WEST B WRITING – CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE ITEMS (ESSAYS)

FOCUS AND APPROPRIATENESS
The fluency and quality of the discussion, and the sustained attention on a given topic using language and style appropriate to a specified audience, purpose, and occasion.
UNITY AND ORGANIZATION
The effectiveness of the organization, the logical sequence of ideas, and the clarity of the writing used to state and maintain a main idea and point of view.
DEVELOPMENT AND RATIONALE
The relevance, depth, and effectiveness, of statements or arguments and examples used to support those statements or defend a position.
USAGE AND SENTENCE STRUCTURE
The precision in word choice and use of effective sentence structure.
MECHANICAL CONVENTIONS
The use of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation according to standard writing conventions.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR ESSAYS
1. Carefully read each assignment before you begin to write.
2. Think about your ideas and what you would like to communicate to the reader.
3. Make an outline for the topic to help organize your thoughts.
4. Be sure to write the final draft of your response in the test booklet.
5. When finished writing, be sure to review your work and make any changes you believe would enhance your score.
6. Be sure you have not strayed from your topic or introduced topics that you have not explained.
7. Vary your types of sentences so that your essay flows smoothly and is easy to read.
8. Use vocabulary that suits your audience. Do not insult your audience. Do not explain things that your audience may already know. Do not alienate your audience by using complicated jargon, or by assuming they already know a familiar subject you are writing on.
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TWO COMMON PURPOSES OF ESSAYS
1. Persuasion by using one or some, or all logical patterns
2. Informing and Educating through analysis and using one, some, or all logical patterns
SEVEN STEPS TO PROVE A THESIS
1. “Show how a process” or procedure does or should work, step by step, in time.
2 “Compare or contrast” two or more things or ideas to show important “similarities or differences.”
3. “Identify a problem” and then explain how to “solve it.”
4. “Analyze” into its components, or “classify” by its types or categories, and idea or thing to show how it is put together, how it works, or how it is designed.
5. “Explain” why something happens to produce a particular result or set of results.
6. “Describe” the particular individual characteristics, beauty, and features of a place, person(s), time, or idea.
7. “Define” what a thing is or what an idea means.
WRITING PROCESS – REWRITING/PLANNING TIME
Read the essay question and decide on your purpose. Persuade or Explain?
WRITING PROCESS – CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE
The writer’s responsibility is to write clearly, honestly, and cleanly for the reader’s sake. What evidence do you need to prove your idea to this skeptic? What would she disagree with you about? What does she share with you as common knowledge? What does she need to be told by you?
WRITING PROCESS – CONTROL YOUR POINT OF VIEW
1. Subjective/Personal Point of View
2. Second-Person
3. Third-Person of View (focuses on the idea, not what “I” think of it)
4. Don’t switch your “point of view” in the middle.
WRITING PROCESS – CONSIDER YOUR SUPPORT
1. Jot down a few phrases that show ideas and examples that support your point of view.
2. Simply list things you think might be important to discuss.
3. Pick at least 3-5 things you want or need to discuss, and number them in the order of importance that is relevant to proving your point.
WRITING PROCESS – WRITE YOUR ROUGH DRAFT
1. Spend 10 to 20 minutes writing your rough draft.
2. Write down what you think is useful to prove your point in the order you think best to convince the reader.
3. Use real evidence from your life experience or knowledge to support what you say.
4. Write naturally and quickly.
5. Just write down what you think or want to say in the order determined on your list.
WRITING PROCESS – TRANSITIONS
Use transitions to show connections among your ideas.
LINKING SIMILAR IDEAS – TRANSITIONS
AGAIN, ALSO, AND, ANOTHER, BESIDES, EQUALLY IMPORTANT, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR INSTANCE, FURTHER, FURTHERMORE, IN ADDITION, IN LIKE MANNER, LIKEWISE, MOREOVER, OR, OF COURSE, SIMILARLY, TOO
LINKING DISSIMILAR OR CONTRADICTORY IDEAS – TRANSITIONS
ALTHOUGH, CONVERSELY, INSTEAD, OTHERWISE, AND YET, EVEN IF, NEVERTHELESS, PROVIDED THAT, AS IF, HOWEVER, ON THE CONTRARY, STILL, BUT, IN SPITE OF, ON THE OTHER HAND, YET
INDICATE CAUSE, PURPOSE, OR RESULT – TRANSITIONS
AS, AS A RESULT, BECAUSE, CONSEQUENTLY, FOR, FOR THIS REASON, HENCE, SINCE, SO, THEN, THEREFORE, THUS
INDICATE TIME OR POSITION – TRANSITIONS
ABOVE, ACROSS, AFTERWARD, AROUND, AT ONCE, AT THE PRESENT TIME, BEFORE, BEYOND EVENTUALLY, FINALLY, FIRST, HERE, MEANWHILE, NEXT, PRESENTLY, SECOND, THEREAFTER, THEREUPON
INDICATE AND EXAMPLE OR SUMMARY – TRANSITIONS
AS A RESULT, AS I HAVE SAID, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR INSTANCE, IN ANY CASE, IN ANY EVENT, IN BRIEF, IN CONCLUSION, IN FACT, IN OTHER WORDS, IN SHORT, ON THE WHOLE, TO SUM UP
PROVIDING EVIDENCE IN YOUR ESSAY
1. HARD DATA: (facts, statistics, scientific evidence, research) – documented evidence that has been verified to be true.
2. ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE: stories from the writer’s own experience and knowledge that illustrate a particular point or idea.
3. EXPERT OPINIONS: assertions or conclusions, usually by authorities, about the matter under discussion.
4. ANALOGIES: show a resemblance between one phenomenon and another.
ORGANIZING AND REVIEWING THE PARAGRAPHS
Be sure to supply useful transitions to keep up the flow and maintain the focus of your ideas. Always supply evidence.

