TASC Practice Essay 2: Informational

There are two types of essay questions on the TASC Writing test: Informational & Argumentative. Below is a sample prompt for the Informational Essay. After reviewing our TASC Informational Essay Guide, you should use this prompt to write a TASC practice essay.

TASC Essay Question

Recent statistics show that Americans owe more in student loans than they do on credit cards. Proponents of student loan forgiveness say that for American society to build its best future, we should consider forgiving substantial amounts of the student debt racked up by recent college graduates—and to use more federal financial aid to find new ways to lower the debt burden for future college students. Opponents say that this would be too expensive. College tuition for students is in the trillions, and some people insist that students should accept that huge student loans are a necessary part of securing a well-paying job in the future.

Read both texts and then write an informational essay detailing a plan that a potential college student could use to balance the need for an education with the need to be financially responsible. Be sure to use information from both texts in your essay.

Before you begin planning and writing, read the two texts:

  1. “Student Loans Pack Surprising Benefits”
  2. “Why You (Probably) Shouldn’t Take out Loans for College”

As you read each text, think about which details you want to use in your essay. Be sure to take notes as you read. After you finish reading both passages, you should plan out your essay. Consider the ideas, facts, details, and examples that you want to use. Decide how you will introduce your topic and think about what the main idea will be for each of the paragraphs that you will write.

You have 45 minutes to write your TASC Practice Essay. Make sure that you:

  • Introduce the topic clearly.
  • Use information from both of the passages.
  • Develop your recommendation using facts, details, quotations, and examples.
  • Use transition words to connect your paragraphs.
  • Use clear language and vocabulary to provide information about the topic.
  • Summarize your plan with a concluding paragraph.


Student Loans Pack Surprising Benefits

For most American undergraduates, student loans are a necessity. Loans are far from a fail-safe route to earning a college degree, but student loans do not have to be the “big bad” they are made out to be. They can actually add some positivity to a student’s college years. Kevin Walker is the co-founder of SimpleTuition, and he says that “borrowing is not evil if it’s done carefully and you set yourself up to take on a responsible amount that you can afford.”

Financial experts say an attractive student loan payment will be no more than 10 percent of a recent graduate’s gross monthly income, Walker notes. This type of loan payment, taken out under transparent repayment terms and at an amount you can realistically meet, can help you achieve otherwise financially unattainable levels of higher education.

After assisting a student get to college, loans can also be a way of motivating a student once there, says psychologist Jerry Weichman. “Loans can be a great way to have an invested buy-in to your academic career.” Having a student loan that you know you must pay back may actually encourage you to focus on a degree that will likely land you a well-paying or rewarding job after graduation, or may motivate you to take advantage of all your school has to offer, from clubs and organizations to library and faculty resources.

Finally, If you’re responsible with your student loans, they’ll serve as a shining track record should you apply for bigger expenditures, such as a car or a house, later in your adult life by establishing your credit score at a young age. Any kind of debt you have, whether it’s a credit card or a student loan, contributes to your credit status. Despite built-in stress often associated with the idea of taking out big student loans, the financial burden can also double as training in what is—and isn’t—a valuable investment now and in the future.

Adapted from US News & World Report — by Katy Hopkins


Why You (Probably) Shouldn’t Take out Loans for College

School loans can seem like a good idea on the surface—they allow you to go to school without working a job, focus on your studies, and usually have a low interest rate which often doesn’t kick in till after you’ve graduated. But frequently the math just doesn’t add up.

Sometimes, students take out loans without thinking about the fact that they will, eventually, have to pay them back! College loans are bad in the same way living on credit is bad: it may seem like a good idea at the time, but it’s impossible to know what the future holds and if you’ll be in a better position to repay the loans in a few years than you are now. Another scenario is to consider the school you’ll be attending. Some schools—like Ivy Leagues or some private schools—carry a high price tag but also provide their graduates with high job placement rates, high earning potential, and a network of people to help them through their career. In these situations the benefits of such an education may outweigh the risks or detriments of taking out loans.

If you won’t be getting any help from your family, and it’s up to you to foot the bill for college, be sure to exhaust all your options before looking to loans. There are a plethora of scholarships out there—check with governmental and local organizations to see what you can qualify for. Also look at Fastweb.com for a list of smaller and sometimes obscure scholarships that are worth entering. Your high school and college should also be a good resource for finding scholarships.

Working to put yourself through school isn’t fun, but it’s possible to get a jump start on building your resume while still in college—jobs in professional fields typically pay more plus they can give you the experience you need to get a leg up when job hunting after college. Looking for jobs within your school is a good place to start to ensure that they’ll be able to accommodate your school schedule. Positions like marketing assistant, research assistant, lab assistants and so forth may be available on your campus. And there’s also the option to work as a self-employed contractor. If you want to beef up your writing portfolio, look for freelance writing gigs.

Fields like web development, graphic design, fact checking and research are also other areas that can be a good fit for a student. Craigslist is a valuable source for this type of work, but again use all the resources that your school provides. Getting through school debt-free may require a bit of creativity but it’s a very viable option and you’ll have much more to look forward to once you’re done besides paying down school loans!

Adapted from Lifehack — by Brynn Alexander

Now use this prompt to write a TASC practice essay. After you complete your practice essay, you should try to get some feedback from a friend or teacher. You can also review our TASC Informational Essay Sample Response.