CBEST Writing Essay Examples, and Tips for Writing with Confidence.
It’s helpful to know what the evaluators will look for in your writing. As you write, review, and edit your essays, be sure that:
- your writing is crystal clear and there is no possibility of misunderstanding your message
- the content stays focused throughout your essay. (All parts of it should relate to the main topic and not stray into other areas.)
- you support points with illustrations and examples as you write
- your writing contains only standard written English conventions
- you are especially careful to separate fact from opinion, avoid internal contradiction, make only warranted conclusions, and avoid the use of non-sequiturs (If any of these terms are unfamiliar, look them up and learn how to manage them.)
CBEST Writing Essay: What Topic will You be Given?
Topic 1: This essay will require you to recount a memory of personal experience.
Topic 2: For this essay, you’ll need to write about a given topic, giving information about it, and analyzing that information.
CBEST Writing Essay: Example Topic 1
Most people can remember a time in their lives when the world seemed to stand still, even if just for a moment. All of a sudden, it was very hard to think. This could have happened during an extremely happy, sad, or surprising event.
Think of a time in your life when you might have experienced this type of moment. If you cannot think of one that happened, tell about what it would take to make “time stand still” for you.
CBEST Writing Essay: Example Topic 2
John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying, “Think not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Think of one way you could take action on Kennedy’s suggestion. Tell how this would change you and the path you take in life. Also tell how likely you are to take this action and give reasons why, or why not.
CBEST Writing Essay: Tips for Taking the CBEST Writing Subtest
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) uses the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) to ensure that prospective teachers in the state have sufficient mathematics, reading, and writing skills to be effective educators.
In many cases, it is essential that individuals pass all three of these subtests to earn certification, and there are some specific preparation strategies that individuals taking the CBEST Writing subtest can use to ensure they’re ready on test day.
Tip 1: Clarify the Focus of the Writing Subtest
When you’re taking an exam, it helps if you understand its purpose. There is a notable difference between completing an essay that will demonstrate whether you understand a specific educational philosophy, for example, and an essay that is designed to solely evaluate your writing skills.
The CBEST Writing subtest is not used to evaluate how well you understand any specific facts. The test is used to determine if you can clearly logically express information. Some of the key factors that are considered when the writing subtest is evaluated include:
- Your ability to express a clear position or focus
- Your ability to write about your topic by using relevant examples or information
- Your ability to follow English language rules
- How well you did at following a logical pattern of thought
Tip 2: Access to Reputable Study Materials
To ensure you use information that is reliable when you are preparing for the CBEST Writing subtest, it is important to look at resources offered from reputable sources.
Study Guides: This CBEST Test Prep: Practice & Study Guide contains 131 lessons. It is intended to help individuals who are preparing to take all three CBEST subtests, including the writing exam.
Practice Tests: The CTC exams website has a preparation materials page for every type of certification test that it offers, including the CBEST. From this page, you can access a CBEST Writing subtest practice exam.
Taking this practice test is one way to familiarize yourself with the types of questions you could be asked on the CBEST Writing subtest. Comparing your essays to scored sample responses is also an effective way to clarify the test objectives and determine your ability to produce material that meets the expectations of the educators who grade CBEST Writing subtests.
Tip 3: Use Writing Apps
Programs, such as Word, contain spelling and grammar check capabilities. There are also free spelling and grammar check apps online that can be used to evaluate a piece of writing.
It can be a good idea to run some of your written material through these apps to identify common spelling or grammatical errors that you can work to correct before taking the CBEST Writing subtest.
Tip 4: Work with a Study Group
Unlike multiple-choice questions that are either answered correctly or incorrectly, the constructed-response questions on the writing subtest are assessed by educators.
It’s a good idea to work with other individuals preparing for the writing subtest and have them review your sample test answers while you review theirs against the test objectives.
This strategy can help you identify issues you may have in your writing, such as failing to stay on topic or not providing examples that support your position.
Tip 5: Be Aware of First-Time Pass Rate on the CBEST Writing Subtest
Each year from the 2012-2013 school year to the 2016-2017 school year, the CBEST subtest with the lowest passing rate on the first attempt was the CBEST Writing test.
During the six most recent school years with test data available, 79.2% to 81.5% of first-time test-takers passed the CBEST Reading subtest, and 78.3% to 80% of first-time test-takers passed the CBEST Mathematics subtest.
Only 66.9% to 75.1% of individuals passed the CBEST Writing subtest on their first attempt, which indicates that this is the most challenging subtest for many test-takers.
The fact that there are only two questions on the CBEST Writing subtest may give some individuals the mistaken idea that this test is easier and requires less study time.
The lower first-time passing rates on this subtest indicate that individuals may underestimate the difficulty of this subtest or fail to adequately prepare for it. Remembering the lower passing rate for this subtest can help ensure you stay motivated to study effectively before your exam date.
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