The final and most scary part of the entire College Composition CLEP is the 2 mandatory essays. But I have some great things to tell you! Read on!
You may not have to take the essays
Wait, did you think they were mandatory? They are. If you take the College Composition CLEP, not if you take the College Composition Modular CLEP.
Remember, when you are deciding which test to take, not to focus on the essays, but to make sure which CLEP your college accepts. You can check that here.
Note that the Modular CLEP is slightly different than the traditional College Comp. exam and, while you get out of the essays, you add in another (slightly harder) section.
Reasons people fear the essays
These reasons always make me laugh, but here you go…
- “My handwriting is too bad” ~ Good news! The CLEP essays are typed, no writing.
- “I can’t write” – That is a lie. Anyone can write. For some people it’s really easy, others find it harder. Some can do it under pressure, others freeze up. But writing is an art, science, and skill. And everyone should have it. I don’t think you have to go out and take this test right now, but buckle down and work on your writing.
Things to remember about the essays
Going into the test, remember these tips.
- There are two essays.
- You get 30 minutes to write the first essay ~ You are given a statement and required to write a paper discussing whether you agree or disagree with the statement.
- You will need to give specific reasons and examples for your position. Think outside the box and tie in life experiences, stories from your reading, and your life observations.
- Memorize some quotations that are fairly general and use them if at all possible.
- You are given 40 minutes to read the sources and write your second essay ~ A coherent essay that combines the sources given and your view to form an argument for one source or the other
- Remember that the two sources will be contradictory.
- Pick the one with the better argument – not the one you would necessarily side for in a real argument
- Don’t be afraid to tie in some quotations or examples. And don’t be afraid to make up examples, pretending they are real.
- Don’t forget to cite and refer to the sources properly, skills you should have from a previous section in the CLEP
Fun fact: When I took my practice exams, I spent weeks writing essay after essay to practice for the second section. With the prompts I was given (in my practice exam), I continually chose one particular side of an argument. When I went and took my real CLEP, the argument was the same! However, I took the opposite side of the one I had practiced for months. The source given to me for that side was much better!
Thank you for joining us this January!
I took the College Composition CLEP in March 2011, and scored a 63. For the month of January we are focusing on the College Composition CLEP, and you are invited to join us this month as we learn about “What books to use for the College Composition CLEP” and study the different parts of this CLEP exam.