California High School Exit Exam

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Attack the Prompt

Step1: Find and eliminate unnecessary words (You can usually eliminate the “warm-up” at the beginning of the prompt. The purpose of the warm-up is to give the student a little background information; however, it usually does not include information that is necessary for the response).

Step 2: Circle any words that tell you to do something (action verbs-write, describe, use, share, explain, etc.)

Step 3: Draw an arrow from the circled word to what it specifically tells you to do.

Step 4: Under the prompt, rewrite the circled words and what you are supposed to do.

Example prompt from a real high school exit exam:

By the time students enter high school, they have learned about many moments in history that have influenced our world today. Think about a moment in history you studied, and consider its importance.

Write a composition in which you discuss a moment in history. Share its importance in today’s world. Be sure to support the moment with details and examples.

Example of attacking the prompt:

By the time students enter high school, they have learned about many moments in history that have influenced our world today. Think about a moment in history you studied, and consider its importance. Write a composition in which you discuss a moment in history. Share its importance in today’s world. Be sure to support the moment with details and examples. Directions: Attack the following prompts by following the steps above.

discuss-a moment in history
share-its importance in today’s world
support-the moment with details and examples

Directions: Using the same process described above, attack the following prompts.

1. Taking a good look at ourselves is a useful thing to do. In this essay, we want you to look at your strengths. Decide on one of your strengths as a topic for this essay.

Write an essay in which you explain what you think is one of your most significant strengths. Explain why you think...
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