TASC Informational Essay Guide

The TASC Informational Essay requires you to compose a short essay based on a specific prompt. You will have 45 minutes to complete it. You will be scored based on the clarity of your writing, your organization, the development of the ideas presented, and the overall sentence structure and grammar.

For the Informational Essay, your thesis will be your own plan of action based on the topic that is provided. Time management on this section is extremely important, since you will need to read two passages that relate to the prompt for each essay BEFORE you can begin to work on your own essay. To use your time effectively, you should break down the 45-minutes in the following way:

  • 2 Minutes — Read Question Prompt
  • 4 Minutes — Read Passage 1
  • 4 Minutes — Read Passage 2
  • 5 Minutes — Outline your Essay
  • 25 Minutes — Write your Essay
  • 5 Minutes — Read and Edit your Essay

Below, we will thoroughly review how to plan out and write your essay. If you spend a full 15 minutes analyzing the prompt and planning your essay, it will be easy to write 5 paragraphs in 25 minutes. You will need to familiarize yourself with both informational and argumentative prompts and practice writing at least one of each in order to gain the experience you need to succeed on Test Day.

Informational Essay vs. Argumentative Essay

Your approach to the TASC Informational Essay will be exactly the same as your approach to the Argumentative Essay with two major exceptions:

  1. Because the goal is to provide information with your Informational Essay, you will want to include more details from the two passages.
  2. For the Argumentative Essay, your thesis will be about whose opinion you agree with. For the Informational Essay, your thesis will synthesize the information from the prompts into a recommendation.
For the TASC Argumentative Essay, your thesis takes the form:

A is the correct position, because of B, C, and D.


For the TASC Informational Essay, your thesis takes the form:

The best plan of action is A, because of B, C, and D.


TASC Informational Essay: Strategies & Template

The general template provided for the Argumentative Essay will also work for the Informational Essay, although we will need to make some minor adjustments. Instead of arguing why your position is best, you will use information from each passage to make a recommendation for a plan of action.

The organization of our Informational Essay will (ideally) have five paragraphs and take this format:

  • Paragraph 1 — Introduction (Present your Plan)
  • Paragraph 2 — Step 1 of the Plan
  • Paragraph 3 — Step 2 of the Plan
  • Paragraph 4 — Step 3 of the Plan
  • Paragraph 5 — Outcome

Paragraph 1 — Introduction

Here is a sample version of an introductory paragraph to the TASC Informational Essay:

________ is an important concern to society today. One side believes ________. They say, “_________.”  The other side believes _________, and has stated, “__________.” However, in order for _________ to have a successful outcome, there is only one correct plan of action. The best plan to resolve this issue and provide balance is __________ because of __________, __________, and __________.

In this Introduction template, we accomplish four goals:

  • Introduce the topic
  • Describe the opinions presented in each passage
  • Offer a thesis that describes how BALANCE can be achieved
  • List 3 reasons why this plan is optimal

Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 — Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs can have the following format:

The first step in our plan to _____________ should be to _____________. This is beneficial, because _____________. One piece of evidence from the passage that supports this is ______________, because ______________. Another piece of evidence from the passage that supports this is ____________. By taking this first step of ____________, balance can begin to be achieved.

Additional body paragraphs should discuss the 2nd and 3rd steps of the plan before moving on to a concluding paragraph that wraps up the essay with what the ultimate outcome of the plan will be. Possible transition words include “First… Secondly… Thirdly…” or “The first step…,” “The second step…” etc. Feel free to alter portions of the template to fit the specific essay you want to write but do make it clear how each body paragraph connects to its preceding paragraph.

Paragraph 5 — Conclusion

Once you finish your 3rd body paragraph (4th paragraph total, including the introduction), you are ready to move on to the 5th and final paragraph: the conclusion. This should be the shortest paragraph:

In conclusion, by utilizing this three-step approach of __________, __________, and _________, on the issue of _________, a balanced perspective will be achieved. This plan will appeal to people on both sides, and though each side may not ultimately be completely satisfied, this plan is optimal because it will achieve the goal of _________.

Try to devise an ultimate goal based on the specific issue at hand. It could be “creating a better community in our schools,” or “fostering more curiosity in young people,” or “protecting our environment for generations to come.” By expanding the issue-at-hand outwards, you demonstrate that you see the relevance in the topic beyond the confines of the TASC Test.

TASC Essay Practice

Now you’re ready to write a practice essay. Try our TASC Practice Essay 2.