My disgust does not, however, extend to the writing sample portion of the test. The moment that a writing sample first became part of the SAT at least marked the inclusion of something roughly resembling a genuine academic skill. And the fact that the writing portion is now asking you about real world issues from the world of popular culture, a place where – for good or bad – most people reside, gives me hope that the SAT may be taking small steps toward a real and not always noble place where people watch junk TV, do stupid things, act irrationally, and – only occasionally and reluctantly – face hard truths.
Write an essay in which you explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience that [author’s claim]. In your essay, analyze how [the author] uses one or more of the features listed above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of [his/her] argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. 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/her] audience.