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Flashcards in Composing the Essay Deck (57)
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Once your essay plan is completed, how should you use it to help during composition?

You will refer to the paper--your plan--as you write. 

You'll have two fully written sentences--and several argument examples--listed in your completed plan. You won't just copy the sentences, you'll try to improve them as you compose.


Beyond referring to the plan you created, how can you use planning paper during composition?

Use your planning paper to test wording on key sentences, particularly topic sentences and the final sentence.

However, if your words are flowing, use it only to know which example comes next. 


What are the three goals on the SAT writing sample?

Your three writing goals are...

  • develop point of view with appropriate examples and support
  • create paragraphs that are smooth flowing and well organized in structure
  • make effective use of language with varied and appropriate sentences


How do you ensure that you've "developed point of view with appropriate examples and support"?

You properly develop point of view with the way you plan and compose your essay.

Examples and a good main sentence come from planning.  Development and support are accomplished in composition.


How can you ensure that you create a "smooth flowing and well organized" essay?

You'll learn to compose 'smooth and organized' essays by examining good samples and by practice with templates.

Look closely at the way ideas flow from sentence to sentence. Most of the cards in this deck are devoted to this topic.


How do you ensure your essay demonstrates "strong use of language with varied and appropriate sentences?"

Create a "ready list" of SAT level words, mostly verbs and adjecives, that could be substituted into a variety of essays.

The average 12-point scoring essay has only 12-15 difficult SAT level words in it.  Try to come into the test in command of 100 words that you could use in your essay.  Know them cold, and NEVER risk misusing them on the test.


How might you substitute words in the following sentence with ones more impressive to SAT essay graders?

The rich do not become rich by trying to get money, but by pursuing something else hard that brings money.

The wealthy do not become affluent by striving for money, but by pursuing a goal with passion that brings high compensation.

The point is the same, "that people make money by the products of their skills and labor", but the language is elevated.

There's a part of this sentence that could be further improved, but the evaluators are not looking for perfection.


Which of the following sentences is more likely to score well on the SAT essay?

(a) Deception is necessary sometimes, because there is a greater moral being followed.
(b) A greater moral principal may sometimes necessitate deception.

(b) a sentence with better use of language is preferred to a sentence without an error.

Did you catch it?

"Principal" is the wrong word in sentence (b), but a couple of mistakes like that won't hurt your score one bit.


Why isn't studying vocabulary for Critical Reading enough to prepare you to do well with word choice on the SAT essay?

Correctly using a word in communication requires a deeper level of knowledge than recognizing its general meaning.


How should you create a "Ready List" for the SAT essay?

While you're studying SAT vocabulary lists, separate out words that you can use in writing.  When you're done practicing composing an essay draft, rewrite key phrases with your list next to you, substituting your 'ready list' words into the essay.  Your ability to select them while writing will come with practice.


What should the first paragraph of your essay accomplish?

The first paragraph, the introduction, should answer the assigned writing question (prompt) and relate the examples that will be used to demonstrate it.

It also can impress the audience (the two evaluators) with good structure, tone, and language.


What is the best process for writing an effective introduction paragraph?

Practice using a template; analyze and practice every part of the paragraph.

We will practice your application of a good introduction paragraph template in the cards later in this deck!


What should you try to write as your ideal first sentence in your introduction paragraph?

You should try to write a hook sentence using a fun fact, strong point, short quote, or humor.


How many sentences should a good introduction paragraph have, and what are the function of those sentences?

Between 3-6 sentences.

  1. Hook (optional)
  2. Hook development (optional)
  3. Bridge to Main Sentence (optional)
  4. Main Sentence
  5. Main Sentence development
  6. Examples


Which is the better hook for the following main sentence?

The wealthy do not become affluent by striving for money, but by passionately pursuing a goal that brings monetary rewards.

(a) "Them that's got are them that gets," is a lyric from a Ray Charles' song that reasons the source of money.
(b)  Everybody wants money, but few know how to get it.

(a) is better. It's more provocative.

Remember, the best hook is not always the one that connects with you best. You are not the audience. Ray Charles will be known by the graders; and the ungrammatical language of the quote actually makes it "pop."

(b) is not a bad strong point, either. You'll get credit for a decent hook like this.



What is a bridge sentence within a paragraph?

