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Wesley Reed
Wesley Reed

English Composition CLEP Essay Writing Guide: Step-by-Step Instructions and Examples



English Composition CLEP Essay Examples




If you want to earn college credit for your writing skills without taking a college course, you might want to consider taking a CLEP exam. CLEP stands for College-Level Examination Program, and it is a series of standardized tests that measure your knowledge of various subjects. By passing a CLEP exam, you can demonstrate that you have learned the equivalent of a college course and earn credit for it.




English Composition Clep Essay Examples



One of the most popular CLEP exams is English Composition. This exam tests your ability to write effectively in different situations and contexts. You will need to show that you can analyze texts, construct arguments, synthesize information, use proper grammar and punctuation, and cite sources correctly.


There are two versions of the English Composition CLEP exam: College Composition and College Composition Modular. Both versions have a multiple-choice section that covers similar topics, but they differ in their essay requirements. In this article, we will explain what each version entails, how they are scored, and provide some examples of essays that would receive high scores on each exam.


College Composition




Multiple-choice questions




The College Composition exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions that you have to answer in 55 minutes. The questions test your knowledge of the following topics:


  • Conventions of Standard Written English: You will need to identify and correct errors in syntax, sentence boundaries, agreement, diction, modifiers, idiom, voice, logical comparison, logical agreement, punctuation, etc.



use of language, evaluation of author's authority and appeal, evaluation of reasoning, consistency of point of view, transitions, etc.


  • Ability to Use Source Materials: You will need to demonstrate your familiarity with elements of research and citation, such as identifying the main idea and supporting details of a source, summarizing or paraphrasing a source, quoting a source accurately and appropriately, avoiding plagiarism, using different citation styles (MLA, APA, Chicago), etc.



The multiple-choice questions are based on passages of various lengths and genres. Some questions are stand-alone, while others are in sets that refer to the same passage. You will need to read the passages carefully and apply your critical thinking and writing skills to answer the questions.


Essays




The College Composition exam also requires you to write two essays in 70 minutes. The essays are scored by college English faculty from across the country via an online scoring system. Each essay is scored by at least two different readers, and the scores are then combined. This combined score is weighted equally with the score from the multiple-choice section.


The first essay is based on the test taker's own experience, observation, or reading. You will be given a choice of two topics and asked to write an essay of about 300-600 words on one of them. The topics are general and do not require any specialized knowledge. You will be evaluated on your ability to express a point of view on an issue and support it with relevant examples and details.


The second essay is based on the analysis and synthesis of two sources provided in the exam. You will be given two short passages that present different perspectives on a topic and asked to write an essay of about 300-600 words in which you develop a position on the issue by using information from both sources. You will be evaluated on your ability to analyze the sources, synthesize information from them, construct an argument, use proper grammar and punctuation, and cite the sources correctly.


Scoring and score availability




The College Composition exam has a total testing time of 125 minutes and a scaled score range of 20-80. Most colleges require a minimum score of 50 to grant credit for the exam, but some may have higher or lower standards. You should check with your college before taking the exam to find out their credit-granting policy.


Note that unlike other CLEP exams, you will not receive your score immediately upon completion of the College Composition exam. This is because your essays need to be scored by human readers. Your score will be available to you one to two weeks after the test date. You can view your score online by logging into your CLEP account.


Essay examples




To give you an idea of what kind of essays would receive high scores on the College Composition exam, we have provided two examples below, one for each essay type. Note that these are not actual essays from past exams, but rather samples written by our content writer based on the CLEP guidelines.


Example 1: Essay based on personal experience




Topic: Some people believe that success in life comes from taking risks or chances. Others believe that success results from careful planning. In your opinion, what does success come from? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.



I believe that success in life comes from a combination of taking risks and careful planning. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and neither one can guarantee success by itself. However, by balancing risk-taking with planning, one can increase the chances of achieving one's goals and dreams.


Taking risks or chances can be beneficial for success in several ways. First, it can help one discover new opportunities and possibilities that might otherwise remain hidden or inaccessible. For example, if I had not taken the risk of applying for a scholarship to study abroad, I would not have had the chance to learn from different cultures and perspectives that enriched my education and personal growth. Second, taking risks can help one overcome fear and uncertainty that might hold one back from pursuing one's passions and interests. For example, if I had not taken the chance of auditioning for a play in high school, I would not have discovered my love for acting and theater that later became my career path. Third, taking risks can help one develop resilience and adaptability that are essential for success in a changing and competitive world. For example, if I had not taken the risk of quitting my stable but unfulfilling job and starting my own business, I would not have learned how to cope with challenges and failures and how to innovate and improve my products and services.


