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Praxis Core Writing | The essays

The Essays

The Praxis Core Writing test contains two essay tasks that assess your ability to write effectively in a limited period of time.
Together, the two essays make up about half of your score on the Praxis Core Writing test.

Argumentative essay (30 minutes)

This essay task will prompt you to discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with a commonly held opinion.
The topic is designed to be familiar to all test-takers, so responding to it won't require specialized knowledge.
You should approach the prompt by drawing on your personal experiences, observations, or past reading to support your position with specific reasons and examples.

Source-based essay (30 minutes)

This essay task will prompt you to extract information from two provided sources to identify important concerns related to an issue.
While the topic should be somewhat familiar, the sources will be highly specific and academic. You will need to read the sources closely to gain insight into the topic.
You should approach the prompt by drawing heavily from both sources and engaging directly with the arguments they contain.
Things to remember:
  • Write only on the topics assigned
  • Address all the points presented in the topic
  • Support generalizations with specific examples.
  • For the Source-based essay, make sure to draw information from both sources, making sure to cite the source of the information.
Top tip: Plan ahead! Before beginning to write each essay, read the prompt closely. Top scorers take a few minutes to draft a rough outline and organize their thoughts before beginning to write!

How are the essays graded?

Experienced teachers read and evaluate each essay holistically (i.e., with a single score for overall quality) under carefully controlled conditions designed to ensure fair and reliable scoring.
Each candidate essay is evaluated by two graders on a scale of 1 to 6.
Here are some of the things graders look for in a high-scoring essay:
  • Clarity
  • Consistency of point of view
  • Organization of ideas
  • Strong and specific supporting examples
  • Appropriate diction and syntax
  • Correct mechanics and usage
Source-based essay only: Here, scorers will also evaluate how well you synthesize information from the provided sources and cite this information in the essay.
For more information about how to succeed on the Praxis Core Writing essays, visit our quick guides on the Argumentative and Source-based prompts.

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