Mahatma Gandhi: SAT Essay Examples

Looking for more help? Check out 30 More SAT Essay Examples To Use, as well as my Guidebook To Writing The SAT Essay!

So I had a great idea! I’m starting a new feature on my blog, which is: the analysis of specific people, places, events, literature, and the like that can be used to great effect for SAT essay evidence.

I’m not going to go into why this is so important in this post, but it is definitely important to go into the SAT essay with some impressive-sounding evidence that you know a little bit about!

Today’s focus for great SAT Essay evidence is the Indian Independence leader and non-violent protester Mohandas Gandhi, also known as “Mahatma” or “Great Soul.”


Let’s get ten FACTS about Gandhi that might be relevant to an SAT essay prompt:

  1. He was, and still is, known as a great political and spiritual leader, and was the public face of the Indian independence movement in the early 1900s
  2. The Indian people were tired of being a colony of Great Britain; this was the climate in which Gandhi came of age
  3. He originally studied to be a lawyer; his attempt to open a private practice failed (this occurred before he became a legendary leader)
  4. Gandhi promoted non-violent protest (Bonus points: it was known as satyagraha) and has been an continuing inspiration to later non-violent political movements and protesters
  5. He believed in self-mastery as the route to power (no alcohol, no sexual relations, no meat, not giving into violent urges, etc)
  6. Much like Rosa Parks, Gandhi refused to give into racial oppression in public transportation: he refused to move from an upscale first-class train cabin to a third-class cabin and was thrown off the train. Later, he refused to give up his seat on a stagecoach to a European passenger of higher social rank, and was beaten for sticking to his principles
  7. As his reputation grew, he successfully urged his people to boycott British products and disobey British Colonial authorities
  8. He was jailed for two years by the British for his leadership role in the rebellious acts of the Indian people
  9. In 1930 Gandhi led one of his most spectacular protests, the “Salt March,” in which thousands of Indians walked to the sea and made salt by hand, directly disobeying British law and sending a clear message about their opinion of the British taxation. Salt was a symbolic choice, because it is used daily by almost everyone on the planet.
  10. He was assassinated in 1948 by a renegade Hindu nationalist who disagreed with Gandhi’s political objectives and methods (the details are unimportant for an SAT essay; you just need to know that he was murdered for his beliefs)


Now let’s think of five SAT Essay THEMES that Gandhi could be connected to:

  1. Failure comes before success (his private law practice failed before he became a great leader)
  2. Self-sacrifice as a characteristic of leadership and/or greatness (Jail time, assassination)
  3. Self-mastery, also as a characteristic of leadership and/or greatness (Controlling violent urges, giving up alcohol, meat, sex)
  4. Sticking to your principles (Thrown off the train/beaten/jailed for standing up to his “superiors”)
  5. Achieving change/progress (He used non-violence, and also unified various groups of people, to accomplish his goals)


This is how you should break down all of your pre-prepared SAT Essay examples.

If you do this kind of analysis on about three to six (contrasting) famous people, historical and current events, works of literature, etc, you will be set to tackle ANY SAT essay topic.

Gandhi is a great source of examples for many topics, and one of the people that I recommend to every student. Although some complain that “he’s not a very original example,” that’s not the point.

You get no points for “originality” or “creativity.”

Much better to master the “classic” examples and learn how to use them in multiple situations.

Feel free to steal, plunder, copy, and rob my dissection of Gandhi for your essay!


I make that mistake every time :)

Don’t forget to check out my SAT essay prep books for more useful information from a perfect-scoring professional tutor!


If you enjoyed or learned from this post, you should join the mailing list to stay in touch about even more ways to improve on the SAT!

3 Responses to SAT Essay Evidence: Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Mary Nelson says:

    I cut and pasted 144 common themes in literature onto a word document. and have been entering books/ people events underneath. Am working to include relevant vocab words (no more than 5) and one or two short quotes.

    • Christian says:

      I love this idea! Especially the relevant vocabulary word selection – I remember making use of this trick myself when I was in high school, and found it very handy to have already prepared the “$500 words” that I was going to use to impress the grader… sneaky, perhaps, but I think it definitely works :) hehehe

    • Wajee yaman says:

      Great! I would pay for such info!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About Christian

Perfect-scorer, pro tutor, entrepreneur, web designer, textbook author, motorcyclist, rock and roll guitarist, classical pianist, songwriter, wanderer, environmentalist, dog lover, cat lover, spicy food addict.


Thanks for checking out my website. I'm here to help you ace the SAT exam. If you want to get in touch or have a question about the SAT, you should leave a comment, and I'll get back to you. Learn more about me!