How to Pass a Writing Test

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

As you develop as a student, you will likely encounter writing based tests. These exams not only test your ability to write, but also how you communicate and manage your time. Continue reading for tips on how to soar through writing tests.

How To Prepare

Regardless of the level of a writing exam, knowing the subject of the test is the first step to passing. Before the test, be sure to re-familiarize yourself with any texts that have been focused on throughout the class. If there are multiple texts, you'll need to dedicate enough study time to be familiar with each. Reviewing your notes from class is another great way to prepare, helping you pinpoint the highlighted aspects of the course.

In some cases you may be given a list of potential questions prior to the writing exam. It's crucial that you go over these questions thoroughly. While you don't need to write a complete essay for each potential question, you can use these prompts to form a framework of how you will address them on test day. If you're not prescribed a set of questions/prompts, you'll just have to develop a general understanding over all of the material. Remember, the more familiar you are with the subject, the more flexibly you'll be able to address different questions on the test.

Prove The Point

In writing tests, teachers are looking at how you interpret the class material. The quality with which you break down and analyze the question(s) is what will determine your grade. It's also very important to back up your thesis and explanations by citing evidence. This enhances your credibility as a writer and shows how familiar you are with the material. Quoting or referencing a specific passage from a shared text will also allow the reader to keep up with your reasoning.

Get into the habit of presenting your ideas and then describing how you came to that conclusion. Next, bring in the passage quote(s) that illustrate(s) your point. Take the time to explain your use of the passage, highlighting the aspects of the text itself that correspond with what you're focusing on. This way the reader will be able to clearly understand where you're coming from and the writing will flow in a sensible manner. Avoid repeating yourself or rambling: state your idea, elaborate with evidence, and then move forward. Not only will this make the writing easier to read, but also save you time on the test.

Pace Yourself

Your writing test will probably take the entire class period once it's administered. This may seem like a very short time to write your essay answers, but with the right preparation and techniques you'll have plenty of time. Don't let yourself feel intimidated. Pacing yourself as you write will help you use the entire test time effectively. While you don't want to rush, you do want to keep track of your progress. Wear a watch or take glances at the classroom clock in order to gauge your remaining time as you work. A good way to pace yourself is to write a paragraph, or a section of your argument, and then check your remaining time. This will allow you to write completely and not feel pressured for time.

Another important aspect of pacing yourself is to go into the test with a game plan. Knowing how you'll structure your writing on the test will save you time and allow you to present content efficiently. Resources

For additional guidance on writing, be sure to take advantage of's vast selection of resources. As you begin to take on increasingly more difficult courses and writing tests, these online courses can help you keep up and refine your writing abilities. Breeze through the material with interesting video lessons and detailed transcripts that will not only help you prepare for writing tests but also develop as a successful communicator!

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