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You’ll begin the exam by reading a prose passage of 700 - 1,000 words. This passage will be about as difficult as the readings encountered in freshman courses at UC. You’ll have up to two hours to read the passage carefully and write an essay in response to a single topic and related prompts based on the passage's content. These prompts will generally ask you to read thoughtfully and to provide reasoned, concrete, and developed presentations of a specific point of view. Your essay will be evaluated on the basis of your ability to develop your central idea, to express yourself clearly, and to use the conventions of written English.

5 qualities of a passing essay

There is no “correct” response for a topic, but here are some things readers may look for in a passing essay.

  1. Demonstrates comprehension of the passage
  2. Maintains focus on the task assigned
  3. Leads readers to understand a point of view, if not to accept it
  4. Develops a central idea and provides specific examples
  5. Evaluates the passage in light of personal experience, observations or by testing the writer’s assumptions against their own