SAT Essay

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Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.

—Adapted from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I've Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation

Assignment: Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in the present? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

History is merely a peek into the future. Destined to repeat itself, it is a convenient tool to achieve success without having to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. I firmly believe that memories and knowledge of the past are insuppressible tools to succeed in the present; to see this, I must look no further than the achievements of Michael Phelps and my experiences in the high school admissions process.

The greatest Olympian of all time didn't achieve that title without tenacity and perseverance. On the road to achieve this title, Michael Phelps stumbled multiple times. His journey started at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. On a mission to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics, he endured a grueling schedule but came short with six gold, one silver and one bronze. Phelps did not suppress this failure, instead he used it as his motivation. Determined not to make the same mistakes and repeat history, Phelps went on to win eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

As much effort Phelps must've put into his sport, I put in twice as much towards my goal to get into Hunter High School. Studying day and night, my aspiration and determination drove me forward. Despite all my efforts, I pulled short, not scoring enough on the essay potion of the test to gain admission. Instead of letting this have a deleterious effect, I learned from my failure. Determined not to go wrong again, I worked myself to my maximum potential to get into my second choice, Stuyvesant. I was soon accepted, shutting out the chance of letting history repeat itself.

Both Phelps and I learned from our respective failures only to succeed later on. Accepting the past and using it to my advantage, I captured the present. Though I know that I will stumble on the path of life, I will strive for success and work off of the past.

  • SAT Essay -

    This is much better, even though the conclusion is still thin.

    I'd give this one a 5.

    Here are a couple of things to avoid:
    * redundancy = "to repeat the same mistakes over and over again"

    * clichés = "to my maximum potential"

  • SAT Essay -

    Is this better?

    Conclusion Edit:

    As I climb up the ladder of life, I can look down at my past and understand the mistakes I committed. Working on these follies and moving along with my strengths , I give myself the better shot at success. Accepting the past instead of repressing it, I will climb up another rung on the ladder.

  • SAT Essay -

    I'd leave "down" out of the first sentence and "up" out of the last sentence.

    It's better -- yes!

  • SAT Essay -

    Thank you!

  • SAT Essay -

    You're very welcome!


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