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How To Pass A College English Placement Test

How to Pass a College English Placement Test

Universities and college require new students entering their freshman year to take placement or assessment tests in decide where to be placed in various courses including Math and English.

While the questions asked in these tests vary across colleges, the format remains more or less the same and usually consists of multiple-choice questions and a short essay which will test the students' writing skills.

A placement test is a serious matter as the scores you get in it will decide whether you are eligible to take the class or not.

If your scores are really good, then you can skip a couple of basic English courses thereby giving you a head start towards reaching your academic goals. A low score in this placement test might require you to take preparatory classes before you can be given admission to college-level English courses. Here are some tips on how to pass a college English placement test.

Tips on how to prepare and pass an English placement test

Take the placement test seriously – Many times, high school students are so caught up with having cleared their high school with flying colors that they think there is no need to worry about placement tests and clearing them will be a breeze.

This overconfidence can be quite misleading and could land you in trouble. Starting off college on the right note is critical to making a success of it. The importance of placement tests cannot be undermined.

If you get very low scores, having to attend preparatory classes before being allowed to take college-level courses could set you back from other students and this late start has a potential of having cumulative negative effect in the long run.

On the other hand, if you get high scores on the placement tests, you would not only need to attend any preparatory courses but it is possible that your college could waive off some of the basic courses itself in the subject. This will be a fabulous start for your academic venture which has a potential of having cumulative positive effects in the long run.

So, please take these placement tests seriously and prepare for them.

Call the admission officer and find out more details about the placement test – Multiple standard formats of placements are used by colleges. Call the college you want to get admission in and find out which one they use.

Knowing the format and the syllabus will help you focus better on studying for a particular college. Being aware of which portions of the subject you need to focus more than others will help you manage your study time efficiently.

Ask the admission officer about study materials and guides that you can use to prepare for the English placement test. In fact, some colleges even offer workshops to freshmen students to help them prepare for the placement test.

Review and revise test-taking strategies – If you have multiple-choice questions in the format, then strategize the best way to answer them. Here are some tips on how to answer multiple-choice questions:

  • Read the question carefully and clearly understand what is being asked. Many times, the questions are worded in such a way that you could end up misinterpreting it. Or, timed questions could strike panic in you so that you would automatically just skim through the question without understanding it correctly. Avoid these situations and ensure you read and understand the questions.

  • Evaluate each answer given in the options carefully and as you evaluate you will realize that some answers are clearly wrong. Eliminate these immediately and then focus on the remaining answers and answer correctly.

Another strategy that you have to focus on and master is how to time yourself in the English practice test. If the paper consists of multiple-choice and essay writing, then decide how much time you will spend on each type.

Read, learn, and master grammar rules – There are grammar rule books that you can buy or simply use the one that was prescribed for your high school. Read and learn the grammar rules again and make sure you become a master. If the college has prescribed or given you study materials and/or study guides, please make sure you read through all of them and know each portion really well.

The multiple-choice questions in English papers are more often than not based on grammar rules. You might have to choose the grammatically correct sentence from 4 or 5 options.

Improve your vocabulary and spelling – Again, the study guide provided by the college could help you in this regard. Here are a few tips on how to improve your vocabulary:

  • Read, read, and read more

  • Keep a thesaurus and a dictionary handy; as you come across new words, look up the dictionary for the meaning and the thesaurus for synonyms and other words.

  • As you learn new words, make one sentence with it immediately

  • Then, use them in your daily communication too; as you become familiar with it, the word will automatically become part of your vocabulary

Learn and master the different types of essay formats – There are primarily four types of essays that you need to know and learn. Make sure you learn and master the format and structure of each of them. The four types include:

Narrative Essays – This type involves telling a story and is based on recounting personal life experiences in a compelling manner. These essays require vivid descriptions to make the story as interesting as possible for the reader. And narrative essays are usually written in the first person point of view.

Descriptive Essays – Similar in many ways to a narrative essay, descriptive essays paint a picture using words. The essay could describe a place, a person, an object, a memory, or anything else. A good descriptive essay is that which appeals to the emotions of the reader.

Expository Essays – This type of essay presents the fact and offers a balanced analysis of any topic. The essay would include the definition or explanation of a topic using examples, statistics and/or other facts. There are different types of expository essays including compare and contrast essay, cause and effect essay, "how to" essays, etc.

Persuasive Essays – This type requires you to persuade the reader to see your viewpoint. The essay should build up a case in favor of the argument using logic and/or facts, expert opinions, sound reasoning, and illustrative examples.

Find a tutor if need be – Remember that if you get high scores, then you are likely to get ahead in your academics by getting a waiver of certain basic English courses. Hence, it might make sense to find a tutor who can help you improve your skills in English. Graduate students and undergraduate students take up tutoring during their free time. You can call the local schools and other educators in your locality to see if you can take a short English course from them.

Take multiple practice tests – The college you are applying to will give you access to many practice and mock tests. Make sure you attempt and do all of them not just in a haphazard manner but by simulating the test environment at home.

Time yourself and mark the papers when you have completed. See if you can get someone else to mark the paper; that way the result will be more objective and you will be able to identify your weak areas and focus on them during your study time.

Sleep well the night before the test – Avoid last-minute cramming and take a good night's rest before the day of the placement test. Have a light nutritious meal so that you feel refreshed and alert after a restful sleep and good food.

Final Notes

A high score in your English placement test can be the perfect start to your four-year college journey. Getting a waiver on some basic English courses will give a great leap forward and help give your confidence a nice boost before you even step into the freshman year. So, do take it seriously and prepare well for it.

At Prescott Papers, our qualified and experienced academic writers will be able to help and guide you through your entire college life with all kinds of writing assignments. By passing on some amount of your writing to us, you will be able to reduce stress and have a little more free time to do what you like.

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