E T S Praxis Series

Pre-Professional Skills Test: Writing (0720)

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Essay Topics

When you take the essay portion of the test, one of the following topics, or a topic similar to the ones listed below, will be presented. You will be asked to discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated and to support your position with specific reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

  1. "Celebrities have a tremendous influence on the young, and for that reason, they have a responsibility to act as role models."
  2. "Our society is overly materialistic. We center our lives on acquiring material things at the expense of such traditional values as family and education."
  3. "Censorship of song lyrics, television shows, and offensive speech is necessary in order to protect the rights of all members of society."
  4. "Young people who attend college immediately after high school often lack a clear sense of direction and seriousness about learning. Before hurrying into college, it's better to get a taste of the real world by working or serving in the military for a few years."
  5. "Although routines may seem to put us in a rut and stifle creativity, in fact routines make us more efficient and allow creativity to blossom."
  6. "An effective leader of any organization—from the military to businesses to social organizations—is someone who is decisive, acts quickly, and remains committed to certain key principles."
  7. "Advances in computer technology have made the classroom unnecessary, since students and teachers are able to communicate with each other from computer terminals at home or at work."
  8. "Schools should be open for classes all year long."
  9. "Schools should focus more on preparing students for specific careers and vocations, and less on teaching subjects such as literature, art, and history."
  10. "Although the marvels of technology surround us every day, there are moments when we all would give anything to be freed from that technology."
  11. "Colleges should require all students, regardless of their individual majors, to take a common set of required courses."
  12. "Schools should require all students to participate in field trips since these outings are an essential part of the curriculum for all grade levels."
  13. "In order to prepare students to live in a culturally diverse society, schools should formally require all students to study other cultures and societies in depth."
  14. "One clear sign that our society has improved over the past 100 years is the development of disposable products whose convenience has made our lives easier."
  15. "The best way to understand the true nature of a society is to study its dominant trends in art, music, and fashion."
  16. "Because the traditional grading scale of A through F fosters needless competition and pressure, colleges and universities should use a simple pass/fail system."
  17. "To address the problem of chronic truancy, schools should fine the parents of students who are frequently absent from school."
  18. "Studying a foreign language should be a college requirement for anyone planning to be a teacher."
  19. "We are constantly bombarded by advertisements—on television and radio, in newspapers and magazines, on highway signs and the sides of buses. They have become too pervasive. It's time to put limits on advertising."
  20. "In order to understand other societies, all college students should be required to spend at least one of their undergraduate years studying or working in a foreign country."
  21. "Every member of society should be required before the age of 21 to perform at least one year of community or government service, such as in the Peace Corps, the military, a hospital, the Environmental Conservancy Corps, a rural or inner-city school, or some equivalent organization."
  22. "Citizens of the United States should be allowed to designate how a portion of their tax dollars should be spent."
  23. "The only important criterion by which to judge a prospective teacher is his or her ability to get along with the widest possible variety of students."
  24. "Rather than relying on taxes, communities should be directly responsible for raising any required funds to pay for all extracurricular public school activities, including after-school sports."
  25. "School activities not directly related to course work, such as assemblies and pep rallies, should not be part of the regular school day."
  26. "School children should be required to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities so that they can become well-rounded individuals."
  27. "All schools should have student dress codes."
  28. "It is well within the capability of society to guarantee that all public schools are entirely drug-free."
  29. "Opinion polls should not play an important role in the political decision-making process because they indicate only what is popular, not what is the right or wrong position for our leaders to take."
  30. "Childhood is a time for studying and playing, not working. Parents should not force their children to do chores."
  31. "We are all influenced in lasting ways—whether positive or negative—by the particular kind of community in which we grow up."
  32. "Television has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on society."
  33. "Grading systems should be replaced with some other method of measuring students' performance because giving grades to students puts too much emphasis on competition and not enough emphasis on learning for its own sake."
