Interviewer: _________________ Interviewee: _________________
The writing prompts for the English 10 final tend to fall into certain thematic categories. Therefore, students can prepare by compiling a list of story ideas addressing the typical themes. With luck, you will be able to draw upon a previously planned narrative to assist you during the exam. Try brainstorming and developing a narrative related to each of the categories outlined below.
Past Exam Prompts Brainstorm/List – connect to self and/or literature (short stories, poetry, movies and Romeo and Juliet)
Tell me about a time when you overcame challenges/dealt with adverse circumstances/learned an important lesson.
· Self-awareness leads to meaningful change.
· Challenging circumstances lead to positive actions.
· Each stage of life brings new choices.
· Adapting to new situations in life is essential.
· Certain events change our impression of life.
Tell me about a time you demonstrated responsibility/independence/maturity.
· With independence comes increased responsibility.
· Our views of the past change as we mature.
· Certain experiences can mark the beginning of maturity.
· Keeping an open mind allows for growth.
· Our journey into the future begins in the past.
· Taking charge of your own life is worthwhile.
Tell me about your family/relationships/connections with others in the community.
· Role models influence our lives.
· Experiences shape relationships.
· We learn the most from the people closest to us.
· Forming meaningful connections may enrich lives
Tell me about your values/character.
· The important things in life endure over time.
· A good life does not have to be complex.
· The best gifts are the simplest ones.
· It is important to have a realistic view of life.
· Being sincere is important.
Tell me about an “interesting” experience/unexpected events/surprises/change.
· Differing points of view make life interesting.
· Surprise can make life interesting.
· The pursuit of freedom involves change.
It’s a good idea to start with some kind of a “hook”, and to give consideration to expressive elements of language.
It’s also a good idea to be positive. Even though there’s nothing on the rubric about it, it’s good for the marker to be thinking “She sounds like a nice kid.” Show some human fault or foible in yourself, and explain how you hope you’ve grown from the experience. Everyone likes genuine humility and honesty in others. Above all, avoid second-person prescriptions “You should. . .”
The topics most often ask students to discuss a person or an experience that caused them to change, or from which they learned something important. Another topic thread has to do with quality of life—generally the idea that simplicity is good. The challenge, I think, is for students to avoid clichés while also avoiding being too cute or clever.
There’s no short-cut around the fact that upper level papers are well-written and engagi...