However, taking risks or chances can also have drawbacks for success in some situations. First, it can lead to wasted time, money, and resources if the risks are not calculated or evaluated properly. For example, if I had taken the risk of investing all my savings in a dubious scheme without doing any research or analysis, I would have lost everything and jeopardized my financial security. Second, taking risks can result in negative consequences or outcomes that might be difficult or impossible to reverse or remedy. For example, if I had taken the chance of driving under the influence of alcohol, I would have endangered not only my own life but also the lives of others and faced legal and moral repercussions. Third, taking risks can cause stress and anxiety that might affect one's health and well-being. For example, if I had taken the risk of working on multiple projects at the same time without setting any priorities or boundaries, I would have burned out and compromised my mental and physical health.


Therefore, I think that careful planning is also necessary for success in life, as it can complement and enhance risk-taking in several ways. First, planning can help one identify and assess the risks and benefits of different options and scenarios and make informed and rational decisions. For example, before I decided to start my own business, I made a detailed business plan that outlined my goals, strategies, budget, market analysis, potential risks, and contingency plans. This helped me prepare for various situations and challenges that I might encounter along the way. Second, planning can help one set realistic and achievable goals and milestones and track one's progress and performance. For example, when I was working on my thesis, I made a timeline that divided my work into manageable tasks and deadlines. This helped me stay focused and motivated and avoid procrastination and delays. Third, planning can help one organize and allocate one's resources and efforts effectively and efficiently. For example, when I was planning a family vacation, I made a list of all the things we needed to do, such as booking flights and hotels, packing luggage, arranging transportation, etc. This helped me save money and time and avoid stress and hassle.


However, careful planning can also have limitations or disadvantages for success in some cases. First, planning can make one too rigid or inflexible to cope with unexpected changes or opportunities that might arise. For example, if I had stuck to my original plan of becoming a lawyer and ignored my passion for theater, I would have missed out on a fulfilling and rewarding career that I truly enjoy. Second, planning can make one too cautious or conservative to take any risks or chances that might be necessary or beneficial for success. For example, if I had followed my parents' plan of marrying someone from their culture and background, I would not have met and fallen in love with my husband who is from a different country and religion. Third, planning can make one too complacent or satisfied with the status quo and prevent one from seeking improvement or innovation. For example, if I had followed my teacher's plan of writing a conventional essay on a common topic, I would not have challenged myself to write a creative essay on a controversial topic that earned me an award.


In conclusion, I believe that success in life comes from a combination of taking risks and careful planning. Both approaches have their pros and cons, and neither one can guarantee success by itself. However, by balancing risk-taking with planning, one can increase the chances of achieving one's goals and dreams.


Example 2: Essay based on analysis and synthesis of sources




Topic: Read the following two passages carefully. Write an essay in which you develop a position on whether or not college athletes should be paid. Use information from both passages in your essay.



Passage 1:


counseling, nutrition; access to athletic facilities and equipment; access to coaching and training staff; access to media exposure and publicity; and access to networking and career opportunities. These benefits are worth thousands of dollars and provide college athletes with a quality education and a bright future.


Moreover, college athletes should not be paid for playing sports because they are students first and foremost, not employees or professionals. They are enrolled in college to pursue a degree and acquire knowledge and skills that will prepare them for their careers and lives. They are not hired by their schools to perform a service or generate revenue. They voluntarily participate in sports as part of their extracurricular activities and personal development. They are not obligated to play sports, nor are they entitled to compensation for doing so. Paying college athletes would undermine the academic mission and integrity of college sports and create a host of legal, ethical, and practical problems.


Passage 2:


College athletes should be paid for playing sports because they generate millions of dollars for their schools, conferences, and the NCAA. These revenues come from various sources such as ticket sales, merchandise sales, television contracts, sponsorships, donations, and endorsements. College athletes are the ones who attract fans and viewers, who wear the jerseys and logos, who perform on the field and court, and who risk their health and safety for the sake of the game. They deserve a fair share of the profits that they help create.


Furthermore, college athletes should be paid for playing sports because they face many challenges and hardships that affect their academic and personal lives. They have to balance their studies with their demanding practice and competition schedules, which often require them to miss classes, travel long distances, and cope with fatigue and stress. They have to follow strict rules and regulations that limit their freedom and choices, such as what they can eat, wear, say, or do. They have to deal with the pressure and expectations of their coaches, teammates, fans, and media. They have to sacrifice their time and energy that could be spent on other activities and interests. They have to endure injuries and illnesses that could have long-term consequences for their physical and mental health. Paying college athletes would acknowledge their hard work and dedication and provide them with some financial security and stability.



