In-class Essay Exam Topics, Developmental Writing, Spring 2005


Read the following topic suggestions and select one.   Determine what you want to show through your essay, jot down points you wish to cover, and then compose a complete essay with concrete details that relate to the controlling idea.   Leave time to revise (add, delete and/or reorganize material) and proofread (find and correct grammatical and mechanical errors). The essay should include about THREE to five paragraphs and should be around 400 to 500 words in length.  Don’t select a topic about which you have already written this semester.


In evaluating these compositions, readers will be concerned with the following:

            --A discernible controlling idea (thesis)

            --Obvious relationships between the body of the essay and its main idea

            --Good paragraph development and sentence structure

            --Avoidance of vague or general ideas as support

            --Avoidance of excessive mechanical or grammatical errors


In a wide variety of ways, our essays this semester have centered on the theme of success and on what it takes to be successful.  Likewise, the theme of achieveing success is the focus of your in-class final, so choose one of the following writing prompts and compose a good essay on the topic of success or what it takes to succeed. 


Bring all of your essays with you on disk

when we have our final portfolio conference.



1)  For returning or older (25 or up) students: Describe THREE behaviors of traditional-age (new or recent high school graduates) college students which interfere with their chances for success; if you like, do this as an open letter to traditional-age students.


2)  Do you have a special aunt, uncle, or grandparent who has enhanced your life and helped to make you successful? Write that relative a letter identifying and explaining THREE ways that he/she has improved your life.


3)  As a new college student, you’ve been asked to address seniors in your high school.  Write this address, focusing on “THREE reasons to attend a community college.”


4) Describe THREE of your friends, relatives, or acquaintences whom you regard to be “successful” by some measure or definition of success.  However, do not write about anyone you have already written about this semester.


5) Write a story that begins, "When I was a millionaire..." and ends, "The mystery was finally solved."


6)  Imagine you have achieved your dream of success in college, have graduated, and have attained a position in the professional field you wish to enter.  Describe the successes which you expect to enjoy in your professional life, personal life, and community involvements.