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Sample Test Questions

Writing Sample Essays

Essay Task

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing presence of intelligent machines. In your essay, be sure to:

  • clearly state your own perspective on the issue and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective
  • develop and support your ideas with reasoning and examples
  • organize your ideas clearly and logically
  • communicate your ideas effectively in standard written English

Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of those given, in partial agreement, or completely different.

How to Write a Unified Essay

Written by Michael Stratford

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A unified essay comes from a unified thesis. Donna Campbell of Washington State University defines a thesis as a single statement that is arguable, limited and unified. It should contain at least two main points — whether used in on-demand or in full-process works — that can act as “prongs,” and each “prong” should branch into three discussion-and-argument “claims.”

The Pronged Thesis

A thesis, in other words, has two large main ideas, each of which branches into three smaller ideas. In a scientific research paper, these prongs might be concepts a specific theory will support and also not support. In literary responses, the prongs may be both the meanings and literary devices found in the literature. The thesis reflects this duality: “Theory X was previously considered ineffectual, but recent studies indicate its validity.” The statement is arguable, and it opens the way to discussing not only the previous considerations about X but also the recent studies.

Claims From the Prongs

The American University in Cairo emphasizes not only connecting claims to the thesis but limiting its extent. To this end, the author should never discuss more than two main ideas and three — and no more — separate claims that spring from these. These claims will remain unified as long as they spring only from the thesis statement’s prongs. In the actual writing of the essay, the prongs will make up the two main sections of the essay’s body; the claims are discussion points within each section.

A Sample Structure

For example, if Theory X was first considered wrong, the claims one can derive from the first prong would be the previous arguments against Theory X. Each claim/argument is analyzed, discussed and supported with research in the essay’s first section. Then, the author follows the same process with the essay’s second prong, discussing the validity of Theory X today. Naturally, extensive research centered entirely around the thesis should precede the essay, since the author will use the research pieces in support of the essay’s discussions and commentary.

Follow One Unified Idea

If the thesis is the beginning point of the essay, and all research, analysis, discussion and proofs spring from the main ideas of this thesis, there is very little that can go astray in the writing. If the essay’s author follows through in supporting the claims of each prong of the thesis, and then concludes with a reiteration of the thesis, the essay will be unified.

References

About the Author

Michael Stratford is a National Board-certified and Single Subject Credentialed teacher with a Master of Science in educational rehabilitation (University of Montana, 1995). He has taught English at the 6-12 level for more than 20 years. He has written extensively in literary criticism, student writing syllabi and numerous classroom educational paradigms.

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How To Write A Unified Essay

In-order for the reader to have comprehension with your essay, make it have unification. Any Essays that lack cohesiveness confuse the audience and removes the intended impact of the essay. When you write a unified essay it gives direction that relate with Thesis, structured body and relevant conclusion. It is advisable to write a unified essay as it helps get the audience attention and it informs and engages with them well.

Guidelines that will help you write a unified essay

  • Write about a topic that you have interest and must be relevant. Start up by narrowing down the subject of your study to specific agenda that you will tackle.
  • Do your researches in local libraries and rely on reputable references. When referencing an online source, only draw from sites distinguished by domain name for example “org”.
  • Draft an outline structuring the introduction, body and conclusion paragraphs. Have a list of points written in bullet which help to substantiating your topic .
  • Start with writing a draft of your essay, beginning with the introductory paragraph. In the introduction paragraph State the subject of your essay as you explain to the reader why he should take some time to read your essay. Be as convincing as possible. Towards the end of your introduction paragraph, state your Thesis statement.
  • The next step is to Draft the body of the essay. Using three to foue paragraph discuss each point on one paragraph as you support your Thesis. Make sure that your sentences are grammatically correct and the language used is lees ambiguous. Use grammar that is interesting to the audience to get their attention. Use transitional phrases as you introduce new ideas.
  • Write Conclusion of the essay as you retaliate back to your main topic. Restate the Thesis and using the evidence provided in your body paragraphs write a conclusion that is solid. Wrap up with a sentence or two which should cite reliable source that you have used, as you give a statement that the reader can remember for quite some time.
  • Proofread your draft before you make a final copy to check grammar and spelling mistakes. Avoid using unnecessary adverbs and passive language to have a clear work.

Writing a unified & coherent paragraph

Writing a Unified Paragraph

As mentioned earlier, a unified paragraph has only a main idea, and every explanatory sentence in paragraph helps to illustrate that idea. If there are sentences in a paragraph that do not develop the main idea, reader may be confused.

Writing a unified paragraph requires discipline because in writing as in conversation, we often change the subject Remember when Uncle Joe started to tell about his fishing trip to Alabama, but the story you heard was more about the his falling off the back gate? Or perhaps you wrote a paragraph intending to describe Disney World’s Fantasyland, but instead you wrote about the cute person serving hamburgers in Ad ventureland. Your paragraph was not unified, and your reader was probably left confused.

