Quick Tips for Success: Language Arts, Writing Test
This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 23, 2009 .
This resource provides some brief tips for succeeding on the writing portion of the GED.
Quick Tips for Success: Language Arts, Writing Test
This section is intended to give you some quick tips to use while writing the GED essay. Review these tips while writing practice essays so that you can get used to them before taking the actual GED.
Relax. Many people find the essay portion of the GED stressful. You will write a much better essay if you relax. Take a few deep breaths and relax your muscles. Remind yourself that the essay you produce will be a rough draft. Try your best, but know that you are not expected to produce perfection in 45 minutes!
Plan. Don’t just dive into writing your essay. Instead, take a few minutes to plan. You should think about your main points, your support and development, and your organization.
The five-paragraph model. For a timed writing situation like the GED essay, the five-paragraph model provides a clear method of organization. A five-paragraph essay contains:
- an introductory paragraph that clearly states the essay’s main point
- three body paragraphs that develop and support the essay’s main point
- a concluding paragraph that wraps up the essay.
Start up and wrap up. Perhaps the most important parts of your essay are the first and last paragraphs. This is because the first paragraph is your reader’s first impression of your writing and the last paragraph is your reader’s last impression. Therefore, you should take some time to write both a strong introduction and a strong conclusion.
Focus your paragraphs. Make sure each of your body paragraphs has a clear main point. A good way to do this is to use the first sentence of each paragraph (the topic sentence) to state the paragraph’s main point.
Stick to the topic. It is important that you write about the assigned topic. Essays that focus on topics other than the assigned one will not be scored. While you’re writing, remind yourself of the topic at hand and check to make sure you’re not straying from it.
Use what you know. The essay topic will allow you to draw on your own observations, knowledge, and experience. Take advantage of this! When you write your essay, include personal observations, knowledge, and experiences that are relevant to the topic.
Keep an eye on the clock. As you are writing, keep an eye on how much time you have left. Be careful not spend so much time on one paragraph that you are unable to finish the essay. Some people even like to keep a specific time limit for each paragraph.
Write legibly. Your reader needs to be able to read your essay. Do not expect that you will have time to neatly re-write a final draft. Instead, print or write your essay as neatly as you can the first time around. Writing slowly and carefully will help. If you find an error or just want to change something, draw one line through the word(s) you wish to change and write the corrections neatly above.
Proofread. When writing timed essays, people often make grammar mistakes. You should save a few minutes at the end to read through your essay so that you can find and correct most of your errors.
Practice, practice, practice. Use the CWEST resources on the OWL and materials provided by your learning institute to write as many practice essays as possible.
About the 2002 Series Writing Test
The GED® Language Arts, Writing Test is divided into two parts, but the scores are combined so you’ll receive a single score. Here’s how each part breaks down.
The first part is 75 minutes long and contains 50 multiple choice questions from the following content areas:
- Organization (15%)
- Sentence structure (30%)
- Usage (30%)
- Mechanics (25%)
Part I is your chance to demonstrate your ability to revise and edit grammar, spelling, and other mechanical writing errors. We’ll give you passages that are roughly 200 to 300 words. These will be documents you might find in a workplace, business, set of instructions, or some other informational document, like why the rainforests should be saved, how to build a monument, or something similar.
Each document, when corrected, is an example of good writing. Your grade will be determined by correctly answering multiple choice questions based on how well you proofread and edit the passages.
The second part consists of writing an essay about a familiar subject. You will have 45 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay. The essay topic will require you to present your opinion or explain your views about the assigned topic. Two trained readers will score your essay on the basis of the following features:
- Focused main points
- Clear organization
- Specific development of ideas
- Sentence structure control, punctuation, grammar, word choice, and spelling
Each reader will score your essay on a four-point scale and the scores will be averaged to find your final score. If you earn a final score of less than two on the essay, you must retake Language Arts, Writing, Part I and Part II.
WHAT IS EXPECTED
For the test on paper, you’ll be writing in an answer booklet with two pages of lined paper. You’ll also be given scratch paper. You can work on the organization of your essay on the scratch paper before writing the final version in the answer booklet (this is the one that will be graded). You’re not required to fill both pages and there isn’t a specific word count. You are being evaluated on the substance of the essay.
Please note: If the grader cannot read your handwriting, it’s hard for them to give you a good grade!
For the test on computer, each test-taker will receive an eraseable noteboard instead of scratch paper. This works just like a dry erase board.
Do you have more questions about the Writing Test? Go online to our Facebook page and start the conversation there.