  34. "Political candidates should not be allowed to use popular actors in their advertising campaigns. Candidates too often win elections because they have actors for friends rather than because they are honestly qualified to represent the public interest."
  35. "Television programming should be limited and strictly monitored for offensive content by a governmental supervising agency."
  36. "Although we say we value freedom of expression, most of us are not really very tolerant of people who express unpopular ideas or act in nonconforming ways."
  37. "Job satisfaction is more important in a career than a high salary and fringe benefits."
  38. "College students should not have to decide on a major until after they have taken several classes and examined the various career fields the school has to offer."
  39. "Schools should make a greater effort to teach ethics and moral values to students."
  40. "Colleges and universities should ban alcoholic beverages on campus, even for students who are of legal drinking age."
  41. "Teachers and parents should be more concerned than they are about the gradual trend among high school students toward part-time employment and away from participation in school-sponsored extracurricular activities."
  42. "It is the responsibility of the government rather than the individual citizen to find a solution to the growing problem of homelessness in the United States."
  43. "Federal regulations should entirely ban all advertising of alcoholic beverages in all media, including television, radio, and magazines."
  44. "Schools should put as much emphasis on such subjects as music, physical education, and visual arts as they do on traditional academic courses such as English or math."
  45. "Materialism and consumerism have gone too far in American society. We often buy things that we do not need, and we even buy things that we do not especially enjoy."
  46. "The failure of public schools is not ruining society. The failure of society has ruined the public schools."
  47. "Honesty is universally valued, at least in principle. In practice, however, there are many cases in which governments, businesses, and individuals should not be completely honest."
  48. "All employers should institute mandatory drug testing for employees."
  49. "All high school students should be required to take some classes in vocational education."
  50. "School administrators should regulate student speech in school-sponsored publications."
  51. "Computer training should be mandatory for anyone planning to become a teacher, no matter what subject the person will teach."
  52. "The world offers us abundant places to learn. We should not expect all of our most important lessons to be learned in the buildings we call schools."
  53. "Many public buildings and transportation systems in the United States prohibit or restrict smoking. These restrictions are unfair because they deny smokers their individual rights."
  54. "Public schools should be required to offer socially oriented courses, such as sex education and personal finance, because such courses help students cope with problems in society."
  55. "Our lives today are too complicated. We try to do too much and, as a result, do few things well."
  56. "The United States government has become so corrupt that people who vote in national elections are wasting their time."
  57. "The increasing involvement of businesses in the schools, ranging from the establishment of apprenticeships and grants to the donation of equipment and facilities, is a cause for concern because this involvement gives the businesses too much influence over school policy and curriculum."
  58. "One of the biggest troubles with colleges is that there are too many distractions."
  59. "The best way to improve the quality of public schools in the United States is to institute a national curriculum with national standards so that students, parents, and teachers all across the country know exactly what is expected at each grade level."
  60. "Instead of making our lives simpler, computers cause more problems than they solve."
  61. "Children learn responsibility and the value of work by being required to do household chores such as making beds, washing dishes, and taking care of pets."
  62. "We should ban any speech—whether on the radio, in the movies, on television, or in public places such as college campuses—that encourages violent behavior."
  63. "In today's society, the only real function of a college education is to prepare students for a career."
  64. "Students suffer from participating in highly competitive extracurricular activities such as debate and sports."
  65. "We live in a passive society in which few people take a stand or become involved in social issues."
  66. "Students should be required to meet certain academic standards, such as passing all courses or maintaining a 'C' average, in order to participate in extracurricular activities."
  67. "Increasing reliance on the use of new technologies in the classroom has distracted from, rather than contributed to, the learning process."
  68. "We find comfort among those who agree with us—growth among those who don't."
  69. "Film and television studios in the United States nearly always want to dish up a sunny view of life because American audiences would rather not be reminded of problems in society."
  70. "Competition is a destructive force in society."
  71. "High schools and colleges should require students to perform some kind of community service."