The Expository FCAT Essay Checklist
I. The Introduction
1. Open this
paragraph with some form of attention-getter. Don’t spend very long on
this, just a sentence or two. Then you should move on.
2. Spend the
next two or three sentences making a smooth transition or segue into your direct and clear answer to the prompt.
3. The last
sentence of the introduction should be a clear, unmistakable answer to the prompt. Here
it would be smart to even use some of the same words as are found in the prompt/writing instructions.
II. The Support Paragraphs
1. The first
sentence of the support paragraphs (SPs) should be a smooth transition from the previous paragraph. DO NOT USE TRANSITIONS SUCH AS “first,” “second,” “then,” “in
conclusion.” Make it a mature sounding transition. Make this first sentence
a clear topic sentence for the
2. Make up
or think of an example that fits what you are writing about. Detail it; illustrate
your point with an example. The reader should be able to “see” what
you’re trying to say..
3. Close the
SPs with a revisit of the point you are responding to. In other words, close
the SPs by stating how the example you have just provided answers the prompt. As
in your “thesis” in the introductory paragraph employ words from the prompt to make sure you are being clear in
this. Don’t be overly mechanical about this, but make it clear what you
are saying in this SP.
III. The Closing
1. The first
sentence should be, again, a smooth transition.
2. Recap what you have said in new words. Also, add
anything new that would contribute to your case.
3. End with something thought-provoking. Think of
this as your closing argument in a court case and you are really trying to convince a jury and leave them thinking.
2. Do not start sentences with “Well,” “So,” or other such fillers. They add nothing.
3. One of
the best things you can add to your writing is your personality. It won’t
cover bad writing or being off topic, but if you are on topic it will add much to your score.
Humor helps, but be aware of the point of diminishing returns.
5. 2 support
paragraphs are plenty. Only do 3 support paragraphs if time allows.