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CBEST TEST PREP
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CBEST Test #1
CBEST Test #2
CBEST Test #3

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Essay Writing Tips for the CBEST Test

Part II CBEST Writing Prep

Now then, you need to devise a story that sticks to the topic. DO NOT include nice-to-know information. We don't care about the weather, what clothes we were wearing, what car we were driving, the body odor of the kid next door, etc. Only facts related to the experience that concern the topic. Of course you need to add extra details to have the story flow, but if it is nice-to-know information, skip it. The following is an example. Suppose you are writing about a particular experience in school that made you want to become a teacher.

"The day was bright and sunny as I walked to school. Lots of birds were chirping and I noticed how nice they sounded. When I got to my classroom I noticed how nice Miss Pennywhistle looked. The student at the desk next to mine made a face." Where is the main topic? It should immediately get to the point. However, like it was stated earlier, you do need extra details to make the story flow and make sense. Just don't overdo it with a lot of nonsense.

Think of it as arguing before a judge after you have been in a car accident. Does the judge care how the day started? What your friend was wearing? What time you had breakfast? No. The judge wants details of the accident, what led up to it, and your view of what caused it.


Don't have a personal experience to write about that deals with the topic? Make it up! Who cares? In fact, this problem is typical. So, start thinking up stories now!

To be honest, life is not like the movies. We don't meet unforgettable people, visit incredible places, or have an earth-shattering experience. You need to hone your creative writing skills for a topic that involves something you might not have experienced. Think of situations in books, movies, TV shows, almost anything you could use to be your experience. Make it as real sounding as possible. Perhaps you could use a little truth embellished with fiction.

Don't waste time. If you honestly cannot finish 2 essays, concentrate on another section. If you only finish one essay, you will fail anyway. However it may be beneficial to finish one for scoring. It will allow you to see your weaknesses. This is the reason you should do the essay first.

Make an outline. Brainstorm.

If you are stuck on writing, go on to another section you have not finished, or review a section you have.

If time permits, read through your entire essays checking for errors.

Don't erase and start over again. Chances are you will run out of time. Instead, try and fix what you have started.

Read the topic more than once before writing. Make sure you know EXACTLY what the topic is.

Avoid "fatal" errors. One or two really bad sentences will stick out like a sore thumb. So will an error in every other sentence.

Your paper does not have to be perfect. Non-perfect papers can get passing scores. A misspelled word or grammatical error here and there are not going to do much damage.

If you do the writing before other sections, don't dwell on what you may think is a bad paper. Be confident that you did a good job and go to the next section. Your mind should be zeroed in on the next task, not on the last.

You do not need numerous reasons for your thesis. Pick two or three and write a GOOD essay. A weak reason with no backing can reduce the "appeal" of your essay.

Don't choose another topic! You must write an essay on the GIVEN topic. I know many of you think this tip is silly, but rest assured there are people who do indeed choose to write about something else. A sure way to fail.

Avoid using the same word over and over to start sentences.

Don't make definite statements or conclusions which may or may not be true, and certainly not provable. Examples:

a. All teachers will.....
b. All students will....
c. Everybody will....
d. It will.....

 This is only a short list using only "will." You should be able to see why the following sounds better.

a. Some teachers can....
b. Many students might...
c. Some people may...
d. It can....

You can probably come up with many of your own.

Continue to Part III CBEST Writing Tips---->