The Taks essay What is it like? What can I write about? What kind of essay should you write?

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The TAKS Essay

  • What is it like?
  • What can I write about?

What kind of essay should you write?

  • It needs to be a MULTI-paragraph essay.
    • You should have an introduction, several body paragraphs (the number of body paragraphs is open), and a conclusion.
  • For the most part, the TAKS essay asks for a personal response/opinion. You can use the following as evidence:
    • Personal experiences
    • Movies you have seen
    • Books you have read
    • Stories you know are true
    • Examples from the media, etc.
    • Remember though you’re not just summarizing the plots of the samples or other literary material.

How are TAKS Essays scored?

  • The essays use a rubric with a score range that is from 1 to 4.
  • To pass the section, a student must earn a 2.
  • However, if you fail the essay (scoring a 1), then you fail the whole ELA test!
  • There are five areas of writing that the graders consider when scoring the essay:

Are there specific requirements?

  • You are not required to follow the traditional CD, CM, CM format. However, if it works for you, use it.
  • Be sure the introductory paragraph states your opinion! (THESIS) Be sure that everything else in your essay SUPPORTS that opinion.
  • The “secret” or implied part of the prompt question is: How does this idea/event change/affect you?
  • VOICE is most important. One great personal story, developed in full detail, is better than three examples briefly addressed.

Other pointers…

  • It is okay to use I, me, my, etc. in your personal stories
  • However, watch using you too much – try one or oneself instead
  • Do not use: Contractions (can’t, they’re, we’re) or -Abbreviations (b/c, cuz, w/o, &)
  • Do not skip lines between paragraphs when writing the essay. There’s a limited amount of space.
  • Write neatly and clearly; Avoid writing teeny tiny or huge and bubbly writing

Use transitions (To begin with, For example, In addition).

  • Use transitions (To begin with, For example, In addition).
  • Avoid “chunky” paragraph format with presenting different examples in different paragraphs with no connections.
  • Take creative risks. Create your own metaphors, similes, imagery. Avoid clichés.
  • You are allowed to use a dictionary. Please do. If you're even slightly unsure how to spell a word, look it up!

Sample Essay Questions…

  • Write an essay explaining what you think makes a person admirable.
  • Write an essay explaining what can happen when someone has a strong influence in your life.
  • When you first look at a TAKS prompt – you should go through and identify key words in the prompt and define those of importance.
  • What are the key words in each of these prompts? Which words should you look up in the dictionary?

Now let’s go over the rubric and look at some actual 10th grade samples of essays turned in….

  • Now let’s go over the rubric and look at some actual 10th grade samples of essays turned in….

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