Additionally, Bogard applies his logic to the waste in energy and money caused by the usage of artificial lighting to further support his argument. “United States at night…is now nearly covered with a blanket of light. Much of this light is wasted energy, which means wasted dollars.” Bogard rationally correlates the unnecessary amount of light used to the loss in money due to this squandering of light. In doing so, the readers are compelled to search for solutions to reduce artificial light usage and transitively increase natural darkness. Bogard’s coherent and logical connection of ideas gives him the strong foundation needed to convince his readers of his claim.

    Finally, Bogard efficaciously couches his argument by appealing to his readers’ emotions. “Ecological light pollution is like the bulldozer of the night, wrecking habitat and disrupting ecosystems several billion years in the making. Simply put, without darkness, Earth’s ecology would collapse….” The immeasurable amount of time and effort nature put into building Earth’s ecological system would be utterly wrecked in mere decades and by effect, the animals dependent on darkness would be severely affected. By describing the massive negative effects of light pollution on Earth’s ecology and animals, Bogard invokes a sense of pity in his readers, effectively impelling the readers to ruminate over the consequences of the wasteful amounts of light usage. Bogards cogent appeal to his readers’ emotions wraps up his argument in a compelling manner that persuades the readers of Bogards claim.

    By providing a clear, cohesive logical explanation, vivid anecdotes to inspire his readers, and finishing with an emotional ploy, Bogard is able to effectively convince his readers to preserve natural darkness.

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