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GHSWT Preparation. Persuasive Essay. In writing a persuasive essay, you build an argument, supporting your opinions with a variety of evidence: Facts Statistics Examples Anecdote : a personal story used to prove a point Statements from experts

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persuasive essay
Persuasive Essay
  • In writing a persuasive essay, you build an argument, supporting your opinions with a variety of evidence:
    • Facts
    • Statistics
    • Examples
      • Anecdote: a personal story used to prove a point
    • Statements from experts
  • You also anticipate and develop counter-arguments to opposing opinions
examine the prompt
Examine the Prompt!

Before you begin planning your essay, you must identify:

  • The issue
  • The descriptive setup (background info)
  • Writer’s purpose and writing task

(what side will you take?)

4. Form (letter, speech, essay, etc.)

5. Audience (who will you convince?)

Writing Situation

Directions for Writing

sample prompt
Sample Prompt

Writing Situation:

Recently, a student in New Mexico wanted to wear traditional Native American dress over her cap and gown for her high school graduation. The school district refused to grant her request. Should students be required to wear a cap and gown to participate in graduation ceremonies? Should they be permitted to add other items of clothing to their cap and gown? Think carefully about your position on this issue.

Writing Directions: Write a letter to the district school board members in which you clearly assert your position on the cap and gown requirement. Try to convince the board members to agree with you by using well-developed arguments.

  • You MUST choose a side of the argument and defend the same side throughout your paper
  • Pre-write before you begin your essay. Write a rough draft and a finished draft. Planning is key to a well-written essay
  • You MAY make up facts or anecdotes to support your argument (as long as they’re believable!)
  • T-Chart
  • Idea Web
  • Notes
  • Reason for
    • Why…
  • Reason for
    • Why…
  • Reason against
    • Why…
what not to do
What NOT To Do
  • Stray from the topic
  • Repeat the same words, ideas, and sentences
  • Write too little—must be at least 1 ½ pages
  • List ideas without development and/or organization
should you play it safe
Should You Play It Safe?


  • The graders are trained to evaluate how much the student has demonstrated—not to count errors
  • More difficult words and lengthy sentences are scored higher than simple ones









effective ways to open a paper
Effective Ways to Open a Paper
  • A surprising fact or quotation

Example: Fifty percent of children in America are obese.

  • A question about the issue (followed by an answer to the question). The question should not contain “you.”

Example: Is it ever acceptable for a doctor to end a patient’s life?

  • A personal story or anecdote related to the topic
  • A vivid description of something

Example: A description of a fatal car crash caused by texting and driving.


High school graduation is, perhaps, the most important day in the life of a young person – a day he has worked diligently toward and a day on which his individuality should be celebrated. And nothing stifles that individuality like requiring students to wear solemn black robes and hats. Yet even now, not all students look the same in this rather boring attire. Some students are allowed to assert their personalities by wearing honor cords for certain societies and clubs while others wear shawls denoting that they are graduating with honors. If these students are granted this privilege of individuality, why should it not be afforded to every student? All students are special in their own way and should not be penalized because their individuality is not recognized by a school-sponsored organization. For example, the student in New Mexico was proud of her Native American heritage and wished to show that pride on the most important day of her young life; however, she was denied this right because her individuality was seemingly too unique and not school-sponsored. A student should have the right to express her individuality at her high school graduation.

conclusion paragraph
Conclusion Paragraph
  • Reverse the funnel!
effective ways to end a paper
Effective Ways to End a Paper
  • Statement of opinion

Example: Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States and must be remedied soon.

  • Resolution of controversy
  • Call to action

Example: It is every parent’s responsibility to encourage his or her child to leave the couch and video games behind to play outside and participate in sports.

  • A question (avoid using “you”). You do not need to answer the question in your conclusion
  • Use of famous quotation and explanation of how it applies to your topic
  • Use an adverb

Example: Clearly, childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States and must be remedied soon.

  • ALWAYS restate your thesis!
things to remember
Things to Remember
  • Have a clear thesis (usually the last sentence of your introductory paragraph).
  • Know your audience and your format
  • It’s a persuasive essay—choose a side and stick with it!
  • Relate the topic to yourself somehow
  • Re-state the prompt in your introduction
  • Be sure to have an introduction and a conclusion
  • Stay on topic! Don’t digress (tell pointless stories).
  • Proofread!
  • Make your essay legible (if it can’t be read, it can’t be scored)
  • If you need to correct something, make one line through it
  • Don’t skip lines between paragraphs
  • Don’t use slang
  • Use big words (correctly)