Posted in CLEP

Good to Know: CLEP Essays

While all CLEP exams are multiple choice, a few exams have essays- some are required and some are optional. In this post, we’ll do a quick run-down of where you’ll find essays.

All Essays

These must be typed! If your teen is not a proficient typist, you’ll want to work on that prior to attempting a CLEP essay. I used Typing.com in our homeschool. It’s easy and free.

No formatting options. No underline, italics, spell-check, etc. Everything is in plain text.

Optional Essays

Optional CLEP essays are unique, and families should understand their place in the CLEP exam score report.

Think of the essay as optional for the COLLEGE, not for you. This means that CLEP testing centers can facilitate an extra essay for a college if the college wants. You as the test taker don’t have to opportunity to take optional exams unless they are arranged in advance.

The American LiteratureAnalyzing and Interpreting LiteratureCollege Composition Modular and English Literature exams all have optional essays that some colleges and universities may require. Whether a student needs to take an optional essay for the above subjects is up to the discretion of the institution they are or will be attending.

Unlike the required essays, optional essays are NOT assigned or graded by The College Board. These essays are “extras” that any college or university can send to be added to your exam for test day. The standardized portion is graded per usual by The College Board, and your essay is sent back to the institution for grading. There is no way to take the optional exam unless your target college agrees to provide it and grade it.

It is not common for colleges to ask for optional essays. In over two decades of reading CLEP policy, I’ve only encountered 3 colleges that ask for optional essays. Liberty University, a popular choice among HS4CC families, does require an optional essay for Analyzing and Interpreting Literature.

Required Essays

 College Composition exam requires test takers to write two essays. These essays are part of your score report and graded by The College Board. Since the essay requires additional time for grading, a student’s score report is NOT immediately available at the completion of the test.

The Essays

In addition to the multiple-choice section, the College Composition exam includes a mandatory essay section that tests skills of argumentation, analysis, and synthesis. This section of the exam consists of two essays, both of which measure a test taker’s ability to write clearly and effectively. The first essay is based on the test taker’s reading, observation, or experience, while the second requires test takers to synthesize and cite two sources that are provided. Test takers have 30 minutes to write the first essay and 40 minutes to read the two sources and write the second essay. The essays must be typed on the computer.

First Essay: Directions 

Write an essay in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement provided. Support your discussion with specific reasons and examples from your reading, experience, or observations. 

Second Essay: Directions 

This assignment requires you to write a coherent essay in which you synthesize the two sources provided. Synthesis refers to combining the sources and your position to form a cohesive, supported argument. You must develop a position and incorporate both sources. You must cite the sources whether you are paraphrasing or quoting. Refer to each source by the author’s last name, the title, or by any other means that adequately identifies it.

Essay Scoring Guidelines

Readers will assign scores based on the following scoring guide.

6 – A 6 essay demonstrates a high degree of competence and sustained control, although it may have a few minor errors.

A typical essay in this category

  • addresses the writing task very effectively
  • develops ideas thoroughly, using well-chosen reasons, examples, or details for support
  • is clearly-focused and well-organized
  • demonstrates superior facility with language, using effective vocabulary and sentence variety
  • demonstrates strong control of the standard conventions of grammar, usage, and mechanics, though it may contain minor errors

5 – A 5 essay demonstrates a generally high degree of competence, although it will have occasional lapses in quality.

A typical essay in this category:

  • addresses the writing task effectively
  • develops ideas consistently, using appropriate reasons, examples, or details for support
  • is focused and organized
  • demonstrates facility with language, using appropriate vocabulary and some sentence variety
  • demonstrates consistent control of the standard conventions of grammar, usage, and mechanics, though it may contain minor errors

4 – A 4 essay demonstrates competence, with some errors and lapses in quality.

A typical essay in this category

  • addresses the writing task adequately
  • develops ideas adequately, using generally relevant reasons, examples, or details for support
  • is generally focused and organized
  • demonstrates competence with language, using adequate vocabulary and minimal sentence variety
  • demonstrates adequate control of the standard conventions of grammar, usage, and mechanics; errors do not interfere with meaning

3 – A 3 essay demonstrates limited competence.

A typical essay in this category exhibits one or more of the following weaknesses:

  • addresses the writing task, but may fail to sustain a focus or viewpoint
  • develops ideas unevenly, often using assertions rather than relevant reasons, examples, or details for support
  • is poorly focused and/or poorly organized
  • displays frequent problems in the use of language, using unvaried diction and syntax
  • demonstrates some control of grammar, usage, and mechanics, but with occasional shifts and inconsistencies

2 – A 2 essay is seriously flawed.

A typical essay in this category exhibits one or more of the following weaknesses:

  • addresses the writing task in a seriously limited or unclear manner
  • develops ideas thinly, providing few or no relevant reasons, examples, or details for support
  • is unfocused and/or disorganized
  • displays frequent serious language errors that may interfere with meaning
  • demonstrates a lack of control of standard grammar, usage, and mechanics

1 – A 1 essay is fundamentally deficient.

A typical essay in this category exhibits one or more of the following weaknesses:

  • does not address the writing task in a meaningful way
  • does not develop ideas with relevant reasons, examples, or details
  • displays a fundamental lack of control of language that may seriously interfere with meaning

0 – Off topic.

  • Provides no evidence of an attempt to respond to the assigned topic, is written in a language other than English, merely copies the prompt, or consists of only keystroke characters.

* For the purposes of scoring, synthesis refers to combining the sources and the writer’s position to form a cohesive, supported argument.

Author:

Site Owner, Homeschooling for College Credit

2 thoughts on “Good to Know: CLEP Essays

  1. Hi, Jennifer!

    I look forward to reading each article you send. Today’s was especially timely, as Jonathan is currently preparing to take the Comp CLEP! ☺️

    As always, I’m thankful for all you do! May the Lord bless you, Sharon

    >

    Like

Comments are closed.