Below are a few tips to help you with the writing portion of the CBEST Test.
Since you can take the test in person or on computer, some parts of these tips can be adjusted.
Use the blank spots in your test book for scratch paper. If you are only taking the writing, perhaps you can do a whole rough draft before copying it over. I would certainly advise doing a rough draft of the opening paragraph.
You are not writing a term paper for a college class. You do not have to be technical, but use a variety of words.
Be neat! If someone has trouble reading your work, do you think it will pass?
Practice writing in cursive using a pencil. Don't we use pens for almost everything? You would be amazed at how different it feels using a pencil. Most adults have not wrote in pencil since grade school.
Find some sample topics and do some sample essays. And of course, use a pencil. Time yourself as to how long it takes.
Find and review as many sample topics you can.
The more popular personal essay topics involve a person, place, thing, experience, or school that influenced your life, good or bad. Be thinking of what and who you could use. It may include people you have hurt or hurt you, a school you liked/hated, a teacher you liked/hated, a person you looked up to, a person who looked up to you, a job you held, a position you held, a place you visited or lived, relative, etc.
The argumentative/analytical essay will most likely be on a current topic that affects teachers, students, parents, schools, children, school boards, and administrators. Topics like same-sex classrooms, computers, emphasis on sports, emphasis on college vs. vocational ed, etc. Think of other current topics that are affecting education.
For the argumentative/analytical essay, the more popular topics are on issues that relate to education today. It could be a topic that affects classroom, schools, parents, teachers, administrators, students, etc. Think of all the hot educational topics the past few years.
Limit your erasing. If you need to correct a word here or there, cross it out with ONE line and write the correct word above it. Writing over erased paper can blur words.
Make sure your essay is complete. Did you answer all questions and note all concerns?
Stick to the topic. Any extra additions had better be on the topic. Writing about something else is a sure way to fail.
Your essay should flow. One sentence should flow to the next. One paragraph should flow to the next. This will make your essay cohesive. (See the next tip.)
Your essay should be cohesive. Does it all fit together?
Make a strong opening paragraph and an equally strong concluding paragraph. Make a good impression and leave 'em with one.
When doing the argumentative or analysis essay, forget your personal feelings. Choose whichever side is easier for you to write an essay on. You want your argument or analysis to be as strong as possible and easiest to write, even if it means taking a view not your own.
You are not trying to convince the reader of anything except that you know how to write in correct english.
You are not trying to entertain the reader of anything except entertaining the thought of giving you a passing grade.
Who cares if it's boring? If it is done correctly, it passes!
What are your strengths? If writing a story is your strong point, write a story!
Don't make it too short. If your essay is less than a page, pad it!
How can you pad it? Be careful. Your extra padding should be on the topic.
Padding the argumentative/analysis essay:
a) Include personal experiences.
b) Acknowledge the opposing view.
c) Explain why opposing views may or not be valid.d) Why is the point you are making important ? How does it fit in today's educational world?
Padding the personal experience essay: Write a narrative story. This is perhaps the only way. However, you need to introduce the story as THE TOPIC suggests. Don't just start in on a story. If the topic is to write about the experience you had that made you want to be a teacher, start it out with something like:
"Most teachers have one or more experiences that made them want to become a teacher. Maybe it was a favorite teacher, maybe it was a particular school or subject. Mine was an experience I had. The following story relates the event in my life that made me want to be a teacher."
CBEST Test Tips - Overall tips to take and pass the CBEST Test.
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Essay Writing Tips for the CBEST - Get our CBEST essay writing guide here.