NECAP Preparation



NECAP Reading & Writing Prep 2010.pdf

NECAP Writing Tips 2011.pdf


Preparing for the NECAP Writing Assessment
11.9a


Literary Analysis

What is a literary analysis? A “literary analysis” essay is the kind you probably already have hadthe most practice with in English classes.  It is a response to a pieceof literature in which you explore and explain significant aspects ofthe text: its themes, its style, its use of literary devices, etc.  Aliterary analysis essay does more than simply retell a story or poem; itcomments on the story in a way that gets beneath the surface.

Donot limit yourself to saying the least amount possible!  A goodliterary analysis essay is one which shows your willingness to think about the text you have read.

Follow formal writing rules:  Use complete sentences.  Avoid slang.  Do not use “I” or “me” unnecessarily.

Sample Prompt:

Using the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” as evidence, support the statement “Things are not always what they seem.”


Suggested Format for Your Response:

Introduction:  
  • Hook: Use an attention-getting opener that relates to your thesis.
  • Thesis: State a clear position on what you think is the reading’s main point or idea.
  • Organizational statement: Briefly introduce at least three good reasons for your position.
Body Paragraphs:  
  • Link: Begin each paragraph with a sentence leading the reader from one point to the next.
  • Topic Sentence: State the main point of the paragraph.  (Note: You can combine the link with the topic sentence.)
  • Support:  Cite passages from the text, explaining how each one supports your thesis.  Be sure to selectively weave in short quotations rather than quoting long blocks of text.
  • Details: Cite quotations correctly: e.g.,
      The speaker tells us he had “miles to go before I sleep” (l. 15).
  • Analysis: Your body paragraphs should not read like a book report.  Rather than merely summarize the text, focus on proving your thesis, showing how the text supports it.  Link back to your thesis’s keyword(s).
Conclusion:  
  • Restate your thesis (try not to repeat it word-for-word).
  • Sum up main points.
  • Wrap up: Re-connect to your opening, or connect your topic to the real world.



Narrative Procedure

What is a narrative procedure?A “narrative procedure” is a piece of writing that instructs readers inhow to approach or complete a task.  Although a narrative procedureshould contain an introduction, body, and conclusion, these units oftentake a different shape from that of a typical essay.

Someexamples of narrative procedures include: directions on how to wash acar, cook lasagna, or build a tree fort; lab reports; city tour guides.

Donot limit yourself to saying the least amount possible!  A goodnarrative procedure is one which shows your ability to thoroughly thinkthrough an activity AND to keep your reader interested.

Follow formal writing rules: Use complete sentences.  Avoid slang.  For some prompts, it may beappropriate to address the reader directly, using “you” (the sampleprompt below, for instance), but it is best not to over-use “you.”

Sample Prompt

Youhave been assigned to help a new student have lunch in your schoolcafeteria for the first time. Write a procedure explaining how to“successfully survive” the experience. You may include text features(headings, bullets/numbers, diagrams, etc.) to help the reader.

Suggested Format for Your Response:

Introduction: Briefly introduce the procedure (2-5 sentences)

Body:
  • Creates a clear sequence of steps (1, 2, 3, etc.).
  • Use “bullets” to list specific directions underneath each step.
  • Use parallel language (similar or repetitive structure) in your list of steps or bullet points.
  • Emphasize the practical advantages of your plan.
  • Include a diagram, sketch, or other visual aid, if appropriate.
Conclusion:
  • Briefly summarize the entire procedure (in 1-3 sentences).
  • Express an attitude or personal point of view toward the topic.
Other ideas to consider
  • Provide a tip box for quick reference
  • Add visual guides (bullets, underlining, etc.)

Persuasive Writing

What is persuasive writing?  ~In persuasive writing, a writer takes a position for or againstan issue and writes to convince the reader to believe or do something. It could take the form of a speech, a letter to the newspaper or schooladministrators, or even a sales pitch.

Donot limit yourself to saying the least amount possible!  An effectivepiece of persuasive writing is one that uses facts, logic, emotions, andforceful language to change the reader’s or listener’s mind. Alwayskeep your audience in mind.


Follow formal writing rules:  Use complete sentences.  Avoid slang.  Do not use “I” or “me” unnecessarily.

Sample Prompt:

Locker Searches/Personal Searches
Theprincipal at your school has instituted random locker and backpacksearches to check for guns, knives, and other weapons. Anyone caughtwith these weapons will be immediately suspended. The principal arguesthat the random searches will not only guard against illegal weapons atschool but will also help students feel safer. What is your position onthis issue? Write a response stating your position and supporting itwith convincing reasons.

