Exam!” Give me a lesson now!
Regularly in my Advanced TOEFL iBT Preparation class at California State University, San Bernardino, I assign practice writing exams so that students can practice writing timed essays under the 30 minute or 20 minute time constraint. And today was one of those days with the assignment being based on the following prompt: What pieces of advice would you give to someone who is visiting your country for the first time? Use specific reasons and examples to support your point of vew.
A discussion of three responses to this question may raise your awareness of how to successfully approach this type of writing situation:
Student A: This student received a score of 2.0/5.0 not because she is a bad writer but because she failed to finish her essay. Beginning with a sharply focused thesis, she wrote two well-written paragraphs but did not include her third and fourth paragraphs because she ran out of time. Therefore, she neglected to develop the second point forecast in her thesis and did not write a conclusion for her essay.
Student B: This student received a score of 2.0/5.0 not because she is a bad writer. She simply did not directly address the writing assignment despite her having written five paragraphs. Additionally, she did not include a thesis in the introduction, so the essay did not have a clear direction.
Student C: This student received a 4.0/5.0 because he wrote a well-organized 390 word essay, and, beginning with a sharply focused thesis framed around three pieces of advice, he restated each piece of advice in each topic sentence of his developmental paragraphs. Finally, he gave specific examples to support the topics in each of his paragraphs, which allowed him to write almost 400 words in 30 minutes.
All three students worked hard but only one got a high score. And speaking of high TOEFL iBT scores, you can read more success stories at http://www.english-test.net/forum/forum16.html .
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