The paragraph on the next page, from the book Beyond Tomorrow by D. S. Halacy, Jr., is about replacing human eyes lost because of disease or injury. The topic sentence, which enclosed in brackets, is not part of the original paragraph.

Writing a Coherent Paragraph

Paragraphs need not only to be well-developed and unified, but also to be coherent. In a coherent paragraph, all sentences show their relationship to one another.

One way to achieve coherence is to arrange the sentences in a logical order. Logical order means arranging sentences reason. For example, if you write about events as they are it is logical to use chronological, or time, order. If you describe an object or a place, it is logical to arrange details spatial the way they appear in space. If you write using examples, or reasons, it is logical to arrange them according to order of importance.

Paragraphs without coherence are difficult to read following sentences from the book DNA: The Ladder of Edward Frankel, tell about a researcher named Fred Gr who found a clue to the mystery of heredity when he performing an experiment with bacteria that cause pneurc At the time of this experiment, people believed that only c germs could cause pneumonia. As you read the sentence to understand the experiment. (It cannot be done unles rearrange the sentence order.)

• Back in 1928, Fred Griffith, an English bacteriologis experimenting with pneumonia organisms.

• What was that something?

• Not one of these animals became sick.

• From what was then known about these microbe mice should have remained alive and healthy.

• Apparently the dead germs were really dead.

Writing a unified & coherent paragraph

Writing a Unified Paragraph

As mentioned earlier, a unified paragraph has only a main idea, and every explanatory sentence in paragraph helps to illustrate that idea. If there are sentences in a paragraph that do not develop the main idea, reader may be confused.

Writing a unified paragraph requires discipline because in writing as in conversation, we often change the subject Remember when Uncle Joe started to tell about his fishing trip to Alabama, but the story you heard was more about the his falling off the back gate? Or perhaps you wrote a paragraph intending to describe Disney World’s Fantasyland, but instead you wrote about the cute person serving hamburgers in Ad ventureland. Your paragraph was not unified, and your reader was probably left confused.

The paragraph on the next page, from the book Beyond Tomorrow by D. S. Halacy, Jr., is about replacing human eyes lost because of disease or injury. The topic sentence, which enclosed in brackets, is not part of the original paragraph.

Writing a Coherent Paragraph

Paragraphs need not only to be well-developed and unified, but also to be coherent. In a coherent paragraph, all sentences show their relationship to one another.

One way to achieve coherence is to arrange the sentences in a logical order. Logical order means arranging sentences reason. For example, if you write about events as they are it is logical to use chronological, or time, order. If you describe an object or a place, it is logical to arrange details spatial the way they appear in space. If you write using examples, or reasons, it is logical to arrange them according to order of importance.

Paragraphs without coherence are difficult to read following sentences from the book DNA: The Ladder of Edward Frankel, tell about a researcher named Fred Gr who found a clue to the mystery of heredity when he performing an experiment with bacteria that cause pneurc At the time of this experiment, people believed that only c germs could cause pneumonia. As you read the sentence to understand the experiment. (It cannot be done unles rearrange the sentence order.)

• Back in 1928, Fred Griffith, an English bacteriologis experimenting with pneumonia organisms.

• What was that something?

• Not one of these animals became sick.

• From what was then known about these microbe mice should have remained alive and healthy.

• Apparently the dead germs were really dead.

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Argumentative Essay: Definition, Format & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Is an…
  • 0:36 Elements
  • 3:34 Format
  • 5:19 Lesson Summary

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Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

Myrtle is a teenager whose parents have set a curfew for her, but she wants to stay out longer. She thinks that she might be able to convince her parents to extend her curfew if she makes a sound argument. To make her case, she’s decided to write them a letter.

An argumentative essay is a writing piece meant to persuade someone to think the way you do. Though it’s usually organized as an essay, Myrtle’s letter to her parents is also a type of argumentative writing. To help Myrtle write her essay, let’s take a closer look at the elements and format of an argumentative essay.

Myrtle wants to convince her parents to give her a later curfew, and she’s going to write an argumentative essay to do that. But where does she even start? What information does she need to include in her essay?

There are some specific elements that are needed in an argumentative essay. The first and most important element in a persuasive essay is the position, or what side the author is on. For example, Myrtle’s position is that her curfew should be later. The position is not all that Myrtle needs to include in her essay. In fact, if all she does is state her position, it won’t be very convincing. All her letter would say is, ‘I think you should let me stay out later.’ Her parents would just shrug and say, ‘We disagree.’

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In order to convince her parents, then, Myrtle also needs to include reasons, or why the author believes the way he or she does. For example, Myrtle could support her position by offering reasons like the fact that she’s responsible, she’s older than she used to be, and that a later curfew will allow her to study at the library for longer.

