Below is a sample response to our HiSET Essay Practice Question. You should review this response after you have written your own practice essay. This HiSET essay example will give you a good idea of what a successful essay looks like. After the sample response, there is a commentary explaining why this would receive a passing score.
This sample response would receive a score of 5, which is a successful, though not perfect, score. We will first discuss what made this an effective response, and then we will point out how this sample response could be improved.
This essay earned a 5 out of 6 because of its:
- effective introduction and conclusion: While the introduction and conclusion in this sample are not incredibly long, they serve their purpose. In the introduction, the writer effectively presents the proposed topic and clearly takes a stance. In the conclusion, the writer re-states the purpose and concludes the argument in a way that makes the reader think (“for the sake of finding a job that they are great at, but that also makes them happy”).
- logical sequencing of ideas: The sample essay has a very simple structure, but it is clear that the writer planned ahead. Here is a breakdown of each paragraph so you can see how the writer’s ideas build on each other:
- Introduction: Clear thesis that argues that changing jobs is a positive.
- Idea 1: Building more diverse skills and experiences.
- Idea 2: Loyalty doesn’t pay off.
- Counter-Argument: The benefits of moving outweigh the drawbacks.
- Conclusion: When employees find the right job, everyone benefits.
- command of English grammar (few spelling, punctuation mistakes, etc.): While the structure and wording is repetitive at times, the writer doesn’t make any real mistakes in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. The sample essay displays a command, though not necessarily a mastery, of English grammar and mechanics.
- proper and clear organization: The writer clearly had a plan, and followed a logical, effective structure. The sample response offers ideas that are supported with evidence from the passages and effectively covers the breadth of the topic.
- clear central thesis with supporting points: The writer’s central thesis clearly takes a stance on the topic. By writing, “changing jobs is the best way to get experience in different workplaces and in life because it builds a variety of skills and keeps one from being tied down in a career he or she may not grow in,” the writer makes his or her opinion on the topic very clear. The supporting ideas all remain focused and in line with the original thesis, and the sample essay as a whole maintains a clear, focused, and supported stance.
- acknowledgement of opposing/alternative points of view: In the second-to-last paragraph, the writer acknowledges an opposing idea, specifically that “others may feel that shifting jobs limits a person because he or she would constantly move or have to make new friends.” He or she then refutes this claim, assuring the audience that the benefits of meeting new people outweigh the drawbacks of having to move around.
Overall, the sample essay presents a clear thesis, supports that thesis with strong ideas and supporting evidence, and refutes claims made by the opposing side in a focused, organized, and error-free response.
Areas that could be improved
This sample essay could have earned a 6 if the writer:
- used stronger transitions: The writer is excellent at presenting ideas and making his or her point, but stronger transitions would create an articulate flow that would make this sample essay stronger.
- varied his or her sentence structure more: As we state above in the success, the writer doesn’t make any real spelling or grammatical mistakes in the sample essay; however, the writer also doesn’t vary their writing very much. The sample essay is functional and successful, but it won’t blow anyone away.
- more effectively explored his or her evidence: While the writer has strong ideas and effective evidence, the analysis and elaboration can be a bit limited at times in the sample response. For example, in the second paragraph, the writer writes about his or her brother, who “is part of a college program that gets him a different internship every other semester, so that he can experience what each employer has to offer and what would best fit him after he graduates.” This is a great real-life example, but it would be stronger with an assurance that the writer’s brother has benefited from these internships (in other words, the writer could have been clear that the brother benefited from the programs intended purpose).
- acknowledged and refuted a stronger counter-claim: While the writer effectively presents a counter-claim and refutes it. The counter-claim that moving is hard isn’t really the most effective argument and using it for the counter-argument could make some readers think you are taking the easy way out by fighting the opponent’s weakest argument. Instead the writer could have done something like the following:
According to “Loyal Workers are Successful Workers,” others may feel working in one place for a long period of time would give them a deeper, richer experience: “like with a fine wine, the maturation process may be slower, but deeper.” Working at one place will give an employee a deeper experience, but it will only entrench them in the habits of that one company. An employee who has worked in one place for a long time is likely to take on the habits, which can often be bad habits, of the company, and be less adaptable to change.
When you are practicing your essay responses, keep in mind both what made this sample response strong and what held it back. If you can write a response that is clear, takes a stance, and is supported with evidence from the passages, you will be successful. If you can add to that strong transitions, varied sentence structure, and analysis that really drives your point home, you can score a perfect score.
More HiSET Resources
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