The screen after the Academic Honesty Statement is your exam writing space. You should note that there is a clock and time bars to let you know how much time you have remaining, a space with the prompts, and writing space.
There will be two prompts to choose from, and you should read both prompts carefully before making your selection.
Something to consider is that Writing Proficiency Exam essays should be expressing a judgment; therefore, your answer to the prompt’s question—i.e. your thesis idea—will be a version of one of the following:
- Yes, this is true because . . .
- No, this not true because . . .
- Maybe, but not always this is true because . . . (you'd need to address both why you do AND do not think this is always true)
The rest of your essay will present your reasoning for this judgment—i.e. the reasons why you believe your statement to be true, and these should be arranged in a logical way.
To work out exactly what you want to say in the essay, consider doing some of the following:
Working with the prompt:
- Don’t begin outlining or doing any kind of pre-work until you have thoroughly understood and thought through the prompt.
- Write the prompt down; circle important terms; underline the important directives.
- Do some prewriting—looping, clustering, listing of ideas etc.
- Write a preliminary thesis which responds clearly to the prompt. Don’t let yourself be vague or make vague allusions to some of the words in the prompt—make sure the thesis responds clearly to what the prompt asks you to consider.
Organizing your thoughts:
- Create a potential outline for your essay—write down not only the topics of the paragraphs you intend to write, but also the points you want to make about each of those topics.
- Before you begin drafting, check that those topic sentences actually relate to your thesis in some way—use the thesis to keep yourself on focus.
- Use both specific details, and use specific examples from to illustrate them. Readers are expecting you to use specific examples and details from the article AND from your own knowledge and experience.
- However, don’t just depend on examples to support your points—examples don’t do the intellectual work of explaining ideas. They just give pictures or images of the ideas.
- When you are finished, go back through and create a scratch outline of the essay you have written.
- Test whether your thesis actually fits the essay you wrote. If not, go back and change it--or change the focus of the paragraphs that do not fit your thesis.
- Check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Make the text as clean as you can.