Provide CONTEXT in your intro. Explain why we should care about this topic before you move into your thesis.
You MUST cite at least three sources. Have a conversation with each source; in other words, make it an integral part of your essay – key evidence, a point that receives commentary or refutation. Don’t just throw in a quotation.
Some of the better essays are adept at juxtaposing sources – using one to refute or support another, for example. You don’t have to do this, but it can work well.
Write a polished essay. Include transitions between body paragraphs and so forth.
Rhetorical analysis reminders:
If you get two passages, you have only two ways to organize: point by point or subject by subject. Point by point usually works well, but it’s up to you. If you decide to use subject by subject, that does not necessarily limit you to two body paragraphs. You may write two paragraphs on each subject if you have time. Just make sure you write all about person a before you discuss person b. Don’t go back and forth.
Remember to check for irony and credibility. The chances of getting a straightforward persuasive speech or letter are always high, but you never know.
Read the passage as many times as necessary to understand it on a literal level.
Persuasive essay reminders:
Put anything that is not central to your argument in the intro. For example, if you’re asked to define something or paraphrase it, you could do so there.
When writing a persuasive essay, pull examples from literature, history, current events, art, music, or science. Try not to use personal examples unless you just can’t think of anything else or the prompt seems to be leading you in that direction.
Remember your argument skills: clear thesis and topic sentences are a MUST, as are concrete examples. If you can successfully refute or use deduction, do so. For those of you who have been struggling with more complex structures, play it safe and stick to the five paragraph formula.
Other last minute reminders:
Bring a pen, a watch, and a jacket. Pens are not provided; proctors may forget to issue time reminders; this building is often cold. Be prepared.
One year I had student circle his answers in the booklet with the idea that he would bubble when he finished. This is a timed test – one hour for multiple choice. The boy ran out of time, and he received no credit for the multiple choice section. Learn from his mistake.
Remember that you are not penalized for guessing on the multiple choice section.
You have a block of two hours and 15 minutes to write your essays. Manage your time in any way you like. If you need to give yourself a couple of extra minutes on the first essay or two, that’s okay. Just don’t go overboard so that you have no time for the last essay.
Stop when the proctor calls the time. I had a student who failed to stop working on one of her tests and had her score voided.
I f you don’t have time for a closing, write a closing sentence as the last sentence in your last body paragraph. Do not restate your thesis.