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SSAT Writing Sample Prompts & Responses

Exams

Example Elementary Level prompts

Look at the picture and tell a story about what happened. Make sure your story includes a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Prompt 1:

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Prompt 2:

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On the Middle Level SSAT, you will be given a choice between two creative prompts. These prompts are like “story starters” that you must use as your first sentence. You then need to write a story that follows on from the prompt. When choosing a prompt, pick the one that gives you the best idea or excites you the most. You will have 25 minutes to write your story. It’s important to make sure that your response has a problem, which leads to a climax, and then a resolution.

Example Middle Level Prompts

Topic: She turned the corner and saw...

Topic: Everyone had disappeared.

Topic: I knew it was wrong, but . . .

Topic: I realized I had to help.

Topic: Suddenly, I turned into a . . .

On the upper level SSAT, you will be given a choice between two prompts. One prompt will be a creative topic and one will be an essay topic.

You will have 25 minutes to write your response.

In general, the prompts are open-ended and allow for creative responses that show your personality and interests. When picking your prompt for the upper level writing sample, choose the option that feels like the best fit for you. There’s no “best” choice or right way to do it. If you’re really imaginative and enjoy writing stories, then the creative prompt could be a great way to show your skills. If you have strong organizational skills and feel confident explaining your thinking clearly, then the essay prompt could be the best fit for you.

Example Upper Level Prompts

Creative Writing Prompts

Topic: She would have to try again.

Topic: It was the biggest challenge he would ever face.

Essay Prompts

Topic: Is online learning as good as face-to-face learning?

Topic: What three qualities define a good friend?

Topic: What are the most important changes in the world in the last decade?

Model Writing Sample Responses

Elementary SSAT

Look at the picture and tell a story about what happened. Make sure your story includes a beginning, a middle, and an end.

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As the youngest sibling in the family, Sam had all kinds of adventures. His older sister and brother always had a plan for the day, like casting him as the main character in their play, or asking him to help run their most successful lemonade stand. Sam normally loved these activities with his siblings. On Wednesday, he didn’t.

On Wednesdays after school, Sam and his siblings ordinarily spent time outside with their neighbors. This Wednesday, it was just Sam and his siblings. As usual, his brother and sister had a plan. They made a small toy wagon out of a bright orange box with four wheels. They were excited to test their construction, but Sam was tired and grumpy from the day and didn’t want to join. He almost went back inside, but his siblings begged and begged him to test their wagon, telling him it would be fun. On the inside, Sam wanted to run away and hide. But after they begged a third time, he said yes.

At first, he was still upset, but then things started to change. His brother and sister pushed the wagon faster and faster. Finally, they let it go and it started to roll down the hill on its own. As it moved more quickly, Sam thought about all of the fun he’d had with his siblings. Sam began to sit up straighter with the wind blowing around his face as he continued to drive along the road. And slowly, he began to smile.

Middle Level SSAT

Topic: I had never seen anything like it.

I had never seen anything like it. I was sitting in my favorite climbing tree and had a view for miles around. Normally, I enjoyed looking at the green grass and blue sky that surrounded my home, but today was different. As I looked out across the field that led to my house, giant storm clouds came rolling in faster than horses galloping. I knew I was in trouble - when it rained, the field got so muddy that it was impossible to cross. I knew I had to get home before the storm began, or I’d be stuck outside all night.

With my heart racing, I took my first few tentative steps out from under the tree and onto the field. The clouds continued to gather over me, like a bad omen. Was I making a huge mistake? I turned around and looked back at the safety of my tree, but already it seemed too far away. I continued across the field, keeping one eye on the clouds as I worked my way through the long, tangled grass. Suddenly, I heard a loud crack in the distance...thunder! I began to run, knowing that time was running out. Even as I felt the first drops of rain fall on me, I knew I couldn’t stop. The only thing in my mind was making it to my front door.

It felt like it took forever to cross that field, but with each step I took the house got bigger and bigger as I ran closer. Finally, out of breath and already damp from the rain, I made it to my front door. I turned the knob, bolted inside, and slammed the door behind me. I sat panting on the floor with my back against the door, relieved and a bit shocked that I’d actually made it home in time. Eventually, I found the energy to stand up. As I walked into the living room, my mother handed me a warm cup of hot cocoa and sat me down in front of the roaring fire. I could hear the rain pouring outside like a waterfall, but I knew I was safe.

Upper Level SSAT

Topic: Do we still need libraries?

Some people might argue that we do not need libraries anymore, simply because we can get anything we need from the internet. However, I think that libraries are much more than the books that they contain, because libraries are great places to learn, are used by people who do not have access to computers or the internet, and are an important part of local communities. For these reasons, I believe that we do still need libraries.

First of all, libraries are great places to learn. They contain lots of books and information about many different topics, which means you can learn about a variety of things in one place. On the other hand, if you want to learn about one thing in particular, the library will often have a good number of carefully selected books to choose from. While it can be difficult to find reliable sources of information on the internet, we can trust that the information we find in a library is valid and well-founded.

Second, I argue that the internet has not replaced libraries, as many people suggest. While it is true that you can find most, if not all, resources on the internet, many people do not have a computer or internet access. In a library, they can find the books they need, or use the computers there to help them. We still need libraries because they ensure that all people can read books and use computers for free.

Finally, as well as keeping lots of books and information in one place, libraries are an important part of the community. I know that many people use the library as a place to meet, and some even have nice cafes where you can sit and talk. Libraries are also used by the community in creative ways. You can often find a great local photography exhibition in the library, or take part in a fun community activity. In addition, libraries get used by all sorts of people: school groups, parents and children, people with learning difficulties, and many more. If we did not have libraries, many people in the community would lose a place that they benefit from. I think we still need libraries, as they help people of all ages and backgrounds to continue to learn.

In conclusion, libraries are a very important part of the community! Without libraries, many people would be cut off from reliable sources of information. Libraries are full of resources, people can use them for free, and they play an important role in the community.

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