Writing - The Sandwich Paragraphs and the Last Slice for CBEST Exam Study Guide
Once you have written your outline and your introduction, you need not concentrate so much on ideas; you already have them written down. In the body and conclusion of the essay, show off your style. Each of the three paragraphs after the introduction should contain a topic sentence and at least four supporting sentences. Your conclusion should restate your thesis and offer a few closing words.
The sample sentences and paragraphs in this lesson contain mistakes in grammar, punctuation, diction, and even organization. See whether you can find all the errors, and try to correct them. You may need to simply rewrite some of the paragraphs for clarity. There are many ways to rewrite the paragraphs; maybe you'll find a better way than the ones given. If you can do that, you're sure to pass the writing portion of the CBEST.
Topic Sentence and Supporting Sentences
Each paragraph should have a topic sentence. The topic sentence often begins the paragraph, and states the main idea of the paragraph in general. For each of the three paragraphs that will make up the body of your essay, one of the points from your outline will be used. That is why you made the outline. The sub-points you wrote down will be the subject of the rest of the sentences in the paragraph.
After composing the topic sentence, clarify and explain your main idea with supporting sentences. These sentences should be as detailed and descriptive as possible.
Go back to the uniform example and write some topic sentences and supporting sentences. Remember, the outline looked like this:
Parents—Save money, can use hand-me-downs, save wear on good clothes, buying clothes easier, survey shows parents hate free dress days, less pressure from children and fewer fights over money for clothes. Children—Low-income children feel as well dressed as peers, feel more of a sense of belonging, easier and faster to dress in morning, don't have to worry about what others think, more disciplined and calmer at school.
School staff—Experts say fewer fights at school, less bullying and teasing, more school loyalty among children so builds school community, parents less stressed so fewer calls for advice, frees officials to do other things, like academics. Principals and teachers love the uniform policy.
Conclusion: In the end, children and families benefit.
These were the thesis examples:
- Adopting a school uniform policy will benefit parents, children, and school staff.
- Uniform policies provide relief for parents, enhance self-esteem in children, and facilitate learning at school.
When you write your CBEST essay, be sure to leave yourself plenty of room for revisions by double-spacing or leaving extra-wide margins.
Your first reason in favor of uniforms is that parents benefit. To make things easier, you can copy the first part of the thesis statement. This provides you with a transition (see the next section) as well as a topic sentence:
In my opinion, a uniform policy will benefit parents.
Next, add your detailed reasons. Here is one possible way to write the first body paragraph. (Remember, the paragraphs in this lesson have mistakes in them. Can you correct them?)
In my opinion, a uniform policy will benefit parents. Because they are all the same style and shape and usually very well made, children can use the hand-me-downs of older siblings or even used ones bought from another child. Parents they were also able to save money by buying fewer school clothes for their children. Children, who are often demanding, will have already agreed on what clothes their parents will need to buy so there will be fewer arguments over clothes for school their parents will need to buy. Children and teachers like it too. Parents are generally in favor of uniforms because you do not have to provide your children with a different matched set of clothes for each day. After buying uniforms the first year, more peace was reportedly experienced by 95% of the parents interviewed and many surveys reported that it saved them an average of $100–$200 in clothing costs.
Notice how this paragraph has used some statistics—completely made-up ones—to provide support for the topic sentence. When you are writing your narrative essay, you should usually organize the supporting sentences in chronological order, or in order of importance. Lots of descriptive detail and maybe even some conversation, when appropriate, will help support your main point and make your essay clear and compelling to your reader.
Now, how about a topic sentence for each of the other two body paragraphs?
Children benefit from a school uniform policy. Uniforms cost no extra money for teachers and administrators, yet the benefits are great.
These sentences are OK for now, but your essay needs transitions from one paragraph to another. The first topic from your thesis statement gave your first body paragraph an automatic transition from the introduction. Now you need something that will link the first body paragraph to the second, and the second to the third.
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