Diploma Exam Part A: Critical Response to a Text (CRT)

  • For this section, you will have to utilize one or more texts you studied in the course to respond to the essay question/topic.

  • This response should be in essay form with an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion.

  • Remember the rules of formal writing - no 1 st person (I/me) and no 2 nd person (you). Avoid slang, abbreviations, and contractions (can't, won't).

  • You will not have access to the novels, stories, poems, or films while writing this essay, you may want to memorize some shorter quotations as evidence. However, you must use specific references to the text as evidence.


  • Read the topic and the instructions carefully.

  • Make a plan to keep yourself organized as you write. Plan the thesis and topic sentences. Your thesis should answer the essay question and your topic sentences should relate to your thesis.

  • You will also be marked on the following:

    - organization of ideas
    - depth of thoughtful/insightful exploration of the topic
    - specific and persuasive textual evidence (referring to actual events, conversations in the text to support your point)
    - effective word choice and other stylistic choices
    - grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization as well as smooth and varied sentence structure

If you do not respond using literature from the course, or if you simply summarize the plot of a text you studied, your work might be assessed as Insufficient (INS).

How to Study

  • Examples of Standards for Students' Writing 
    The written responses in these documents are examples of diploma examination writings that would receive scores of Satisfactory (S), Proficient (Pf), or Excellent (E). These example responses are taken from the Diploma Examinations. Along with the commentaries that accompany them, they should help you and your students to understand the standards for diploma examination writing in relation to the scoring criteria
  • Review the settings, plots, characters, themes, symbols, points of view, from the major texts you have studied in the first half of the course.

  • Review past diploma topics. Ask yourself how these apply to the major texts you have read. Practice writing introductions and theses statements for some of these topics using texts we've studied.

  • Review the format of a basic essay (what goes in an intro, body paragraphs, and conclusion).