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Chapter 7
Adopting Lifelong Learning

Test Prep: Essay Topics

Turn your informal journal writing into formal writing assignments that inform and persuade various audiences.

  1. Recall your favorite teacher or subject. With what you now know about preferred ways of learning, write an essay in which you explain why you liked this teacher or subject so much.
  2. Students new to college are often stuck in old habit patterns that sabotage their academic success. In an essay for college freshmen, offer your suggestions for the most important behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes necessary for academic success. Suggest ways your readers could make a course correction if they need to. Use your own experience wherever possible.
  3. In a letter to the board of education members where you went to high school, persuade them to make one significant change to help future students. Use your critical thinking skills to make a logical case for the change you suggest. Consider using your understanding of how the human brain learns best and your knowledge of individual learning preferences to develop your argument.
  4. Educational philosopher John Dewey wrote, "The most important attitude that can be formed is that of the desire to go on learning." In an essay for new parents, discuss what they can do to preserve and nurture their children's love of learning. Use your understanding of how the human brain learns best and your knowledge of personal learning preferences.
  5. Taking a personal inventory is often the first step toward improving an area of one's life. Write an essay in which you explore your strengths and weaknesses as a learner (both in school and out of school). End your essay by proposing changes that you could make to become a more effective learner.
  6. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote, "The ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality people most admire in others. . . ." Your perseverance through difficulties not only causes others to respect you, it raises your own self-respect. In an essay for a general audience, describe a time in your life when you persevered against inner and/or outer obstacles to reach a goal or dream of great importance to you. Conclude by telling what you learned from your experience and how it affected your sense of self-respect.
  7. Using the student essays in On Course as a model, write an essay about how you used a strategy from Chapter 7 to overcome a problem in your life-academic, personal, or even at work. First explain the problem; then discuss the strategy you used and how; finally, identify what happened. Your instructor may submit your essay to the author for possible publication in the next edition of On Course. Additional directions for writing and submitting these essays can be found at