ENGL 1302 – Composition II
How to study for a final essay exam on an unannounced topic
1. Create an essay topic that you believe will be required for this exam.
2. Create a test environment (quiet—no external distractions), set a timer for (2) hours, and
begin writing a mock essay exam.
During the two hour exam, your goal is to
o First, create a viable thesis statement
o Create strong, competent body paragraphs with a topic and sub-topic sentence
o Provide evidence = one specific example, paraphrased information, description,
statistics, short narrative, short illustration, concise recount of a personal
experience or observation
o Explain the evidence
o Last, explain how and/or why this evidence supports the idea(s) in your thesis
Read the first draft
Revise, if necessary, content first
Then, edit—correct grammar, syntax, spelling, word choice, punctuation, and MLA formatting errors
Once you finish, check your time. Did you finish in less than two hours? Did you exceed
the two-hour exam period?
3. If you exceed the two-hour time period, consider why you could not finish your essay on-
time. Take a break, and write a second essay. Make sure you are aware of what caused
you to not complete the first mock exam in two hours; then, self-correct.
4. Last, review and assess the quality of your essay exam.
Did you create a thesis that accurately reflects a viable argument based on the
test question you chose?
Are you satisfied with the quality of the argument? Why? Why not?
Does each body-paragraph contain evidence and analysis, but no plot
summary/retelling the story?
Do you have excessive grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling, word choice, or
formatting errors? Why? Why not?
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