All about CBEST Essays
CBEST essays are the essay-type answers that a CBEST examinee has to write in response to questions in the Writing Skills section of the CBEST examination, which primarily assesses the writer's aptitude in English Writing & Communication. One's power of analysis is a secondary skill that is tested in this section of the CBEST.
The Format of the CBEST Writing Skills Examination
The CBEST Writing Skills section consists of only two questions, for which one has to provide essay type answers. Both the questions present a scenario, each. The examinee has to write CBEST essays based on the criteria pertaining to these scenarios. Answering both the questions with CBEST essays is mandatory for qualifying in this section of CBEST. One of these questions aims to assess your skills of analyzing a given scenario. The other question tests your English writing skills and creativity, by presenting to you a question that requires you to state a personal experience.
The total time allotted for the CBEST examination is 4 hours. Hence, one has to allot a specific amount of time for the Writing Skills section from the given 4 hours. A maximum of 30 minutes is allotted for answering each question, and as one has to write a lengthy essay in that time period. The CBEST Writing Skills section tests one's ability to effectively pen down one's ideas. Similar to answers of other sections, the CBEST essays are also scored on a scale of 20-80, with a passing score specification of 41, and a minimum passing score of 37.
A Closer Look at the CBEST Essays:
In this section, we will discuss certain aspects of the CBEST essays in details:
1st CBEST Essay - This essay has to written to express the examinee's opinion on the topic given in the first question. The topics of this section are usually based on general awareness. The essay for the question of this section is best written in the persuasive style. The ability of the examinee to clearly communicate is assessed in this section. Though factual accuracy is important, the examiners will be laying more emphasis on evaluating the Writing competency of the CBEST examinee. In CBEST essays of this type, you have to first form an opinion and then form questions, which you can answer to persuade the readers to follow your opinion.
2nd CBEST Essay - This CBEST essay is to be written in a narrative style. In these, the examinee has to convey in clear terms a personal experience. However, it is not necessary for the examinee to have really experienced the situation presented in this question. The examinee has to only be able to write an impressive narration, which is as realistic as a personal opinion.
Scoring Your CBEST Essays
Your CBEST essays are evaluated by professors from California and Oregon. These essays are evaluated on a set of standardized criteria as follows:
- Effective delivery and writing style
- Organization of content
- Development and support
- Appropriateness of content
- Structure of content and the writing conventions used
- Content usage
Tips for writing CBEST Essays
Make a rough draft for your CBEST essays - It is better to make a rough draft for your CBEST essays before writing them out in the space allotted for answering those, as you can quickly correct your mistakes. However, as there is less time for writing long CBEST essays, you should be fast in making the rough draft and writing a fair copy out of it.
Spend the first 4-5 minutes in planning the content of your essays and how well you can organize them - For answering both the CBEST Writing Skills questions, you should spend the first 4-5 minutes in planning your CBEST essays and then organizing them logically into paragraphs. A lot of weight-age is given to the organization of content in paragraphs and evaluators suggest that the content should be organized into 5 paragraphs conveying 3 complete ideas, on the whole. More weightage is given to content-richness and length of the essays written.
Be realistic in your arguments - Though the CBEST essays are meant to assess your writing abilities, and not much importance is given to factual accuracy, the examinee should always aim to be as realistic as possible, as the content is meant for an educated and mature audience.
Concentrate more on vocabulary than technical appropriateness - As your writing skills are given more weightage than your technical expertise, you can concentrate more on the Vocabulary and Writing Skills aspect than your knowledge of the subject.
Good handwriting is very important - Good handwriting is of utmost importance in your CBEST essays. The CBEST evaluation team has less time for checking the answer sheets and they will disqualify an answer if it does not easily and clearly convey that which is written.
Practice CBEST essays well - Before you attempt CBEST essays, practice them well as that will give you adequate training to get acquainted with the CBEST essay pattern.
CBEST essays are the long answers that are written by candidates in response to questions in the CBEST Writing Skills section. One needs to focus on the criteria that this test aims to assess in the CBEST examinees and answer it, and practice them well in order to perform well in this examination.
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