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Pierce's10th Grade Honors and 10th Grade IB Prep

Persuasive Essay Checklist
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Persuasive Essay Checklist

The Persuasive 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.  Have 2 reasons if you plan on a 4 paragraph essay, 3 if you will be writing a 5 paragraph essay.


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 paragraph.  This topic sentence should echo one of the reasons you mentioned in your direct answer to the prompt.


                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.  This will follow your topic sentence (or two).  It should start with something like, “Take John, for example, who…”  Then tell his “case study” which should be a clear example of what you’re trying to say.  This is the SHOW part of the paragraph which should be TELL/SHOW/TELL.


                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 by addressing the other side of the argument.  Say something like, “Some people would argue that…”  Then explain why this is a weak stance. 


IV. Extras

1.       REMEMBER THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO AGREE WITH WHAT YOU ARAE WRITING!  Take the side you can argue for the best.




3.        Do not start sentences with “Well,” “So,” or other such fillers.  They add nothing.


                4. 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. STAY ON TOPIC!!


                6. 2 support paragraphs are plenty.  Only do 3 support paragraphs if time allows.