How to Prepare for Test Essay Questions

SpeedyPrep has many CLEP™ review resources and courses that can help you prepare for the big tests. We have master teachers and college professors that have collaborated to create materials to help you feel confident and ready to answer the multiple-choice section of the CLEP™  exam. However, we do not offer resources and guidance for answering the essay portion of certain CLEP™ exams.

Because our CLEP™ exam review materials don’t cover the essay portion, we’ve compiled some tips that can still help when you come across this portion of the test. Take a look at some of our advice on preparing for essay prompts, and sign up for our CLEP exam review courses today!

Tip #1: Know What to Expect on the Test

Preparing for writing essays is great, but only if that test has an essay portion. Save yourself time (and use that time for preparing for other essential studying) and effort by understanding what the CLEP exam is going to be like.

CLEP™ Exams With Essay Questions

  • College Composition
  • College Composition Modular

CLEP™ Exams With Optional Essay Questions

  • Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
  • English Literature
  • American Literature

Even if your CLEP exam does not feature a required essay portion, there will be plenty of other moments in life where you’ll be writing essays. Other college courses, and even some job applications, require you to write essays, which is why learning how to prepare and respond to writing prompts is still good knowledge to have.

Tip #2: Know Your Writing Strengths and Weaknesses

We all have areas for improvement when it comes to writing, just as we all have strengths. You might be an incredible fictional writer, but struggle when it comes to responding to a prompt. Your ideas are fantastic, but your writing conventions fall a bit short. No matter what you love (or hate) about writing, there’s always room to grow.

Take a moment and reflect on what you know about your writing — what have past teachers said? What’s something you know you do really well? If you’re not sure, talk with someone you know who is a strong writer, and ask them to take a look at a writing sample. Teachers, college writing centers, and even library/community programs can all serve as a place for you to gauge where your writing currently stands. Make sure to tell them you’re preparing for a test essay, and bring a sample that reflects this type of writing!

Tip #3: Practice Reading Essay Questions

This might sound silly, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to truly be successful when writing an essay. Think of it like this: if you went to play in a soccer game but started playing basketball on the field, it wouldn’t matter how much you prepared beforehand — you’d look pretty off, and you wouldn’t do well.

Similarly, you could be the best writer in the room, but if you don’t answer the essay question or address what it’s looking for, your score is going to suffer. Practice highlighting or circling keywords, especially verbs such as “compare,” “analyze,” and “summarize,” to name a few. Understand what those words mean, and know to look for them well before you take the CLEP exam.

In our next blog, we’ll go over a few more tips that can help ensure your CLEP exam review is headed in the right direction. SpeedyPrep offers incredible courses and resources to ensure you’re prepared to take the CLEP exam, which could lead to you getting college credit at a faster and more affordable manner. See some of CLEP exam review courses, and sign up with SpeedyPrep today!

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