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The Writing Section Guides for COMPASS


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5 Points to Remember When You Select a COMPASS Writing Study Guide

If you are studying for the COMPASS and are looking for a study guide for English, you must be careful in your selection. Most guides available freely on the internet are misleading and are only vying for attention to make commercial gains. Choosing a wrong study guide is akin to wasting time on preparation that is not necessary. It carries unnecessary risks, considering that the content might be outdated or repetitive. Here is a list of points that you should be considering before selecting a guide.

Choosing a Guide for the COMPASS Writing Test

  1. Choose a guide from a good publisher:

    It is important that you choose a book that is from a good publisher such as Kaplan or Barron's. Beware of duplicates. They simply blunt your preparation.

  2. Select a guide that has some practice tests:

    It is important not to underestimate practice for the writing section. The first practice test should be used to determine your current capability, and to set a target score in your preparation. The consequent ones should be used to track your progress.

  3. Select a guide that has strategies and tips focused on the exam:

    Many times, students select a book just because their friends are using the same but this should be avoided. The COMPASS exam is an untimed computer adaptive test. The emphasis is on finding your current capability, and is not meant to be taken to compare you with other students. This is a marked departure from the GMAT or other such competitive tests. Consequently, a guide that focuses on COMPASS is a safer and a better bet for your preparation.

  4. Select a guide that explains the answers:

    Many guides simply provide an answer key, but do not specify how a particular answer was arrived at. This will not help in the writing section, because sentences can be interpreted differently. The point of view of the author, therefore, carries importance. A simple answer key will leave you confused as to why your answer was not right.

  5. Be careful about bulky guides:

    Some guides have pages numbering hundreds. These guides could be easily mistaken to be comprehensive and all inclusive. This is not true. Remember that you are selecting a prep book for a fast paced revision of the questions relevant for the exam. A guide should not be mistaken for a reference book.

To help you prepare, reviews of three guides are given below

Compass Writing Test Success: Compass Test Writing Practice Tests by Academic Success Media

This is a comprehensive guide dedicated to the writing section. It helps in refreshing skills in grammar, composition and styles. The book is a one-stop solution for students and instructors. It also provides more than 15 practice tests that are vital in ensuring your actual exam is as comfortable as possible. The paperback version of this book is available for a paltry 16 USD, and provides a sure bang for your buck.

COMPASS Exam - Doug French's Verbal Review (Accuplacer & COMPASS Test Preparation)

Coming from a credible author well-versed with competitive exams, this book is meant to prepare you for both reading and writing sections. It contains helpful tips and strategies for the entire exam that even cover essay writing. It also contains two practice tests and  it is an excellent guide if you like being provided with tips as you progress in the test. It is available in the paperback edition for around 14 USD.

COMPASS Exam Success: The Easy Breezy Guide to Help COMPASS Test Takers [Paperback]

You might want to pick up this guide if all you want is a small brush-up for the exam. This is not a comprehensive guide, and you will be disappointed if you bank on this guide for your complete preparation. While dealing with the subject matter in a friendly way, it tends to underestimate the importance of the exam. With a price tag of around 30 USD, this might not be the guide you should expect much from.


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