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0007 Establishing and Maintaining Theme or Main Idea
0008 Sentence Construction, Grammar, and Usage
0009 Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation
Practice Writing Tests
0010 Analyzing and Revising Sentences
0011 Prepare an Effective Summary
0012 Prepare an Organized, Developed Composition
Guidelines for Passing
Essay Skills
Determine the Purpose for Writing
Formulate a Thesis or Statement of Main Idea
Organize Ideas and Details Effectively
Provide Adequate, Relevant Supporting Material
Use Effective Transitions
Demonstrate a Mature Command of Language
Avoid Inappropriate Slang, Jargon, and Cliches
Use a Variety of Sentence Patterns Effectively
Maintain a Consistent Point of View
Practice Writing an Essay

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DEMONSTRATION ONLY: This demonstration presents an abbreviated version of the complete MTEL course. Click 'Next' at the bottom of the screen or make a selection from the links on the left to begin. Not all links are available for the demo.

0012 Demonstrate the Ability to Prepare a Well-organized and Focused Piece of Writing for a Given Purpose and Audience, Using Standard English Conventions

Essay Skills

In this section, the information and skills needed to successfully develop a composition on a given topic will be presented. Some sample topics are listed below.

Sample Topics

  • Some people believe that voter turnout in local, state, and federal elections would increase if election day were a national holiday, while others disagree that this would help significantly. In an essay to be read by a general audience of educated adults express your opinion on this issue. Defend your position with reasoned arguments and supporting examples.

  • It has been said that maturity requires distinguishing what is important from what is not. Write an essay, to be read by a college instructor, in which you describe something (e.g., idea, object, event, personal trait, goal) that you once thought was important and explain why, after maturing, you no longer thought that it was important. Your purpose is to describe something that you once thought was important and explain why it no longer seems important, using specific examples.

  • Ernest Hemingway once commented, "As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary." In an essay to be read by an audience of educated adults, state whether you agree or disagree with Hemingway's observation. Support your position with logical arguments and specific examples.

  • There is a current trend in the United States toward smaller families. Sociologists attribute the decline in childbearing to many factors, including the dramatic rise of women in the work force, delayed marriage, divorce, and the high cost of raising and educating children. Discuss your view of the smaller family size and how it may affect future American society.

  • Unexpected challenges in our lives sometimes bring out the best in us. For example, we act heroically or courageously in emergencies, we are charitable when disasters affect our friends, or we are unselfish and patient when misfortune strikes our friends or relatives. Pick an instance in your own life when such a challenge stimulated in you a response that pleased you. Describe the situation, explain how you responded, and tell what you learned about yourself from the experience.

  • There are times when one's principles or beliefs are tested by circumstances. One may be opposed to lying, for instance, but be tempted to lie or actually lie in order to spare another person's feelings. Describe a situation in which one of your principles or beliefs was tested by circumstances, explain how you handled the situation, and tell why you now think your behavior was or was not correct.
  • The minimum wage in America has been the subject of debate for many years. Many people argue we should be careful about sharp increases in the minimum wage because of the resulting inflation (higher labor costs equal higher consumer prices) and layoffs. Others believe the minimum wage is too low to support a family and should be raised to keep up with the cost of living. Write an essay analyzing and evaluating these opposing views on the minimum wage. You may include personal experience, knowledge, or observations.

  • Many recent high school graduates discover that despite possessing a high school diploma, they have no specific skills to enable them to obtain employment. Explain your feeling about introducing a "vocational skills program" as an alternative choice to the academic high school curriculum.

  • What are the characteristics of a good friend? In an essay to be read by a general audience of educated adults explain your ideas about what makes someone a good friend. Include details to support your views.