The writing exam for Praxis Core is divided into 2 parts. The first part consists of answering questions about text types, research skills, sentence revision, usage and mechanics, and more. Then, there are 2 essays that should each be completed in 30 minutes. The argumentative and source-based essays require test takers to compose a thesis and defend it with supporting details. To prepare for this portion of the exam, use these Praxis Core writing practice tips to help you.
Know Your Time Frame
Thirty minutes isn’t a lot of time to perfect your essay. Use the time wisely by breaking up the writing process.
- Spend about 10 minutes in the pre-writing phrase. This is when you should brainstorm ideas, write a thesis, and make an outline of your essay.
- Write your essay for the next 15 minutes or so. You can use your outline to help you.
- The extra time can be used to proofread, making sure that the essay is polished and ready to go.
Make an Outline
Many people skip this step when writing essays on the exam. However, an outline simplifies the rest of the process. Your outline should include your thesis statement and topic sentences for each paragraph. The more detail you can include, the quicker you can write out the rest of the essay.
Support Your Thesis
For each essay, start with your introduction and thesis. The argumentative essay requires you to agree or disagree with an issue and discuss why. For the source-based essay, identify the concerns about the issue mentioned and why it’s important.
Next, include 2 to 3 reasons to support your argument in the body paragraphs. These reasons could be examples, readings, personal experiences, or observations. The details to support each reason should be logical with clear connections between ideas. Make sure to answer the “so what?” question to demonstrate how it relates back to the thesis. Then, finish your essay with a well-thought out conclusion.
Cite Your Sources
On your source-based essay, you should use the sources to draft your argument. As such, you need to cite your sources. Whether you paraphrase the ideas or use a direct quote, state the author’s last name and title of the source. You can use any other information that you have to cite the sources, too. It’s also a good idea to include a Works Cited page at the end of the essay.
Review and Proofread
Don’t forget to save yourself plenty of time to proofread your essay. Some of the most common issues that people have include:
- Comma splices
- Misplaced modifiers
- Parallel phrasing
- Proper pronouns (subjective vs. objective)
- Passive vs. active voice
- Subject-verb agreement
The best Praxis Core writing practice tip that I can give you is to take the time to actually practice. Using practice tests, set a clock and practice writing out the essays. When you’re done, take the essays to the writing lab on your college campus or have a friend read it for you. Get constructive criticism that can help you produce your best work on the exam.