Suggested Format for Your Response:

Introduction:
  • Hook: Use an attention-getting opener that relates to your main purpose.
  • Thesis: State a clear and arguable position, taking one side of a debatable issue.
  • Organizational statement: Briefly introduce at least three good reasons for your position.
Body Paragraphs:
  • Link: Begin each paragraph with a sentence leading the reader from one point to the next.
  • Topic Sentence: State the main point of the paragraph.  (Note: You can combine the link with the topic sentence.)
  • Support: Cite supporting reasons to back up that point and prove your thesis.  (Cite at least one reason, but two or more are more convincing.)
  • Details: Offer convincing specific support for your reasons (facts, statistics, expert testimony, hypothetical examples, etc.)
  • Tone: Create a trustworthy tone.  Try to sound both reasonable and concerned.
  • Rebuttal: Include at least one paragraph that addresses (and, if possible, disproves) opposing viewpoints.
Conclusion:
  • Review: Restate your thesis in different words.
  • Recap: Sum up your reasons.
  • Call to action: Tell your readers what should happen next.
  • Wrap-up: Give your readers a point to ponder.

Reflective Essay

What is a reflective essay? A “reflective essay” or “personal essay” is an esay in which, inresponse to some general topic, you write about it from your ownpersepctive and experience.

Donot limit yourself to saying the least amount possible!  A goodreflective essay does not simply state your own beliefs or prejudices;it explores the subject from your own point of view, in a style that is both clear and uniquely yours.

Follow formal writing rules: Since a reflective essay is by its nature a personal response, the useof “I” and “me” is acceptable — in fact, it is expected.  Other thanthat, you should still follow the expectations for formal writing: usecomplete sentences, follow grammar rules, avoid slang.  

Sample Prompts:

Ithas often been said that appearances can be deceiving.  In other words,things are not always what they seem.  Describe and discuss anexperience you have had, a work of literature you have read, or a topicfrom current events which demonstrates this idea, addressing the topicfrom your own point of view.

Reflective Essay Format:

Introduction:
  • Hook: Get your reader’s attention with a thought-provoking statement related to the topic.
  • Thesis Statement: Briefly summarize your position on the topic.
  • Organizational statement: Briefly introduce the key points you will make about the main topic.
Body Paragraphs
  • Link: Begin each paragraph with a transition sentence leading the reader from one point to the next.
  • Topic Sentence: State the main point of the paragraph.  (Note: Your link and your topic sentence may be a single sentence.)
  • Details: Expand on your topic sentence. In each paragraph, provide multiple details (incidents, descriptions, hypothetical examples, etc.) to clarify your position on that topic.
  • Express an Attitude:  The purpose of a reflective essay is to demonstrate your own unique point of view on the subject.  Use language that expresses that view in a thoughtful manner.
Conclusion
  • Restate the main idea using different words.
  • Sum up main points.
  • Connect to your opening.

Response to Informational Text

What is informational writing?   A“response to informational text” is an essay that responds to aspecific piece of non-fiction writing or a set of facts.   In general,an essay in response to informational text does not aim to argue a point of view on a controversial issue, but just to demonstrate your understanding of the text.

Donot limit yourself to saying the least amount possible!  An effectiveresponse to informational text shows your thorough understanding of thetext — not just what it says, but also what it suggests or what further conclusions you can draw from it.

Follow formal writing rules: Use complete sentences.  Avoid slang.  Do not use “I,”  “me,” or “you” unless asked to include your own experience or give directions.

Sample Prompts:

1. Explain the goals of the Excalibur projectas described in this article, and the methods scientists are using toreach these goals. Use examples from the article to support your answer.
2.Using the facts listed above, explain why students at Alpha Schoolscore higher on the reading test than students at Beta School, and offer suggestions as to how Beta School students can improve.

Suggested Format for Your Response:

Introduction:
  • Hook: Use an attention-getting opener that relates to your topic.
  • Topic Statement: Identify the text you are responding to (by title and author, if they are provided), and briefly summarize the text’s main idea.
  • Organizational statement: Briefly introduce at least three key points you will make about the main topic.
Body Paragraphs
  • Link: Begin each paragraph with a sentence leading the reader from one point to the next.
  • Topic Sentence: State the main point of the paragraph.  (Note: You can combine the link with the topic sentence.)
  • Details: Cite facts from the text or list (use quotations!), explaining how each one relates to the topic of the paragraph or the main idea of the essay. Be sure to weave quotations in to the points you are making.
  • Inferences: Tell us what conclusions you can draw from those facts and details.
Conclusion
  • Restate the main idea using different words.
  • Sum up main points.
  • Re-connect to your opening, or connect your topic to the world at large.