NOTE: 3 examples or illustrations of your idea per paragraph is a useful number.

TYPICAL TEST ESSAY
1. 3 examples/illustrations per paragraph
2. 5 paragraphs for an essay
INTRODUCTION
A paragraph that shows your point of view (thesis) about an issue and introduces your position with three general ideas that support your thesis.
DEVELOPMENT
3 middle paragraphs that prove your position from different angles, using evidence from real life and knowledge. Each supporting paragraph in the middle should in turn support each of the 3 ideas you started out with in the introductory or thesis paragraph.
CONCLUSION
The last paragraph, which sums up your position and adds one final reminder of what the issue was, perhaps points to a solution.
CHECK OR LOGIC CHECKLIST
1. Either/Or – The writer assumes that only tow opposing possibilities may be attained: “Either___, or this____.”
2. Oversimplification – The writer simplifies the subject.
3. Begging the question – The writer assumes she has proven something (often counter intuitive) that may need to be proven to the reader.
4. Ignoring the issue – The writer argues against the truth of an issue due to its conclusion.
5. Arguing against a person, not an idea – The writer argues that somebody’s ideas has not merit because……..
6. Non sequitur – The writer leaps to the wrong conclusion.
7. Drawing the wrong conclusion from a sequence – The author attributes the outcome to the wrong reasons.
POLISHING CHECKLIST
1. Are all your sentences really sentences, or have you written some fragments or run-on sentences?
2. Are you using vocabulary correctly?
3. Have you used a word that seems colloquial or too informal?
4. Did you leave out punctuation anywhere? Did you capitalize, or not capitalize, correctly? Did you check for commas, periods, periods, and quotation marks?
PROOFREADING
Read your paper word for word in the last 3 – 5 minutes, forward and backward, end to the beginning.
EXPOSITORY ESSAY
Expository writing conveys information to the reader in such a way a to bring about understanding; its subject may be a process or procedure, or perhaps the writer’s ideas about a concept.

1. First paragraph: Begin with an attention grabber. Should END with a thesis statement. Make sure your thesis includes “3 major points” for your “3 body paragraph.”
2. The thesis will determine the structure of your 3 body paragraphs.
3. Make sure that you include logical transitions between and within the paragraphs.
4. State your thesis as clearly as you can.
5. The first part of the CONCLUSION (5th paragraph) should briefly recap the thesis and body paragraphs. The second part should include a statement that reinforces your position in a meaningful and memorable way.

PERSUASIVE ESSAY
The persuasive essay is meant to move its reader to take action or to form or change an opinion. Even though you may be taking a stand on one alternative, you MUST understand why the other alternatives are reasonable. Still follow the 5-paragraph essay approach.

1. First paragraph: Begin with an attention grabber. Imagine that the opposition point of view prevailed.
2. First paragraph should END with a thesis statement.
3. State your thesis as clearly as you can.
4. Your thesis should state your position as well.
5. If you want to include your summary of the other side’s argument in your thesis statement , you should always do so in a subordinate clause.
6. Your body paragraphs will carry your argument; organize and state facts that support your argument.
7. CONCLUSION (5th paragraph): briefly recaps the thesis and body paragraphs (your argument). The second part of the conclusion should include a statement that reinforces your position in a meaningful and memorable way.

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