Once you have an understanding of the prompt and the issues/readings associated with it, you can begin to compose a response.  Generally speaking, a conventional expository or academic essay is the format one should follow.  titlehough this type of writing is not the most elegant or supportive of individual writing styles, the format offers a strategy that most examiners (who are typically college professors and school teachers) will reward if done well.  That means you need the following:

  • An introduction, one which grabs the examiners' attention, helps them understand the relevance of the topic, and presents your overarching thesis (the central point of your essay).
  • A body, one which presents a series of developed paragraphs explaining and expanding on the points alluded to in your thesis.
  • A conclusion, one which offers a summary of your key points and one which deals with the importance and significance of the topic.

Most test prep guides encourage candidates to avoid immediately writing an introduction when they begin to produce the essay.  titlehough some might be tempted to start with the beginning, jumping to the body of your paper helps you to focus on points that you already know you need or want to make; moreover, it prevents you from wasting time coming up with a creative opening that often ends up also consuming your mental energy and valuable time.  (Remember, the prompt will hint at points you need to cover, like a summary of the arguments made in the readings, an evaluation of the merits of those arguments, and your response to them).  The next logical step is to write a conclusion that reviews those points and speaks to their significance.  Once you have covered your body and conclusion, then you can efficiently write the introduction, since you already know where you head in the essay. 

Candidates must develop strong essays with paragraphs that begin with main ideas (or topic sentences) and transitions.  Good paragraphs also come with plenty of development, but considering the time constraints involved with this test, writers should include three to six supporting sentences.  If you typically write sophisticated sentences (complex, compound, compound/complex), then three supporting sentences are sufficient, but if you generally write simplistic sentences, six sentences can make for a well-developed paragraph.

>Back to top<

Long Island University

Brooklyn Campus

Writing Center Home