This is a pneumonic device I created to help my students respond for effectively on the MAP test, but they use it every time they respond to short answer questions all year long. It can also serve as a very concise scoring guide.
Short Essay Response Strategy
Examine the question and the passage thoroughly.
Rephrase the question as part of your topic sentence.
Answer the question in the form of an Argument.
Tell "why." Use the key word "because."
Specific examples should be given.
Explain how the example is directly related to your argument.
Reread your answer and Revise.