Spring ’21—English 102
Final Exam Essay Prompt
Due date: This is a take home final: You will submit it during the Final Exam period before the time and date your instructor has indicated. Overview You have done some reflecting about yourself as a writer for the portfolio questionnaire and the short reflection. Now you are going to investigate the topic of what the practice and purpose of writing is, who writers are, and how writing knowledge transfers beyond just this writing course. With your own experience
and observations as a writer (not just from this semester but from your whole writing life, inside and outside of school, texting and posting on social media is writing!) and the knowledge you have gained by reading these articles, you will choose one of the following topics you think suits your ideas and what you want say about yourself or writing in this final exam essay. Topic 1: Reflect on yourself as a writer with the help of the provided sources
Take a deep dive into your writing life, focusing not only on your writing for this course but also other school writing and other types of writing that you do day to day (texting, for example). The sources you have read give you a bigger picture of what writing is, what it is for, and how the practice of it works. Make a claim about who you are as a writer or how you have grown in your writing practice (or not). Then prove that claim to a general audience by providing personal
experience, specific examples of writing events in your life, observations about how others write, and information from the provided source material.
Topic 2: Argue the main takeaway students should carry with them after taking first-year composition
Many students think of college courses as something to get through and then never have to deal with again, especially courses outside their major. Teachers, on the other hand, hope students will carry something they have learned into their lives where they can use it to help them be successful. You now have had at least one writing course at McNeese and most of you have had two. Using your experiences in these courses, other writing experiences in school and outside of school, observations about others (students, graduates, and people in the workforce), and the knowledge you have gained from the assigned sources, form an argument that answers the question: What is the most valuable
lesson a student completing first-year composition should learn about writing? Your answer can be something you learned during this course or it can be something inspired by the readings. For example, would you argue that knowing how to write a good thesis is the concept students should carry with them after class for years and years, or is it good grammar, or is it something about the process of writing, or how to write for an audience? There are many lessons to learn about writing, figure out one you think is the most important to retain beyond the course; then form an argument that helps convince a general audience of your idea. Note: This is not an essay for complaining about the writing program or courses or instructors or classmates—complaining is never a good rhetorical strategy to convince someone. See this argument as having a real purpose. Maybe your idea will make a difference and possibly influence how writing is taught and how students think
about writing at McNeese! A successful essay will:
• be original, well-organized, sufficiently developed, and include an appropriate thesis statement that
addresses the chosen topic
• show awareness of a general academic audience along with the ability to engage the audience and
• demonstrate reading comprehension of the articles provided
• integrate and contextualize a minimum of three of the provided articles, and these articles are well
chosen to develop the writer’s claims and to garner the audience’s trust through quotation selection
(and possibly some paraphrasing and summary when needed!)
• utilize appropriate detailed examples, experiences, and observations from writer’s life that help
develop the writer’s claim
• demonstrate that the writer put some serious thought into the topic’s subject matter
• consistently show correct usage of MLA style for essay design, in-text citations, and Works Cited
• be relatively error free and show some care in its preparation
• include a brief reflection after the Works Cited that discusses 1) the writer’s process and choices in forming the essay, along with 2a) what the writer thinks is working well and 2b) what needs some more work and an explanation of why they think this.
How long should the essay be? Long enough to fully develop your point. No? Let’s say it is going to be at
least 750 words or a good chunk of a third page in MLA style—not including the Works Cited. Can’t I find my own sources? No, you must use the ones provided. Can I use the first person? Yes, when appropriate. When using a personal example, it makes sense to use “I.” Do you want to have a lot of “I think” “I feel”? Probably not. Remember that this essay is your opinion and the audience knows that it is what you think and you feel. Who is our audience again? A general academic audience. How many of the sources do I have to use in my essay? Three minimum—only from the sources provided.
IMPORTANT ABOUT THE SOURCES: There is a restriction on the Naming What We Know sources. Even though each one is made up of multiple short articles, they only count as ONE source within the three source minimum for this final exam essay. For example, if you use three of the short articles from “All Writers Have More to Learn” chapter in Naming What We Know, they will all have separate in-text citations and separate entries on the Works Cited because they are all different authors, but they will count as just one source of the three source minimum—complicated, yes, but we want you to read a variety of the sources. Where are these required articles? They are all listed directly below this prompt on Moodle. Some are PDFs (see the helpful notes and most are links to websites. All sources have the proper information you need to
cite. Remember that sometimes for a website you have to do some detective work to find the actual name of the website. Why are we doing this as a final exam? Thinking about yourself as a writer, what you have learned or not learned, your writing process, and what is valuable to retain within your knowledge about writing are essential for your growth as a writer and your adaptability when you encounter different writing situations. Submission
• Even if you get these materials early and finish early, you cannot submit your essay until finals begin on Monday. Your instructor will give you specific dates.
• When the submission link is open on Moodle, you’ll save your essay, Works Cited, and your brief
reflection about the writing of the essay (brief reflection? see the last item in A Successful Essay Will
section above), ideally as a doc, docx, or PDF. Then upload it before the assigned due date.
- Spring ’21—English 102
- Final Exam Essay Prompt