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Basic requirements of the exam
You will have 70 minutes to write a 4 or 5 paragraph essay, containing
- an introductory paragraph with a clear and defensible thesis, as well as an overview
- 2 or 3 body paragraphs each arguing a specific point in support of the thesis
- a concluding paragraph
You will be given a table of evidence to use for your essay.
You will also be given a specific question or topic to respond to: make sure that you answer the question!
Use of the data
- You are expected to use the data from the table when you compose your arguments.
- You do not have to use all of the information.
- You do not need to cite the information.
- Take 5-10 minutes to read the table and plan your essay: although you are not required to show your work, you should at least do some minimal planning. It may not be wise to spend a lot of time creating an elaborate outline (unless you are a fast and efficient writer)
- Take roughly 50 minutes to write. Use your time wisely. Do not write two drafts!
- Use the last 10 minutes to proofread.
- well-organized paragraphs in support of the thesis (effective overall essay structure)
- clear examples / substantiation
- evidence of logic and analysis, without redundancy and repetitive phrasings
- strong, well-structured sentences, and some evidence of sentence variety
- correct grammar
View the ELPE rubric.
- Your essay will be persuasive in the sense that you are using evidence to support specific arguments.
- Your essay may also be comparative.
- The essay will have an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- Strong opening sentence/Context
- Thesis statement
- Forecast of arguments
Body Paragraph x2-3
- Topic sentence/Claim
- A specific example
- Paraphrased thesis statement
- Summary of main arguments
- Strong closing statement
- A thesis statement (stated in the first paragraph) is the main conclusion you have reached after assessing the data in the table.
- Your thesis statement is also an argument.
- Before writing your thesis sentence, you should know what your argument will be and the specific reasons for that argument
(also called claims).
Primary Argument + Supporting Points (forecast of arguments)
The Ford Fiesta is the best car choice for a young family because families can purchase it at a reasonable cost, save additional money on fuel, and comfortably ride to whatever events the family may have to attend.
Thesis to an introduction
Young families today never stop running. Whether it’s church and hockey practice on Sunday, book club and ballet on Tuesday or grocery shopping and soccer on Friday, there are usually more errands to run than there is time. Families need reliable transportation to help them accomplish these tasks. At the same time, all families must budget. Those sports clinics and ballet lessons aren’t cheap! For these reasons, the Ford Fiesta is the best car choice for a young family because families can purchase it at a reasonable cost, save additional money on fuel, and comfortably ride to whatever events the family may have to attend.
- Think of your essay’s body paragraphs as unified and developed arguments in support of your thesis.
- Make sure you provide analysis of the information you have selected to use: in some cases, this analysis will be comparative.
- For a paragraph to be persuasive, it usually has the following three parts:
- A clear and direct statement of the claim(topic sentence)
- Elaboration or validation of the claim; discussion or analysis of the evidence
Here is a simple outline, one way to organize a body paragraph:
- Topic Sentence (Claim)
Sample body paragraph 1
One reason the Ford Fiesta is a smart choice for families is its reasonable cost. The Ford Fiesta costs $18,000. Compared to the Ford Explorer and Ford Mustang, $41,675 and $26,620, respectively, the Fiesta is clearly a bargain, nearly $10,000 less than the next cheapest car. For young families, this kind of bargain is important. Families need to budget for a range of expenses, including home costs, education, and the general costs of raising a family (sports, toys, food, clothing, activities, etc.). These can be a burden. Unlike the more expensive cars, the Fiesta will allow families the features they need in a car and leave them financial room for other responsibilities.
Sample body paragraph 2
In spite of its high price tag, there is another reason that the Ford Explorer is more useful for a small family. Young families often have to consider more than simply getting from one place to another. Children may be involved in sports, clubs, and activities with friends. Therefore, vehicles that have space for multiple passengers and equipment are more suitable. The Mustang can seat a maximum of four, making it impossible to transport additional friends or teammates; also, it only has two doors; the Explorer, on the other hand, has plenty of space for additional passengers or gear. One owner asserts that it is “the toughest vehicle on the road” and that “all my kids can fit.” For the family that plans to be involved in lots of social activities or sports, the choice is obvious: the Explorer is a more versatile family car.
- Write a brief (at least three sentence) conclusion after the final body paragraph.
- Paraphrase your thesis sentence.
- Reinforce the importance of your argument.
- Proofreading during whatever time you have left is essential: look for errors that you know you make, as well as errors made in haste.
- Grammar is not the most important consideration when we grade, but too many errors can suggest a lack of proficiency.