Friday, April 3, 2009

Essay Practice

Whether in WordPad or with good old pen and paper, writing an acceptable impromptu essay within a time limit takes some practice.

Don't you miss those days?

I remember preparing for the Regent's Exam when I was in college. I rehearsed by writing several essays from a list of sample topics I'd found somewhere. Imagine my surprise when the day of the test arrived, and my actual assignment was one of the ones I had practiced at home. Woo Hoo!

I had a somewhat kooky literature professor who required us to write dozens of in-class essays on books and poems we were required to read. I would sit at home and try to imagine what she would ask of us in class, and I would outline and write my responses. It worked more times than you can believe.

Here's hoping it also works for these two! English Composition CLEP and SAT are coming quickly.

1 comment:

DangAndBlast! said...

One of the best teachers I ever had was a high school AP US History teacher. He (rightfully) pointed out that a well-taught class doesn't need to be "taught to the test"; if they know the subject well enough, and know how to express themselves, they'll test well on it, whatever the format. We had to write constant essays. He'd give us "term lists" (gold standard, Missouri Compromise, Pres. McKinley, etc.), and the best way to study would be to write a strong essay *very fast* on each term -- because the tests would largely be drawing a term out of a hat and writing an essay on it.

The other teacher "taught to the test"; his students generally got about a 3 on the AP; my teacher's students never scored below a 4, and usually got a 5, without seeing a single practice test. It's all about the preparation!

That's still the hardest class I ever took -- and I have 2 Master's degrees -- but it sure taught me how to write coherent essays on demand!