Essay Prompts and Managing Writing Time for Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Test Study Guide
Essay tests can intimidate anyone—even prospective teachers. You know you will be asked to write an essay, but you don't know your topic beforehand. And you are under pressure: You have only 30 minutes to complete the task. Even though this sounds nerve-racking, with preparation, you will be ready to produce your best writing. The good news is that because the time limit is brief, your essay doesn't need to be long (about four to five paragraphs). Furthermore, because you are provided with a topic, you don't need to spend valuable time deciding what to write about. Also, you can be confident that you will be able to answer the question: All of the topics, or writing prompts, on the PPST Essay test are designed to be general so that you do not need any specialized knowledge or experience to write about them.
Creative, innovative writing is not the goal of the Praxis essay. Instead, it aims to measure your ability to generate ideas and support them through details and evidence in clear, concise writing. It tests how effectively and logically you organize your thoughts and it evaluates your ability to use correct grammar and appropriate word choice. Do not spend a lot of time trying to produce a masterpiece—simply express your views through precise, direct language. To learn more about the criteria on which your essay will be judged, review the rubrics provided in the answer explanations found after each practice exam.
What to Expect
All of the possible writing prompts in the PPST test present a statement and ask you to respond to it. Be ready to explain and back up your position with specific reasons and examples from your personal experience, observations, or reading. You do not need any background knowledge to respond to the prompt. Do not write about a topic other than the one provided. To receive a score, you must write in English. These are some examples of the general topics you might find on the PPST Essay exam:
- "We live in a culturally diverse society. In-depth study of different cultures should be mandatory for all students."
- "Celebrities are just ordinary people with high-profile jobs. They don't have more responsibility than other adults to act as role models for children."
- "Because of the prevalence of information technology in society, computer training should be required for all teachers, regardless of the subject the instructor will teach."
- "Using a grade scale of A–F creates unnecessary competition and negative stress. Colleges and universities should replace the grade scale with a pass/fail report."
Essay Prompts Online
You can find more than 70 typical writing prompts at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website. The essay prompt you get at exam time may not be included in this list, but reviewing the list will familiarize you with common types of prompts and topics. You can follow these instructions:
- Go to www.ets.org.
- Click on "Praxis™" under "Tests."
- Click on "About the Test" under "For Test Takers."
- Click on "Praxis I®: Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST)."
- In the top tabs, find "Test Preparation" and find "Tests at a Glance (TAAG)."
- Click on "PPST: Writing" or "Computerized PPST: Writing."
Your computer must be able to read pdf files.
Manage Your Time
You have 30 minutes to produce a clear, strong essay. Should you jump right into the writing or take time to plan your response? Even with a time limit, your ability to craft a well-organized, well-written essay improves if you take time to plan your essay. Allow time for each step of the writing process: planning, writing, and proofreading. You can break down the 30 minutes this way:
5–10 minutes Plan (choose your thesis, brainstorm, and organize). 15–20 minutes Write. 5 minutes Proofread (read for errors or adjust word choice).
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