Praxis® Core Writing Test Essay Prompts

What Is the Praxis Core Writing Essay?

The Praxis Core Writing essay is used to determine a writer's effectiveness in a limited time. The Praxis Core Writing test assesses both informative/explanatory writing and argumentative writing. There is one writing prompt for each of the two writing types. In addition to the two essay questions, you should expect to see some selected-response questions to assess both the examinee's abilities to revise and improve test and research strategies.

The Praxis Core Writing test has two content categories:

  1. Text Types, Purposes, and Production
  2. Language and Research Skills for Writing

Content Categories Approximate Number of Questions Approximate Percentage of Exam
Text types, purposes, and production 6-12 selected-response
2 essays
60%
Language and Research Skills for Writing 28-34 selected-response 40%

What Are the Praxis Writing Essay Prompts?

Praxis Writing essay prompts are categorized as argumentative or source-based. The topics for the argumentative and source-based essays attempt to present situations that are familiar to all educated people. No topic will require specialized knowledge other than an understanding of how to write effectively in English.

Praxis Argumentative Essay Prompts

The argumentative essay section will invite examinees to draw from personal experience, observation, or reading to support a position with specific reasons and examples. You will need to be able to produce an argumentative essay to support a claim using relevant and sufficient evidence.

In doing so, you will need to write clearly and concisely:

  • Address the assigned task appropriately for an audience of educated adults.
  • Organize and develop ideas logically, making coherent connections between them.
  • Provide and sustain a clear focus or thesis.
  • Use supporting reasons, examples, and details to develop clearly and logically the ideas presented.
  • Demonstrate facility in the use of language and the ability to use a variety of sentence structures.
  • Construct effective sentences that are generally free of errors in standard written English.

Examples of topics found for argumentative essay prompts:

  • Standardized testing.
  • How the role of a parent may be impacting education today.
  • Year-round schooling to improve education in the US.
  • Foreign language as a required college course for teachers.
  • Schools having dress codes for some semblance of control over students.

The prompt will be formatted as a statement and your response is to either agree or disagree.

Example: To improve education in the US, we need to have schools open year-round.

Praxis Source-Based Essay Prompts

The source-based essay topic asks examinees to extract information from two provided sources to identify important concerns related to an issue. You will need to produce an explanatory essay to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

The following are expected:

  • Write clearly and coherently.
  • Address the assigned task appropriately for an audience of educated adults.
  • Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis.
  • Organize and develop ideas logically, making coherent connections between them.
  • Synthesize information from multiple sources on a subject.
  • Integrate and attribute information from multiple sources on a subject, avoiding plagiarism.
  • Provide and sustain clear focus or thesis.
  • Demonstrate facility in the use of language and ability to use a variety of sentence structures.
  • Construct effective sentences that are generally free of errors in standard written English.

Preparing for the Praxis Core Writing Essay

Preparation is key for a successful Praxis examination. An effective strategy to prepare for any of the Praxis exams should include the following:

  1. Learn what is on the test and how Praxis scoring system works
  2. Recognize any areas you may need to study up on
  3. Find your study materials
  4. This step is arguably the most important: Plan and organize your time
  5. Develop your study plan
  6. Practice explaining key concepts in your own words. Using practice prompts ahead of time will help you feel more comfortable on test day.

Time Management

You will have 30 minutes for each of the essays; here is a recommended breakdown on how to use that time efficiently for the argumentative essay:

  • Think about the topic: 2 minutes.
  • Compose a thesis statement: 5 minutes.
  • Write a brief outline that includes your topic sentences and supporting details: 3 minutes.
  • Write the essay: 18 minutes.
  • Proofread and edit: 2 minutes.

Scoring

The essays are scored on a scale of 1 to 6. An essay scored with a 1 is poorly written. Scoring a 6 is nearly perfect, if not perfect, and is comparable to receiving an A.

How to Practice

Here are some ways you can practice your essays long before your Praxis test dates:

  1. Randomly choose a topic for each essay.
  2. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  3. Write a complete essay.
  4. Get feedback from a peer, teacher, or your school's writing center.
  5. Use the feedback given to make revisions and try again!

Expert Contributor

Nicole McCaig

Nicole McCaig, M.A. is an elementary school teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching and mentoring novice teachers. She has successfully passed the Praxis and holds a New Jersey Standard Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education K-5. Nicole graduated with an M.A. in Teaching from Monmouth University. She is dedicated to contributing to e-learning platforms and serving schools in disadvantaged areas, as she believes that quality education should be accessible to all.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How should I write my Praxis essay?

    Take a moment to sketch out an outline for your essay. A few moments to collect your thoughts can be key to a well-organized paper.

  • How many paragraphs should a Praxis essay be?

    Each essay receives only 30 minutes for construction. Because of this, the writer should be less focused on the length and more focused on the content. Have you completely answered the question? Does your response display your ability to synthesize information or write a compelling arguement? Quality outweighs quantity in the Praxis Core Writing exam.

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