Free Response Workshop

The Four Rs


You have twenty five minutes. You have plenty of time. Plan for at least five minutes.
This is NOT an essay. Take your time to work thoroughly and carefully.

Now, Breath in slowly. Hold your breath. Exhale.

Read the question carefully. Look at the chart (if there is one) carefully. Make sure you understand the chart or graph. Don’t freak! Break the question down into parts (a, b). Highlight the numbers of facts required for each part (identify 3). Get organized.

Read the question again. Highlight or circle the key words in each part of the question.
Key Words
• Identify = List, Name, Describe
• Describe = List, Name, Identify
• Define = Write what the term means
• Compare = Contrast, Evaluate, Weigh
• Explain = Clarify, Connect, Link, Analyze, Give reasons
• Discuss = Explain, Write about, Argue for

Now, rewrite the entire question in your own words.

Respond to the question with a chart or graphic organizer with answers to every part of every question. Answer everything!

Now, make your chart or organizer with facts to answer the entire question.

Write your free-response answer. Be specific and factual. Don’t be wordy. Get to the point! Less is More. Write one page maximum. Do NOT write an introduction or a conclusion.

Now, get ‘er done!