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Preparing to take the Writing Skills Assessment Test (WSAT)
Carol Bustamanteon 9 November 2014
Transcript of Preparing to take the Writing Skills Assessment Test (WSAT)
If the WSAT determines that you are not ready for EGL 101, it will place you in another EGL course: 074, 075, 076, or 090 which are ESL courses; you could also be placed in 096 or 097 which are developmental courses . These courses do not earn credit and are not transferable. These courses, however, will help you develop the skills you need for college writing.
In order to earn a bachelor's degree, an Oakton degree, or transfer to most 4 year schools, you must take EGL 101 and 102. If you place into EGL 074, 075, 076, 090, 096, or 097, this course will help you prepare for retaking the WSAT and ultimately prepare you for EGL 101 and 102.
What exactly is the WSAT?
The WSAT is a 50 minute timed essay. You will be given two topics. You must choose one topic, and you are expected to write a short 4-5 paragraph essay.
Here is an example of the test topics.
You should choose the topic you are most interested in, and you should support one side of that topic.
Let's choose topic #1 for this tutorial. Let's choose the side that requires high school attendance until age 18. It is important to brainstorm for ideas so you'll know if topic #1, on the side of raising the drop-out rate from 16 to 18, is a topic you will be able to write about.
We've chosen a topic, taken a side of that topic, and brainstormed for reasons to support our argument, so now it's time to write a thesis.
The thesis is one sentence that is at the end of your introduction paragraph and is the controlling idea of your essay.
The thesis sentence contains the topic, the focus/opinion, and a plan of development.
Once you've written a thesis, which with practice should take about 10 minutes, you are ready to start the essay. Here is an outline of the 5-paragraph essay.
You should memorize this 5-paragraph essay outline. If you write a 4-paragraph essay, with two body paragraphs, this is acceptable, too.
Keep writing until you have completed all the paragraphs. Don't keep going back to rewrite a sentence or fix errors. The clock is ticking, and you can do this when you have 5-10 minutes left.
When you have about 5-10 minutes left, you should read your essay carefully and look for errors and correct them.
When you begin writing, you should leave room for a centered title, indent your paragraphs, and write sentences for each body paragraph that are developed with explanations, examples, and details. A good rule of thumb for the number of sentences to write in each body paragraph is 5-8.
Be sure to look out for fragments, run-ons, comma splices, and misspellings. If you are unsure of what these are, see the following document for these and other common errors to avoid.
Here is how your essay should read:
Make sure you understand what you must do in order to prepare for the WSAT. Look over this presentation as often as necessary. Practice on Topic #2. Put your kitchen's oven timer to 50 minutes. See what kind of essay you can write for Topic #2 in a 50 minute time period.
Keep Practicing and Good Luck!
Brainstorming for reasons why raising the high school drop-out age from 16 to 18 is a good idea:
staying in high school and receiving more education makes a young person more knowledgeable
earning a high school diploma makes a young person eligible for more and better jobs
earning a high school diploma makes a young person eligible for college
having an educated work force makes America more competitive
staying in high school shows perseverence
What are the WSAT readers looking for? An essay that is focused, coherent, thoughtful, unified, and creative. Also, an essay that is free from errors.