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Expository Essay Prewriting Worksheet

Step 1: Read carefully to clarify your task and to analyze the key words in the prompt.
My Writing Task:
Key Words in the Prompt: _____________________________________________

Step 2: Narrow your focus.


My Point of View: _____________________________________________________
Examples/Supporting details:_____________________________________________

Step 3: Choose a Thesis Statement.


Thesis Statement: ________________________________________________________

Things to Consider When Writing the Expository Essay


1. 30 Minute Time Table Breakdown:
Prewriting (Including the Expository Essay Prewriting Worksheet)
5 minutes
Writing Time (Actual time to draft the essay)
20 minutes
Editing Time (Find and correct grammar and mechanical errors)
5 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
2. Your essay should be a minimum of 4 paragraphs long. Paragraph breakdown:
Paragraph One:
Introduction
Paragraph 2, 3 or 4
Supporting idea paragraphs
Final Paragraph
Conclusion
3. The introduction should consist of 4 to 6 sentences.
Body paragraphs should consist of 5 to 8 sentences.
The conclusion should have 2 to 4 sentences.
4. Supporting ideas:
You can use facts/examples from literature, history, science, film, or examples from your own
experiences or observation.
You can actually study for this part, because themes are UNIVERSAL. Think about some major novels
that you have read thus far and/or some historical figures. Figure out what they stand for, what themes
they exemplify, and be ready to work that into whatever prompt presents itself.
Remember, you will be writing explanation, not narration. If you use a personal experience or
observation, do not be tempted to relive the story; speak about what you write in an academic voice.
Complete the Examples Charts prior to taking the HSPA.

Writing Task 1

Prewriting Checklist
My Writing Task:
Key Words in the Prompt: _____________________________________________

Step 2: Narrow your focus.


My Point of View: _____________________________________________________
Examples/Supporting details:_____________________________________________

Step 3: Choose a Thesis Statement.


Thesis Statement: ________________________________________________________

HISTORY (FILL IN THE APPROPRIATE INFORMATION FOR TWO HISTORY EXAMPLES)


EVENT:________________________________
DATE: ________________________________
DESCRIPTION:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___
MAJOR PLAYERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
BIG IDEAS:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___
EVENT:________________________________
DATE: ________________________________
DESCRIPTION:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___
MAJOR PLAYERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
BIG IDEAS:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___

CURRENT EVENTS (FILL IN RECENT EVENTS IN THE NEWS)


EVENT:________________________________
DATE: ________________________________
DESCRIPTION:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___
MAJOR PLAYERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
BIG IDEAS:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___
EVENT:________________________________
DATE: ________________________________
DESCRIPTION:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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MAJOR PLAYERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
BIG IDEAS:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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LITERATURE (MARK TWAIN IS IN, J.K. ROWLING AND STEPHEN KING ARE OUT. STICK TO
THE CLASSICS)
NOVEL:________________________________

AUTHOR:

THEME(S):

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________

SUMMARY:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________

MAJOR CHARACTERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________

NOVEL:________________________________

AUTHOR:

THEME(S):

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________

SUMMARY:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
5

MAJOR CHARACTERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE (CHOOSE EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE HAD A PROFOUND EFFECT


ON YOU)
EVENT:________________________________
DATE: ________________________________
DESCRIPTION:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___
MAJOR PLAYERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
BIG IDEAS:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___
EVENT:________________________________
DATE: ________________________________
DESCRIPTION:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___

MAJOR PLAYERS:

_________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
BIG IDEAS:

PRACTICE HSPA EXPOSITORY ESSAY WRITING PROMPTS:


SAMPLE TASK #1:
"Nothing requires more discipline than Freedom"
Assignment: Using examples from literature, history, science, film, or your own
experiences, write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this statement.

SAMPLE TASK #2:


The principle is this: each failure leads us closer to deeper knowledge, to greater
creativity in understanding old data, to new lines of inquiry. Thomas Edison experienced
10,000 failures before he succeeded in perfecting the lightbulb. When a friend of his
remarked that 10,000 failures was a lot, Edison replied, "I didn't fail 10,000 times, I
successfully eliminated 10,000 materials and combinations that didn't work."
Myles Brand, "Taking the Measure of Your Success"

Assignment: What is your view on the idea that it takes failure to achieve success?
Using examples from literature, history, science, film, or your own experiences, write an
essay in which you develop your point of view on this statement.

SAMPLE TASK #3:


Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must
forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They
see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.
Adapted from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I've Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation
Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in
the present? Using examples from literature, history, science, film, or your own
experiences, write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this statement.