About This Test
The Pre-Professional Skills Test in Writing assesses the ability to use grammar and language appropriately and the ability to communicate effectively in writing; these abilities are essential to a well-educated adult in a professional role. The Writing test has two separately timed 30-minute sections: 38 multiple-choice questions on the use of standard English and a writing sample based on an essay topic.
The multiple-choice section is designed to measure examinees' ability to use standard written English correctly and effectively. This section is divided into two parts: usage and sentence correction. In the usage questions, examinees are asked to recognize errors in mechanics, in structural and grammatical relationships, and in idiomatic expressions or word choice, and they are also asked to identify sentences that have no error and that meet the conventions of standard written English. The sentence correction questions require examinees to select, from among the choices presented, the best way to restate a certain phrase or sentence using standard written English; in some cases, the phrase or sentence is correct and most effective as stated. Examinees are not required to have a knowledge of formal grammatical terminology.
The essay section assesses examinees' ability to write effectively in a limited period of time. The essay topic invites examinees to draw from personal experience, observation, or reading to support a position with specific reasons and examples.
This test may contain some questions that will not count toward your final score.
The topics attempt to present situations that are familiar to all educated people; no topic will require any specialized knowledge other than an understanding of how to write effectively in English.
Examinees should write only on the topic in the test book, address all the points presented in the topic, and support generalizations with specific examples. Before beginning to write, examinees should read the topic and organize their thoughts carefully.
Experienced teachers read and evaluate each essay holistically (that is, with a single score for overall quality) under carefully controlled conditions designed to ensure fair and reliable scoring. Acknowledging that writing comprises a number of features that are not independent of one another, scorers base their judgments on an assessment of such features as quality of insight or central idea, clarity, consistency of point of view, cohesiveness, strength and logic of supporting information, rhetorical force, appropriateness of diction and syntax, and correctness of mechanics and usage.