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:
- Because the goal is to provide information with your Informational Essay, you will want to include more details from the two passages.
- 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.
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:
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:
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:
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.