Analyzing a Prompt
On-demand writing begins with a prompt—a set of instructions for writing. If a student's response does not answer the prompt, it will score poorly despite the quality of writing. To create an on-target response, students should start by carefully analyzing the prompt.
Thankfully, they have a very familiar strategy for doing so: the PAST questions. They help students pinpoint each part of the communication situation.
Lead students through the four PAST questions, and then show how to find answers to each question within a prompt. In an on-demand writing situation, students should rapidly jot answers on a piece of scrap paper. These answers will guide them as they form a response and will help them rapidly revise their draft.