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How To Pass A College Writing Test

How to Pass a College Writing Test

A college writing test is designed to determine the level of a student's writing skill based on which he or she will be placed in the appropriate English courses. These courses also help the college authorities decide whether the student is skilled enough to take on college-level writing classes.

Purpose of a college writing test

The writing tests are designed to check the following skills:

  • How well does a student write an appropriate response?

  • How well does a student organize his or her ideas on paper?

  • How good are the student's vocabulary and grammar?

Types of writing tests

Reading a passage and responding to questions based on the passage – In this kind of writing test you will be asked to do one or more of the following:

  • Write a short summary of the passage in your own words

  • Identify and write about the key ideas presented in the passage

  • Use critical analysis to respond to the ideas in the passage

  • Identify one important idea discussed in the passage and write your response to it

  • Write how the ideas are connected with one another and how the flow of ideas is happening

  • Support or contradict the ideas mentioned in the passage using either personal experience or other sources

  • Demonstrate your competence in terms of sentence structure, vocabulary, grammar and other mechanics of writing

Multiple-choice tests based on the mechanics of writing along with one essay – The multiple-choice questions will test the students' grasp of all the mechanics of writing including sentence structure, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. The essay question will normally be on a topic that the student can choose from a list of options and is usually 350-400 words in length.

Any of the four types of essays could be asked. The four types of essays include:

Narrative essays – As the name suggests, narrative essays are based on a life experience of the writer. A good narrative essay would read like a great story that the reader will enjoy. It is usually written in the first person perspective.

Descriptive essays – In this type of essay, the writer describes an event, an object, a person, a place, or even a memory. The details are vividly explained and imagery is commonly used in this form to create a picture in the mind of the reader.

Expository essays – This type of essay requires the writer to create a kind of an analysis of the topic under discussion. The different subtypes include comparing and contrasting two or more things, the cause and effect of an event or happening, etc.

Persuasive essays – Again, as the name suggests, in this kind of an essay, the writer persuades or convinces the reader to see his or her side of the argument using examples, logic, sound reasoning, etc

Tips to write a good essay

Use the following tips to practice writing many essays. With ample practice, the time needed for each step will reduce and by the time you sit for your writing test, the flow of the essay will follow automatically as you keep writing.

Prepare the outline of your essay – Organize your thoughts on the topic that has been given and make notes of these thoughts. As you write them down, you will see connections and links between the various points. You could use bullet points or spider diagrams to jot down these ideas.

Decide on your thesis statement – After you have jotted down your ideas and thoughts in an organized manner, you will clearly be able to see the thesis statement flow out of this collection. Remember your essay will take the direction that your thesis statement points towards.

Write down your thesis statement which will consist of two parts namely the topic and the statement that you are planning to work on in your essay. The thesis statement tells the reader how your essay is going to flow.

For example, if your thesis statement is, "Leadership qualities are not necessarily inherent but can be acquired through learning and experience." Here, clearly the topic is leadership qualities and your essay will contain supporting evidence that leadership qualities can be acquired through learning and experienced and need not necessary be inherited.

Write the body of your essay – The first most difficult part of writing an essay is arriving at the thesis statement. Once this has been done, attack the second most difficult part of essay writing and that is to write the body of the essay. A 350-400 word essay would ideally have 2-3 paragraphs each of which is dedicated to one point of evidence that supports your thesis statement.

Each paragraph should have the introductory sentence that introduces the point of evidence that will be spoken of in that paragraph. And make sure you end each paragraph with a transition sentence that allows for a seamless flow of content to the next paragraph.

Write the introduction of the essay – This the second easiest part of writing the essay. Your thesis statement is ready and the body of your essay is also ready which means nearly 70-75% of your essay is complete. Now, write the introduction.

Start the introduction with a statement or a quote or something that surprises or startles the reader. The introduction could also be a riveting anecdote from your personal life. If the introduction does not catch the attention of your reader, he or she may not follow through with the essay at all.

The last sentence of your introductory paragraph should be the thesis statement.

Write the conclusion – Writing the conclusion is the easiest part of your essay. You just need to tie up the entire piece by summarizing all the points in the essay and reinforcing your thesis statement.

Review and make necessary corrections – Your essay-writing task is not complete unless you read and review your essay completely. Make sure the essay is free from all grammatical and spelling errors. No matter how great the content of your essay is, if the writing mechanics are incorrect, then no professor or teacher is going to give you great grades.

While you are reading the essay, add the finishing touches too. Make sure every small detail, every small adjective is correctly used and fits the context of the essay. The strongest evidence should be the first paragraph in the body of the essay and the weakest evidence should be the last paragraph and the rest should in between. One more point to consider when you are reviewing your essay is to ensure that you have followed the instructions given in the paper to the T.

Now, you must understand there is a difference between writing the essay at home and writing the essay during a timed test. It is quite possible that you may not find the time to do elaborate formats of outlines and body.

This is the reason I chose to start this subheading with a small introduction concerning practice at home. I would like to reiterate that here again. Use the format given above to practice writing essays. Your practice should be so perfect that sooner than later, you will be able to organize your thoughts, create the thesis statement, write the body, write the introduction and write the conclusion in one seamless motion.

Final Notes

The scores you get in your writing test will determine the college course that you are eligible for. Starting off college on a high note can boost your confidence levels to great heights. So, do take all placement tests including the writing test seriously and spend a little bit of time to practice and brush your skills.

Our qualified and experienced writing team at Prescott Papers will be with you right throughout your college life helping you and guiding you at all times. Do contact us for all your writing needs including custom essays, assignments, projects and more.

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