Essay Prompt from the June 2007 SAT I:
Have modern advancements truly improved the quality of people's lives?

INT. College Board Headquarters—A Balmy Night in the Recent Past

SAT Woman: So here it is, "Have modern advancements truly improved the quality of people's lives?"

SAT Man: I wish I could see their faces when they read that one. They're 17, it's 9am on a Saturday, and they have to write an essay about the relationship between modern advancements and quality of life. Brilliant!

SAT Woman: We're good, it's true. The trick is to get prompts that trap the kids into writing essays using exactly the same examples as each other so that the people who grade them get bored and take off an unwarranted number of points.

SAT Man: Prompts that just prompt people to write about the Civil Rights Movement and/or The Great Gatsby.

SAT Woman: It's so easy to trick these silly fools because high schools don't teach anything but those two topics.

SAT Man: And because their minds are blank and they feel like they're going to hurl because their moms made them eat eggs before the test because they read something about them being a good source of "brain fuel."

SAT Woman: By the way, good job prompting that bogus rumor.

SAT Man: Thank you, SAT Woman, you know I do it all for us. We are the heroes of standardized testing. We are the ones that keep it challenging, but make is seem easy so that mothers and school boards don't protest. We are the ones who put the bubble lines on the answer sheet so close together that people are bound to fill in the wrong lines and not realize it until they go to answer the last question and realize that there is still one row of untouched bubbles left and no time in which to rectify the situation. We are the ones who make sure there are at least five snot-nosed snifflers per testing room. And, indeed, we are the ones who made the bubbles oval-shaped so they're just that little bit harder to fill in. We are the SATs!

SAT Woman:
We are the Scholastic Aptitude Test!

SAT Man: Actually, that's not what SAT stands for anymore.

SAT Woman: What does it stand for?

SAT Man: Not a goddamn clue.

SAT Woman
: Not a goddamn clue!

[They make out.]

SAT Man: Really now, do you think any other job is as emotionally satisfying as this one?

SAT Woman: Not a chance. This job fills me with happiness because every single day I come into this windowless and suspicious office with the explicit goal of making myself happy by ensuring the misery of millions of teenagers.

SAT Man:
Oh, I just came up with the best prompt: Are people more likely to be happy if they focus on goals other than their own happiness?

SAT Woman:
How is that the best prompt?

SAT Man: Wait, here's the clincher: it's a trick prompt. The only way to get all 12 points is to grow some balls, open your booklet, and write one word, "No."

SAT Woman: My good man, that prompt is superb. Let's go share our success with the people down in Critical Reading who are picking the nauseatingly boring book excerpts about women and Native Americans.

SAT Man:
Right-o. And then we'll go down to the pencil factory and mislabel all the pencils.

SAT Woman: Yeah, good luck finding a #2 pencil now, bitches!

[They promptly make out some more.]


The end. Prompt.