A bridge sentence is an internal transition from one section of a paragraph to another.


What is the key to writing a good bridge to your main sentence in the introduction paragraph?

Knowing where you're going

Having a main sentence planned can help you write a sentence that properly connects a hook to your main sentence.


Which sentence would effectively bridge the hook to the main sentence?

"The best laid-plans of mice and men go often awry," comes from a Robert Burns' poem. Things planned don't always turn out well...

(a) Plans are about finding ways to achieve goals, and success is defined as reaching those goals.
(b) Ironically, one way a plan can go awry is by succesfully reaching its goal.

...Success can lead to disaster because the goal may be shallow or shortsighted and lead to unintended consequences.

(b) brings together the concept of things "going awry," and success leading to an unforeseen disaster.

(a) is well-written, but not as conceptually complex.


Which bridge better links the following two sentences?

For most of us, the path to wealth remains a hazy mystery...

(a)  This mystery comes from a paradox; sometimes to seek something you must look for something else.
(b)  Money is not the bread; rather, it is the honey on the bread.

...The wealthy do not become affluent by striving for money, but by passionately pursuing a goal that brings monetary rewards.

(a) is very good, but (b) has a touch of brilliance.

Using a metaphor as a transition is risky because it's not very direct; but if you succeed, you're on your way to a "12"!

(a) illustrates "paradox" very well, and the link is clear.


How should you approach writing your main sentence for your essay?

Read it in your plan, then rewrite it into your essay.

It should be fully formed in your plan, before you begin writing, but don't just copy it from the plan. You should improve its wording.

The main sentence is the most important sentence in your essay.  Make it the best you can.


Which sentence better develops the main idea of the following sentence?

The wealthy do not become affluent by striving for money, but by passionately pursuing a goal that brings monetary rewards.

(a)  Only a bank robber can pursue money directly; everyone else uses their skills to trade a good or a service for it.
(b)  The market is made of goods and services which are traded for money.

(a) is better. It gives the exception as a counter-example.  It's clear. It's direct.


Where do you get your ideas for examples while you write?

Examples are listed in your plan.

If you are still thinking about examples while you write, you are going to be unfocused.  Good compostion requires concentration to finding the right wording and style.


What should the body of your essay look like?

Essay body: 2-3 body paragraphs

  • Each should begin with a topic sentence introducing an example and how it is related to the main sentence
  • Each includes details about the example
  • Each body paragraph should contain good transitions and flow logically and smoothly
  • Each needs sentences which provide development of the main idea


How should you structure your body paragraphs in your essay?

Body template (sentences):

1. Topic sentence
2-4. Example details

5-7. Development of main idea
8. Transition to next body (or conclusion) paragraph


How should a body paragraph start?

A body paragraph should start with a topic sentence introducing one example that you chose in your plan.


How should you approach writing the topic sentence of your body paragraph?

For really important sentences such as topic sentences, you should try wording on scratch paper first.

This technique can slow you down, so use it only on topic sentences.


What should the topic sentence of a body paragraph accomplish?

The topic sentence:

  • Introduces the example that is to be presented and detailed
  • Links to the keywords of the main sentence of the opening paragraph
  • Uses strong verbs
  • Indicates an order for the details to follow


Which of these two topic sentences would be better for  Shakespeare's Macbeth and how ambition can be harmful?

(a) The first example of how ambition can hurt or ruin a person would be Macbeth, Shakespeare's tragic hero.
(b) In the Elizabethan Age, Shakespeare's Macbeth struggled with ambition, and his life goes from success to failure.

(b) is much stronger.

"In the Elizabethan Age," is a good transition and gives a supportive detail. "Struggled" is a strong verb choice.  "From success to failure," sets up the arc of the details to follow.




What sentences should follow the topic sentence in a body paragraph?

Approx. 2-3 sentences detailing the example should follow your topic sentence.

These 2-3 sentences should use the example to further develop your main point.  A transition sentence is used to segue to the next paragraph.


Which sentence better supports the following topic sentence?

In the Elizabethan Age, Shakespeare's Macbeth struggles with ambition, and his life goes from success to failure.

(a) In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a hero, because he sucessfully defends the king during a coup.
(b) Macbeth kills Duncan, the King, because he wants to be king, thus showing his ambition which is how things went wrong.

(a) supports "from success to failure" and gives good detail from the play.