On Demand Writing for Students: Coaching Yourself for the SAT, ACT, and AP Essays

On Demand Writing for Students: Coaching Yourself for the SAT, ACT, and AP Essays

On Demand Writing for Students: Coaching Yourself for the SAT, ACT, and AP Essays

On Demand Writing for Students: Coaching Yourself for the SAT, ACT, and AP Essays

Excerpt

One of the highest compliments that can be bestowed on public speakers is that they sound “planned not canned.” This should be the goal of on demand writing as well. I want you to be prepared without having to resort to meaningless formulas.

I have learned from my students that even when the topic is an unknown variable, as in the case of standardized tests, advance preparation is still possible.

Several years ago at the state speech championships, I noticed one of my students, Julia, studying a list on a 3 × 5 card before competition. In impromptu speaking, the topics are unknown to the speaker until two minutes before the speech begins. For a brief moment, I thought Julia had gotten her hands on the topics in advance and was cheating. I half-jokingly asked if she was memorizing her next impromptu speech. To my surprise she replied, “Sort of.” Then she revealed that what she had was a list of examples off the top of her head—topics that she was studying in school, books she was reading, recent films and songs, current events, etc. She explained that when she drew her topic in a round, she used the two minutes of preparation time to connect her given topic to as many subjects on her list as she could; then, she sorted the topic areas into a progressive order and constructed a “roadmap” or outline for the audience. For years, I have used Julia’s “brain purge” technique to coach new impromptu speakers on my forensics team.

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