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Handy Guide to Approaching a Sudden Prompt


Here's the scenario: you walk into class, sit down, and get ready for another exciting lecture. Suddenly your teacher says, "Take out a pen and paper. You will write for the next thirty minutes addressing this prompt." She then writes something indecipherable on the board. What do you do? What do you do?

Why, this of course:

1) Ask yourself 'What is the prompt? What does it want me to answer?' Make the statement that you have come up with into a question.

2) Now, answer that question. This is now your Working Thesis Statement! (See the guide to writing a five paragraph essay and/ or the guide to thesis statements.)

3) Now, come up with three points, examples, or arguments to support this working thesis statement.

4) Freewrite. Let your mind go. You can write your ideas under headings, group them together, whatever you feel most comfortable with.

5) Write down a solid thesis statement, with at LEAST three points, examples, or arguments.

6) Write down at LEAST three (depends on step no. 5) topic sentences. This is the basis for your supporting paragraphs.

You now have a rough outline of what your essay will look like. But don't forget the important things, like the fact that you will need a proper introductory paragraph, body, and conclusion paragraph. You will need to use sufficient description, means of support, and examples.

ABOVE ALL: you need to address the prompt and answer it fully.


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