My position: College athletes should be paid for playing sports.


College sports is a multi-billion dollar industry that generates huge revenues for schools, conferences, and the NCAA. However, the people who are responsible for this success - the college athletes - do not receive any compensation for their efforts. This is unfair and exploitative. College athletes should be paid for playing sports because they deserve a fair share of the profits that they help create and because they face many challenges and hardships that affect their academic and personal lives.


One reason why college athletes should be paid for playing sports is that they generate millions of dollars for their schools, conferences, and the NCAA. These revenues come from various sources such as ticket sales, merchandise sales, television contracts, sponsorships, donations, and endorsements. College athletes are the ones who attract fans and viewers, who wear the jerseys and logos, who perform on the field and court, and who risk their health and safety for the sake of the game. As Passage 2 states, "They deserve a fair share of the profits that they help create." It is unjust that college athletes do not receive any compensation for their contributions while their coaches, administrators, and others benefit from their labor.


but rather samples written by our content writer based on the CLEP guidelines.


Example 1: Essay based on analysis of an argument




Reading passage: The following is a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.


"Many people complain that the news media focus too much on negative stories and not enough on positive ones. They claim that this creates a pessimistic and cynical attitude among the public and erodes their faith and trust in society. However, I disagree with this view and believe that the news media are doing their job properly by reporting the facts as they are. The news media have a responsibility to inform the public about the most important and relevant issues and events that affect their lives, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Moreover, the news media provide a valuable service by exposing the problems and injustices that exist in our society and by holding the powerful and influential accountable for their actions. By doing so, they stimulate public debate and awareness and encourage positive change and reform. Therefore, instead of complaining about the news media, we should appreciate their role and contribution to our democracy and freedom."


Write an essay in which you analyze the argument in the reading passage. Consider how well the argument is supported by evidence, logic, assumptions, implications, etc.



The argument in the reading passage is that the news media are doing their job properly by reporting the facts as they are, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, and that they provide a valuable service by exposing the problems and injustices in our society and by stimulating public debate and awareness. The argument is based on two main claims: that the news media have a responsibility to inform the public about the most important and relevant issues and events that affect their lives, and that the news media encourage positive change and reform by holding the powerful and influential accountable for their actions.


However, the argument is not very convincing or persuasive for several reasons. First, the argument does not acknowledge or address any counterarguments or alternative perspectives that might challenge or weaken its claims. For example, the argument does not consider that the news media might have biases or agendas that influence their selection and presentation of stories, or that they might omit or distort some facts or evidence that do not fit their narrative or perspective. The argument also does not consider that the news media might have negative effects on the public's mental health, well-being, or behavior by creating fear, anxiety, anger, or apathy among them. The argument assumes that the public is passive and rational in consuming and processing the news media's information, but does not account for how they might react emotionally or emotionally to it.


Second, the argument does not provide sufficient or credible evidence or examples to support its claims. For example, the argument does not cite any sources or statistics that show how the news media inform the public about the most important and relevant issues and events that affect their lives, or how they expose the problems and injustices that exist in our society. The argument also does not provide any specific cases or instances that illustrate how the news media hold the powerful and influential accountable for their actions, or how they stimulate public debate and awareness and encourage positive change and reform. The argument relies mostly on generalizations and assertions that are not backed up by facts or data.


the news media's responsibility to inform the public with their responsibility to respect the privacy and dignity of the people involved in the stories, or how to avoid sensationalism and sensationalism. The argument also does not address how the news media can ensure their credibility and trustworthiness in the face of misinformation and disinformation that might undermine their role and contribution to our democracy and freedom.


In conclusion, the argument in the reading passage is not very convincing or persuasive because it does not acknowledge or address any counterarguments or alternative perspectives, does not provide sufficient or credible evidence or examples, and does not address or anticipate any potential objections or questions. The argument could be improved by considering these aspects and by providing more facts, data, sources, statistics, cases, instances, definitions, explanations, etc. to support its claims.


Example 2: Essay based on a topic of general interest




Topic: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People today spend too much time on personal enjoyment - doing things they like to do - rather than doing things they should do. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.



I disagree with the statement that people today spend too much time on personal enjoyment - doing things they like to do - rather than doing things they should do. I think that people today have a right and a need to pursue personal enjoyment, as long as they do not neglect their responsibilities and obligations. Personal enjoyment can have many benefits for people's health, happiness, and productivi


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