By offering these reasons, Myrtle has made her letter more convincing. She can take this even further, however, by supporting her reasons with evidence, or facts and data that support reasons. For example, remember that one of Myrtle’s reasons is that a later curfew will allow her to study at the library for longer. She can support this reason with evidence. Maybe she has scientific articles that show that studying at the library is more effective than studying at home. Or perhaps she has data showing that kids with later curfews spend more time in the library. Both of those pieces of evidence could support her reason.

Of course, to be truly effective, Myrtle will want to include the source of her evidence. After all, if she just made it up, it’s not really evidence. Further, the source of some evidence can be questionable. Imagine that she has an article about how kids with later curfews spend more time at the library, but it was written by someone who, like Myrtle, is trying to convince his parents to let him stay out later. In this case, the article might not be completely accurate and true.

If all Myrtle includes in her essay is her position, reasons, and evidence, she could make a pretty convincing case. But the best essays also include counterarguments, sometimes shortened to counters, which are reasons why the other side’s arguments are not correct. For example, let’s say that one thing that Myrtle’s parents say to her consistently is that teenagers need sleep. She knows this is one reason why her parents don’t want to extend her curfew. In her essay, she can address this and provide a counter. For example, she could write something like, ‘You believe that extending my curfew will mean I get less sleep. But I stay up late already, and just because I’m home early doesn’t mean that I’ll go to bed early.’

Myrtle’s reasons and evidence support her side. By providing counters, too, Myrtle is defeating arguments from the other side, which makes her essay even more convincing.

Okay, Myrtle understands the things that she needs to include in her letter to her parents. But how should she organize all that information? What’s the format for an argumentative essay?

Argumentative essays can be organized in many different ways, but one common format for persuasive writing is the five paragraph essay, which includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In the introduction, which is the first paragraph of the essay, Myrtle will want to explain the issue and state her position. For example, she’ll mention that staying out late is an issue that is important to many people. She’ll state that she believes that her curfew should be later.

In some essays, the introduction should also include background information. For example, in an essay about taxing sugary soda drinks, background information might include information on the growing number of people purchasing sodas, and the growing obesity epidemic. Essentially anything that needs to be understood before reading the rest of the essay is background information, and should be included in the introduction.

After the introduction, Myrtle will want to write three paragraphs that, collectively, will make up the body of the essay. In each paragraph, she’ll want to focus on one reason or counter, and include evidence to support it. For example, she might want to write one paragraph on the idea that she could study at the library for longer, another paragraph on how she’s older and more responsible than she used to be, and therefore deserves a later curfew, and another paragraph on the counter that an earlier curfew does not mean that she’ll get more sleep.

Finally, Myrtle will end her essay with a conclusion, which will include a restatement of her position and a brief summary of her reasons and counters.

Lesson Summary

An argumentative essay is a persuasive writing piece. It includes several elements: the position, or what side the author is on; reasons, or why the author believes the way he does; evidence, or facts and data that support reasons; and counterarguments, sometimes shortened to counters, which are reasons why the other side’s arguments are not correct.

Argumentative essays are organized in many different ways, but one popular format is the five paragraph essay, which includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction includes an explanation of the issue, background information, and the author’s position. Each body paragraph focuses on one reason or counter and provides evidence to support it. Finally, the conclusion includes a restatement of the position and a brief summary of the reasons and counters.

The Argumentative Essay

  • The argumentative essay is used to persuade
  • Includes the author’s position, reasons, evidence, and counters
  • Often organized in the five-paragraph essay form

Learning Outcomes

Completing this lesson should help you feel comfortable in doing the following:

  • Explain the purpose of an argumentative essay
  • List the components of an argumentative essay
  • Describe the possible structure of an argumentative essay

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22 chapters | 311 lessons | 2 flashcard sets

  • Types of Journalism
  • Assessing Student Writing: Examples, Tools & Methods 6:41
  • Writing Effective Essay Prompts
  • Fun, Interactive Writing Activities: Individual & Group
  • How to Organize an Essay 7:53
  • How to Use Information from Multiple Sources in an Essay 7:22
  • Organizational Features & Structures of Informational Texts
  • The Writing Process: Definition & Steps 9:31
  • Recursively Using Stages of the Writing Process
  • How to Create a Writing Portfolio 5:57
  • Self-Assessment in Writing: Definition & Examples 5:51
  • Evaluating Sources for Reliability, Credibility, and Worth 6:09
  • Literature-Based Creative Writing: Responses, Fanfiction & More 5:55
  • Conventions of Research & Academic Inquiry 8:36
  • Interpreting Your Research Findings in an Essay 5:11
  • Introduction to Journalism: History & Society 7:15
  • Contemporary Journalism & Its Role in Society 6:20
  • How to Write Effective Essay Prompts 5:14
  • Individual & Group Interactive Writing Activities 8:17
  • Informational Texts: Organizational Features & Structures 6:22
  • How to Connect Ideas in an Informational Text 5:48
  • How Supplemental Features Add to an Informational Text 6:48
  • Stages of the Recursive Writing Process 5:52
  • Argumentative Essay: Definition, Format & Examples 6:22

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