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SAT Essay College Board Test #7:

  • 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.

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. In the excerpt from the passage, “The North West London Blues,” Zadie Smith argues that public
    libraries are important and should remain open. Smith claims libraries are being closed
    down despite the multitude of uses they provide. Smith effectively builds her argument by providing
    a counterargument, an emotional appeal, and anecdotes of her own experiences in libraries.

    Throughout the article, Smith utilizes anecdotes from her own life and stories of the people
    around her to effortlessly convince her readers that libraries should be kept open. “Each morning
    I struggle to find a seat in the packed university library in which I write this, despite the fact
    every single student in here could be at home in front of their macbook browsing Google Books…”
    Smith questions the reason behind closing libraries if there are students and people like herself
    who are clearly using the library as a place of resources and work. By questioning the true reason
    behind libraries closing down and providing a personal experience, Smith instills a doubt in her
    readers’ minds and slowly convinces her readers that libraries should be kept open. Additionally,
    Smith recounts seeing people ‘defending’ libraries, going as far as to “form human chains in front
    of them. People have taken to writing long pieces in newspapers… Just saying the same thing over
    and over again.” Smith emphasizes the extent to which people are going to keep libraries open. She
    cunningly provides only examples of the efforts made to keep libraries open and effectively inspires
    her readers to support her argument.

    In addition to providing anecdotes, Smith employs a tactful emotional plot to convince her readers that
    libraries should remain open. “Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good
    library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have
    to buy anything in order to stay.” Smith cleverly targets her readers’ quantitative mindset and
    extravagates the fact that libraries do not have any monetary requirements. In doing so, Smith
    draws on her readers’ eagerness to the lack of using money and cunningly twists their fervor
    into an enthusiasm to keep libraries open.

    Finally, Smith employs a logical approach to her argument. “Kensal Rise is being closed not because it
    is unpopular but because it is unprofitable…” Smith emphasizes an argument her opposition proposes:
    libraries are not profitable, therefore they must be closed down. However. Smith counters this
    argument by stating there are indeed people who still use libraries for their own purposes. By employing
    the use of a counterargument, Smith persuades her reader that libraries are still useful, despite what her
    opposition says.

    By providing anecdotes of her experiences, an emotional ploy, and a counterargument, Smith effortlessly
    convinces her readers to support her claim.

    1. Intro: I might suggest adding “In response to news that several local libraries in the greater London area are slated to be closed,…” at the start. See 4/4/4 Sample Essay 1. It is an easy way to add some background context that indicates the writer understands the main claim. This information is always available in the bold summary at the top of every essay. Otherwise, this is a good intro with an opinionated thesis claim.

      Body 1: Is “effortlessly” the precise word to describe the author’s use of anecdotes? The paragraph starts with a strong example, but it is not a question presented by the author as the response suggests. It is a statement that may get the readers to question why a popular library might be closed, so the considerable effort to explain this example may not be as effective as it could be. The second example could end at “human chains.” The remaining phrase, “People have taken to writing long pieces in newspapers… Just saying the same thing over and over again,” doesn’t seem relevant as it is written, without indicating the long pieces were written in defense of the libraries. There is little to no further explanation of how this evidence ties back into the main argument.

      Body 2: The response relies on ene example of an emotional ploy, whereas the article contains numerous examples of appeals to emotion. Moreover, the example seems to support logical rather than emotional persuasion, so it may not even belong in this paragraph, which indicates the response doesn’t make appropriate use of evidence. The explanation of the evidence is not clear. How exactly is Smith targeting a quantitative mindset and why is that emotional? What does eagerness to lack of using money mean? This paragraph is not well-written and poorly considered.

      Body 3: The transitions between paragraphs are positive. However, the third argument to demonstrate effective use of logic fails to show how the author was effectively counterarguing. The opposing fact that libraries lose money and should be closed is logical. According to the response, the counterargument is “people…still use libraries for their own purposes.” How is that counterpoint compelling to readers based on logic? I don’t see how it is either powerful or relevant, and it is the only evidence provided. Why not highlight how the author counters the argument by demonstrating that profit motives help the few–real estate developers–at the expense of the community. This body paragraph was also poorly considered.

      Conclusion: The conclusion restates the three arguments made in the response, but it fails to reiterate the main idea. Perhaps add “Smith reacted to the potential closure of London area libraries with a powerful article in favor of keeping the libraries open. By proving anecdotes…”

      4/4/6 out of 8/8/8

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