David Recine

Sample Praxis Core Argumentative Essay, With Commentary

Praxis Core Argumentative Essay

The Praxis Core Writing Argumentative Essay falls under the “Text Types, Purposes, and Production” category of questions. It shares this category with the Praxis Core Writing Source-Based Essay. The Praxis Core Writing revision-in-context task rounds out this grouping of questions on the exam.

The Argumentative Essay, like the Source-Based Essay, is scored on a scale of 1 to 6. In this post, we’ll look at a sample Argumentative Essay prompt. This will be followed by a 6-point model Praxis Core Writing Argumentative Essay, with scorer commentary.

Example Praxis Core Writing Argumentative Essay Prompt

Read the opinion stated below:

“Advanced degrees have limited usefulness in the job market. Employers seldom require more than a bachelor’s degree. Most jobs that do require a Master’s Degree or Doctorate are so highly competitive that getting a degree does not ensure employment.”

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this opinion. Support your views with specific reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

Example Praxis Core Writing Argumentative Essay (6 points)

I agree to some extent that graduate degrees are not always useful in a job hunt. Even when an employer lists an advanced degree as desirable, it’s usually not an absolute requirement. Moreover, level of education is seldom the only factor that’s considered in hiring decisions, and it may not even be a top factor. In fact, sometimes grad-level education can actually be seen as a liability in terms of cost and worker retention. People who hold advanced degrees are often entitled to higher pay, and hiring managers sometimes fear that an “over-educated” worker will get bored and quit.

Having said that, I disagree with the extreme tone of the statement. This statement seems to suggest that almost all graduate degrees are of limited use, regardless of the kind of job someone is applying for. On the contrary, some grad degrees are highly useful in finding work. Not only that, but for certain types of jobs, a graduate degree is absolutely necessary.

To be sure, it can be a little harder to get a job if you have an advanced degree in a liberal arts subject, such as philosophy or English literature. Most jobs in these fields are professor positions at colleges and universities. Professor positions are, as the statement suggests, “so highly competitive that getting a degree does not ensure employment.” However, a Master’s in a field such as engineering can make someone an exceptionally strong candidate for a top-salary engineering job. Similarly, MBAs help people get upper management jobs more easily. There are also other kinds of jobs where employment is ensured with a graduate degree, and only with a graduate degree. Pretty much anyone with a medical degree is able to find a job as a doctor, and such job positions are only open to MDs.

Ultimately, though, my biggest problem with the above statement is that I don’t think that generalization applies to any advanced degree, even a supposedly less-useful one. Regardless of the field of study, a graduate can advance someone’s career, if they make the right career decisions. To give an example of this, I have a master’s in English. This humanities master’s degree didn’t help me very much when I tried to work as a professor. Unfortunately, I was competing with too many other applicants who had doctorates or had attended more impressive schools. So instead, I used my degree to get a job as a technical writer. Many of the best tech writer jobs actually require a master’s in English. So even though my degree might seem less useful than others, I’ve gotten a lot of good use out of it.

Example Praxis Core Writing Argumentative Essay: Scorer Commentary

This essay earns the full 6 points, based on the official score guide for the Praxis Core Writing Argumentative Essay. (See pages 9 and 30 of ETS’s Praxis Core Writing Study Companion.)

The writer’s point of view is clearly stated. There is a clear opening thesis, and each paragraph has a strong topic sentence that expands on the essay writer’s thesis.

Ideas unfold logically. The essay’s individual paragraphs are well-organized and are connected to each other with smooth transitions. The writer’s ideas about the value of graduate studies are repeated and built on throughout the essay. Across all paragraphs, key ideas are supported with specific details and examples.

Finally, the “technical” aspects of this essay are in order. To build a strong, cohesive argument, the test-taker displays a good range of vocabulary and sentence structure.



  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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