Writing Test Review for Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Test Study Guide (page 2)
Good writing skills are essential to success as a teacher. To be effective both in the classroom and with your colleagues, it's important to be able to communicate ideas clearly and accurately in written English. This lesson reviews the elements of good writing: basic grammar, sentence structure, verb and pronoun agreement, and idiomatic expressions.
The PPST Writing Test is divided into two parts. Section 1 presents multiple-choice questions that measure your ability to identify errors in grammar or sentence structure, and to recognize the correct use of standard written English. Section 2 asks you to write a short essay about an assigned, general topic. The writing topics are designed so that you do not need any specialized knowledge to respond to the prompt. However, you will need to demonstrate that you can organize and support your thoughts effectively in writing. You will be given 30 minutes to create a clear, well-developed essay. The essay portion of the writing test is not designed to showcase creative writing; rather, it focuses on your ability to follow the rules of English grammar and avoid common errors.
The computerized writing test varies slightly from the paper-and-pencil test—these differences are outlined in the following chart.
Types of Multiple-Choice Questions
In the first part of the writing test, you will not do any writing at all. Rather, you will answer multiple-choice questions that measure your knowledge of the basics of grammar, sentence construction, and appropriate word choice, and your ability to locate errors. There are two basic types of multiple-choice questions in the writing test. To give yourself an advantage on test day, familiarize yourself with each type now.
Type 1—Usage Questions
In these questions, you need to be able to identify errors and oddities in sentences. You will be presented with a sentence that has four underlined words, phrases, or punctuation marks. You will choose the underlined portion that is incorrect. Some sentences are correct. In that case, you would select "No error," choice e. None of the sentences has more than one error. Here are some examples:
- Acid rain , feels, even tastes clean rainwater, but it actually high levels .
- , writers the opportunity and imagine what the world like in the future.
- c. The problem in this sentence is noun and verb agreement. The pronoun it (referring to the subject acid rain) is singular, so the verb should be singular as well—contains.
- e. Because this sentence contains no grammatical, idiomatic, logical, or structural errors, the correct answer is choice e.
On the computer-based test, the underlined words or phrases do not correspond with the answer choices a–e. Instead, you simply highlight your answer choice by clicking on it. To alter your highlight, click on another underlined word or phrase in the sentence. If there are no problems in the sentence, click on "No error." Here is an example of what you will see on your computer screen:
Less teachers attended the conference this year, even though it offered more workshops and seminars. No error
teachers attended the conference this year, even though it offered more workshops and seminars. No error
The first underlined choice contains a grammatical error. The modifier less describes singular nouns that represent a quantity or degree. The modifier fewer would be correct in this context—it describes plural nouns, or things that can be counted.
Type 2—Sentence Correction
In these questions, you will demonstrate your ability to recognize and correct awkward sentence constructions and other grammatical elements. You will be shown a sentence with one part of it underlined. You will be asked to select one of five possible ways to rephrase the underlined part. Choice a always repeats the original phrasing, whereas choices b–e suggest changes to the underlined portion. Choose the phrasing that creates the most effective sentence with wording that is clear, exact, and without awkwardness or redundancy. If you think the original phrasing is better than the suggested alternatives, select the first answer choice. Here are some examples of this question type.
- Lee Iacocca, the son of Italian immigrants, worked arduously to reach the top rungs of the Ford Motor Company corporate ladder.
- worked arduously
- worked arduous
- did worked arduously
- has work arduously
- had worked arduous
- As an employee, one is eligible for the benefits we worked to attain, including health insurance, life insurance, and a retirement plan.
- As an employee, one is eligible
- We the employees are either eligible
- The employee is eligible
- Either the employee is eligible
- As employees, we are eligible
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