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Language Arts, Writing

Test Overview

The Language Arts, Writing Test has two parts. Part I contains 50 multiple-choice questions that require you to revise and edit workplace, "how to," and informational documents. Part II assesses your ability to write an essay about a familiar topic. The scores earned on both parts are combined and reported as a single score.

Part I

There are 50 questions on the Language Arts, Writing Test, Part I. They are divided among the following three question types: correction, revision, and construction shift.

These questions address the following content areas:

Organization (15%): Restructure paragraphs or ideas within paragraphs, identify topic sentences, create unity and coherence in the document.

Sentence Structure (30%): Correct sentence fragments, run-on sentences, comma splices, improper coordination and subordination, misplaced modifiers, and lack of parallel structure.

Usage (30%): Correct errors in subject-verb agreement, verb tense, and pronoun reference.

Mechanics (25%): Correct errors in capitalization, punctuation, spelling (restricted to errors related to possessives, contractions, and homonyms).

Part II

In the second part of the Language Arts, Writing Test, you will write an essay about an issue or subject of general interest. The essay topic will require you to present your opinion or explain your views about the assigned topic.

You will have 45 minutes in which to plan, write, and revise your essay. You will be given scratch paper on which you may jot notes, outline, and first draft. The answer booklet has two pages of lined paper on which you will write your final essay.

Scoring

Two trained readers will score your essay on the basis of the following features:

  • well-focused main points
  • clear organization
  • specific development of your ideas
  • control of sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, word choice, and spelling

Each reader will score your essay on a 4-point scale, and the scores will be averaged to find your final score. If you earn a final score of less than 2 on the essay, you must retake both Parts I and II of the Language Arts, Writing Test. Also, you must write only on the assigned topic; if you don't, your essay will not receive a score, and you will have to retake both parts of the test.

All writers make mistakes when they write quickly. Good writers take the time to go over what is written and correct mistakes. Your writing will show your best skills if you take the time to plan what you want to say and review it to make any needed corrections.

Sample Essay Topic

What is one important goal you would like to achieve in the next few years?

In your essay, identify that one goal and explain how you plan to achieve it. Use your personal observations, experience, and knowledge to support your essay.