When I first took the CBEST test, I went in without preparation. I past the writing section the first time; the other sections I scored just below 41. Since most test takers write extensively, they will pass the write portion of the test. However, there are test takers that struggle with writing and placing their ideas in written form.
Back to Basics
The CBEST test, you are given two essay prompts: The Writing test consists of two essay questions. One of the essay questions asks examinees to write about a remembered experience. The other question is designed to elicit expository prose that will permit writers to demonstrate their analytic skills (CBEST, 2013).
You are only given two pages for each essay, so your writing must be concise and articulate. Recall the five paragraph essay: the introduction, one paragraph; the body, three paragraphs; the conclusion, one paragraph. Remember, you are not writing a thesis or dissertation, keep it simple.
Most CBEST study guides have examples of an essay. Read several times the ones that are scored as “4” and “3”. Then read the ones that are less than “3” once to compare.
Use a regular school note pad or paper to practice handwriting your essay to simulate the test.
Below, I have provided you with past writing prompts from the Learning Resource Center at CSU Northridge. Here is the link, http://www.csun.edu/~hflrc006/ep16et.html
1. Technology is very much a part of modern life. Many people see technology as a force that has escaped from human control. Others feel that technology has improved the quality of life. Do you think that the contribution technology has made to modern life has been positive or negative? State your position on this issue and support it with appropriate examples.
2. Imagine that you could have made one change in your college experience. Explain what change you would have made and what difference it would have made.
3. Many childhood experiences leave lifelong impressions on people. Write an essay in which you describe a memorable childhood experience and explain its effect on your life.
4. "The U.S. is becoming a nation of spectators--people who prefer to sit back and observe rather than a nation of doers. " Explain why you agree or disagree with the quotation above. Support your position with examples from your readings, observations, or experiences.
5. Think of one course taken in either high school or college that has had particular significance for you and explain why this course has had such an impact.
6. Wanting something and not getting it can be very disappointing, but wanting something and then getting it can be disappointing too. Have you ever wanted something, gotten it, and then were disappointed? Describe these disappointments.
7. In American sports, there have recently developed two philosophies. One philosophy is win at any cost. The other philosophy is fair play or sportsmanship. Choose the philosophy you feel is prevalent in America today and give reasons why you feel that philosophy is prevalent.
8. Throughout your school life you may have taken a particular course about which you had certain expectations which may not have been met. Describe your expectations and how that course did not satisfy those expectations.
9. Some students can look back on their years in school and pinpoint one particular course or one particular teacher most instrumental in shaping their lives. Reflect on your own school years and focus on one such instructor or course. Describe the conditions or qualities that made that particular experience or teacher special.
10. A recent movement in education has been called "Back to Basics." Its proponents argue that the curriculum should concentrate only on reading, writing and mathematics skills and completely ignore such courses as sociology, art appreciation, and drama. Imagine that you are a school principal faced with the task of making policy for your school. Present your argument(s) either for or against "Back to Basics."
CBEST. (2013, June 4). CBEST. Retrieved from CBEST: http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/PDFs/CBESTUpdatedTestSpecs.pdf
6/4/2013 | Joe S. | 4 comments
Topics for the Writing Section of CBEST
Best Way to Write CBEST Essay
The Law and Employment Board of California stresses that all educators who are working or aspire to work in the state should be certified through the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). This test is developed by Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) by specialized educators in order to assess competencies of a candidate who wishes to join the teaching profession. However, this test is not a credibility test and does not provide any form of ranking for those who take it.
About the Writing Section:
According to the CTC guidelines, in order to pass this section and other sections of the CBEST, you need a minimum score of 41. The minimum and maximum score one can obtain in each subtest is 20 and 80. Apart from this score, the Writing section is scored on a scale of 1-4 based on the style of written communication. Since this section involves two performance assignments based on expository and narrative writing, test preparations takes more time. However, there are a few things that are common in essay writing, irrespective of the topics, that can be incorporated in order to improve the quality of the write-up.
Helpful Essay Writing Tips:
Outline Your Thoughts: This section is designed to assess the test taker's specific competencies in writing essays and since thesehave to be completed in a specified time frame, it is suggested that you invest the first few minutes in creating an outline for your essay.
Strong Opening Statement: The opening line of every presentation is what catches the reader's eye. Thus, the opening statement should have your opinion highlighted in order to give a good start to your response.
Account All the Aspects: The essays require you to assess the entire situation and acknowledge the counterviews in order to present an unprejudiced opinion.
Mention a Conclusion: It is suggested to mention a conclusion towards the end of your response, which would reflect and summarize the arguments of the essay in a clear, simple yet strong manner.
Expository Essay Writing:
The topics for expository essays will involve analytical thinking and require the candidate to express his or her opinion on the matter along with acknowledging counterviews. It is important for you to state realistic arguments and create your write-up. Some of the sample topics for expository essays from the official test website are mentioned below:
ZigZiglar, a well-known motivational speaker once said, "Obviously, there is little you can learn from doing nothing." Explain whether you agree or disagree with this statement.
In American sports, there have recently developed two philosophies. One philosophy is winning at any cost. The other philosophy is fair play or sportsmanship. Choose the philosophy you feel is prevalent in America today and give reasons why you feel that philosophy is prevalent.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, "We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities." In an essay to be read by an audience of educated adults, state whether you agree or disagree with Wilde's observation. Support your position with logical arguments and specific examples.
Narrative Essay Writing:
In narrative essay writing, you are required to discuss a personal experience. Hence, it is best to keep the description of your experience short and simple. Alongside, you have to mentionwhat you have learned through your experience. Given below are some of the topics that you can work on:
Dan Rather, former CBS anchorman, spoke of teachers who help other by being one "who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." Consider a situation where a teacher, coach, mentor, friend or relative acted in this way towards you.
Imagine that you could have made one change in your college experience. Explain what change you would have made and what difference it would have made.
Many childhood experiences leave lifelong impressions on people. Write an essay in which you describe a memorable childhood experience and explain its effect on your life.
It is suggested that you visit http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/PDFs/CA_OPT_Writing.pdf and check out the sample topics for the Writing section provided there. Some other websites you can refer to are http://www.ocde.us/Leadership/Documents/CBEST%20Writing%20Sample.pdf and http://www.teacherstestprep.com/quizpage/289/304. You can also visit http://www.csun.edu/~hflrc006/ep16et.html for the topics that have appeared in past CBEST exams.
It is essential that you keep practising on a regular basis, develop a good typing speed and minimize grammatical or typo errors in order to score high in this section of the CBEST. The flair for essay writing is developed overnight, thus, it is important that you read sample essays and work on sample topics regularly.