General Essay Writing Practice Test

Updated on Sep 2, 2011

General Essay Writing Practice Test

To gauge your essay-writing skills and your understanding of the writing process, take the following practice test. Though the questions differ from those on the Introductory Essay Writing Practice Test, the format and material covered are the same, so you will be able to directly compare results.

When you complete the test, check your answers, and then compare your score with the one you received on the introductory practice test.

Take as much time as you need for Part 1 (although 20 minutes is an average completion time).When you're finished, check your answers against the answer key. Each answer tells you which lesson deals with the concept addressed in that question. Set aside another 30 minutes to complete Part 2.

Part 1

  1. If your essay is well written, there's no need to completely fulfill the assignment.
    1. true
    2. false
  2. In general, you should write for which audience?
    1. your classmates
    2. your teacher, admissions officer, or exam reader
    3. yourself
    4. a general reader
  3. Which of the following introductory tasks does this introduction fail to do?
      In this essay, I would like to consider why the Great Depression occurred. Some people contend that it was caused by the stock market crash of 1929.Many economists point to the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act as the real reason. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that neither of these factors caused the Great Depression.
    1. Provide context.
    2. State the thesis.
    3. Grab the reader's attention.
    4. Set the tone for the essay.
  4. In the following paragraph, which is the topic sentence?
      Too much sun can produce many negative consequences. First, it can dry your skin, which in turn reduces its elasticity and speeds the aging process. Second, too much sun can burn unprotected skin and cause permanent discoloration and damage to the dermis. Most importantly, long-term exposure of unprotected skin can result in skin cancer.
    1. the first sentence
    2. the second sentence
    3. the third sentence
    4. the fourth sentence
  5. Which two organizational strategies does the paragraph in question 4 use?
    1. order of importance and comparison/contrast
    2. cause/effect and chronology
    3. classification and chronology
    4. order of importance and cause/effect
  6. Three supporting ideas should be sufficient for any essay assignment.
    1. true
    2. false
  7. A single-sentence paragraph is appropriate if
    1. you don't have any support for the assertion in that sentence.
    2. you have too many long paragraphs throughout the essay.
    3. it's a particularly well-written sentence.
    4. you want to emphasize the idea in that sentence.
  8. Read the following essay assignment carefully. Which of the sentences best describes the kind of essay that you should write?
      In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud explains why he believes civilized people are unhappy. Summarize his theory and evaluate it.
    1. Describe the main points of Freud's theory and assess the validity of that theory.
    2. Define "civilization" and show examples of civilized communities.
    3. Describe several examples that illustrate Freud's theory.
    4. Describe the main points of Freud's theory and express your opinion about his theory.
  9. When revising an essay, which of the following issues should you address first?
    1. grammar and spelling
    2. organization and transitions
    3. thesis and support
    4. introductory paragraph
  10. Which of the following sentences has the most effective word choice?
    1. She was scared.
    2. She was petrified.
    3. She was frightened.
    4. She was scared stiff.
  11. Which of the following would be a problem in a concluding paragraph?
    1. It doesn't restate the thesis.
    2. It frames the essay.
    3. It arouses the reader's emotions.
    4. It doesn't bring up any ideas that aren't related to the thesis.
  12. Which of the following is typically the best organizational strategy in an argument?
    1. order of importance (least to most important)
    2. order of importance (most to least important)
    3. cause and effect
    4. comparison and contrast
  13. Identify the grammatical problem in the following sentence.
      After he mastered the trumpet, he learned the guitar, and then learned how to play the piano, he went on to become one of the greatest jazz pianists in the world.
    1. sentence fragment
    2. agreement
    3. run-on sentence
    4. incorrect word choice
  14. On an essay exam, most of your time should be spent
    1. planning.
    2. drafting.
    3. proofreading.
    4. editing.
  15. An introduction should never be more than one paragraph long.
    1. true
    2. false
  16. What is the main problem with the following sentence?
      After his fight with Alan, he swore he would never let anyone use his car again without his permission.
    1. It's a run-on sentence.
    2. It's a run-on sentence.
    3. It's unnecessarily wordy.
    4. Its pronouns may be confusing.
  17. A thesis should be which of the following?
    1. short
    2. clear
    3. assertive
    4. both a and b
    5. both b and c
  18. Outlining should typically occur
    1. before you brainstorm.
    2. after you brainstorm.
    3. after you write your first rough draft.
    4. before you revise.
  19. Which of the underlined words in the following paragraph are transitions?
      Too much (1) sun can produce many negative consequences. First (2), it can dry your skin, which in turn reduces its elasticity and (3) speeds the aging process. Second (4), too much sun can burn unprotected skin and cause permanent discoloration and damage to the dermis (5). Most importantly (6), long-term exposure of unprotected skin can result in (7) skin cancer.
    1. 1, 2, and 3
    2. 2, 4, and 5
    3. 2, 6, and 7
    4. 2, 4, and 6
  20. Credibility is best established by which of the following?
    1. expertise and freedom from bias
    2. expertise and education
    3. education and bias
    4. reputation and freedom from bias

Part 2

Set a timer for 30 minutes. When you're ready to begin, read the essay assignment that follows carefully. Use the space provided to write your essay. Stop writing when 20 minutes have elapsed, even if you haven't completed your essay. When you're finished, look at the scoring chart in the answer key to estimate your essay's score.

Essay Assignment

Many people feel that a movie isn't a success if it doesn't force viewers to think about an important issue or idea. Others argue that movies are successful as long as they entertain us; they don't have to have any ideological, political, or social agenda. What do you think? Is being entertaining enough? Or should movies do more? Why? Provide specific examples to support your position.


Answers: Part 1

If you miss any of the answers, you can find help for that question type in the lesson(s) shown to the right of the answer.


Answers: Part 2

Use the scoring chart below to evaluate your essay. After you assign a number for each of the categories shown on the chart, average the numbers to get an overall score.


Add your own comment

Ask a Question

Have questions about this article or topic? Ask
150 Characters allowed