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Writing Practice

The best way to prepare for the writing component is to practice. You can use the writing prompts on the PTK practice exams or create your own prompts to practice writing quality responses within one hour. You can also purchase Practice Writing Packages for the PTK and ELA writing components ($19.99 per package). Each package includes 4 scored attempts at answering writing prompts and other resources that will help you improve your writing skills.

No matter which way you choose to practice, make sure that you think about what the prompt is asking and try to organize your thoughts before you begin writing so that you can address all of the topics. Then, wait a day or two so that you can take a fresh look at your response and review what you wrote.

When reviewing your writing, try to determine how it could be improved. Review the writing component rubric and determine if your response meets the qualifications for a proficient score. It is also helpful to ask friends and colleagues to provide feedback or you can employ professional essay reviewing services to provide pointers. The following questions may help you to assess your writing:

  1. Did you address all elements of the question?
  2. Did you fully develop your thoughts?
  3. Did you provide details to support your statements?
  4. Is your writing organized and does it follow a clear progression?
  5. Is there an introduction?
  6. Is there a conclusion?
  7. Does your writing have the appropriate heading and salutation for the type of sample requested?
  8. Is your writing in distinct paragraphs?
  9. Did you write in complete sentences?
  10. Is your writing consistent?
  11. Did you address the same audience throughout the piece?
  12. Did you use appropriate and consistent verb tenses throughout your writing?
  13. Is your writing repetitive or redundant?
  14. Does your piece contain spelling or grammatical errors?

You can use grammar and spell check aids to check your writing and look for any errors that you tend to make repeatedly. Note that you will not have access to a spelling or grammar check during the actual exam.

Review the Basics

Make sure that you have a firm understanding of the grammar rules of American English and the best practices of essay writing. Review common grammatical mistakes, word usage errors and words that are often misspelled so that you can avoid these pitfalls.  The more you practice and review, the more confident you will feel on exam day!


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