The ACCUPLACER writing test that UTEP administers for placement purposes and Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements is called WritePlacer Texas.
When you take a WritePlacer test, you will be given a topic and asked to write an essay about it. You will have to plan, write, review, and revise your essay in 60 minutes. Essays are scored on the overall quality of your writing and scores range from 0 to 8.
Instructions for the Essay
You will be asked to prepare a multiple-paragraph essay of 300-600 words on a specific topic. You should use the time available to plan, write, review, and edit what you have written. You must read the assignment carefully before you begin to write.
Your writing sample will be scored on the basis of how effectively it communicates a whole message to the readers for the stated purpose. Your score will be based on your ability to express, organize, and support your opinions and ideas, not the position you take on the essay topic.
The following five characteristics of writing will be considered:
The clarity with which you maintain your main idea or point of view.
The clarity with which you structure your response and present a logical sequence of ideas.
Development and Support
The extent to which you elaborate on your ideas and the extent to which you present supporting details.
The effectiveness of your sentence structure.
The extent to which your writing is free of errors in usage and mechanics.
Instructions for the Essay
Be sure to write about the topic indicated and use multiple paragraphs. You may not use any books or papers or other reference materials during the test. Remember to review your writing and make any changes you think will improve what you have written.
You will be given 60 minutes to write your essay. Proctors will go through the instructions and then tell you to put your cursor in the box. Time will then begin to count down from 60 minutes.
You will not be able to draft an outline on paper after you read the prompt and before you put your cursor in the box. You will be able to use scratch paper once you have started your essay to draft an outline or brainstorm ideas.
You can also draft an outline or brainstorm ideas on the computer but be sure to erase all writing except your finished essay before your time is up.
Tips on Writing the Essay
Topics are often described in such a way that you must take a position either for or against an issue. Sometimes you are given one pro and one con to get you started. Remember to take just one side (for or against) and support it. The best way to approach an Accuplacer essay is to prepare a basic five paragraph essay.
For some topics you are asked to describe a relationship. For example, you may be asked to write an essay about a famous person that you would like to spend the day with. For these types of prompts, you must be careful not to only describe the person and his or her qualities. You must also discuss how time spent with this individual would benefit you. Again, a basic five paragraph essay will work.
Six Steps for Writing a Basic Five Paragraph Essay
1. Analyze the assignment for subject and issue.
2. Take a position on the issue and write a thesis statement which explains your position.
3. Decide on three ideas to support your position.
4. Write an introductory paragraph which includes your position statement and your three main supporting ideas.
5. Turn each of your three main ideas into a well-developed paragraph.
6. Write a conclusion which restates your position statement and your three main ideas in different words. Do not introduce new points in your conclusion.
Sample Essay Topics
Your essay will always be persuasive for an academic audience.
Some schools require each student to participate in an organized school sport chosen by the student. People at these schools argue that athletics is an important part of the educational experience and that there should be a rule requiring participation. Others argue that students should be free to decide whether or not they wish to participate in organized school sports. Write an essay for a classroom instructor in which you take a position on whether participation in organized school athletics should be required. Be sure to defend your position with logical arguments and appropriate examples.
Sample Essay Topics
If you could spend the day with any famous person, who would it be and why?
Write an essay for a classroom instructor in which you discuss how time spent with this individual would benefit you. Be careful not to only describe the person and his or her qualities.
Watch Your Time
Watch your time for when you have about 15 minutes left. It is CRUCIAL to your score to carefully review what you have written and amend your introduction if necessary so that it matches the body of your essay. This means that you must introduce each of your supporting points in your introduction. Also make sure that your conclusion restates your introduction in different words.
It is also very important to your score that you do a separate review for subject verb agreement, spelling and punctuation.
Good Paragraphs Make Good Essays
Each paragraph must have a clear, well supported topic sentence.
The topic must be sufficiently developed, using examples, reasons and definitions.
Sentences should be in logical order.
Special terms should be defined.
Unnecessary words should be left out.
Good Paragraphs Make Good Essays
Transitions should be used, especially between paragraphs so readers will follow your train of thought.
All pronouns should have clear antecedents.
Subjects and verbs must agree.
Each sentence must have a clear subject.
Spelling and punctuation must be correct.
Websites to Help You Prepare
If you have trouble with grammar, it will affect your Accuplacer writing score. Following are some web sites to help you practice English Grammar:
http://blackboard.bccc.edu This web site offers links to various other sites, such as one that has 170 interactive quizzes; one that has an interactive book of traditional grammar help; ones that offer online English exercises; and others that have tests and quizzes designed to strengthen English grammar from basic to advanced levels.
http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quiz_list.htm This site has interactive grammar quizzes.
Tutoring can help you prepare
The Writing Tutors at the Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC) can help you with the entire writing process. You can meet with a tutor to discuss how to outline a topic and later to review your essay with regard to focus, organization, development and support, sentence structure and mechanics.
The TLC Learning Assistance Lab also has software called Easy Writer on which you can practice revising pre-written essays.
The TLC Writing Room is open during the following hours:
Mondays through Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Fridays from 9:00 am to 12 Noon
Services are offered on a walk-in, first-come, first-serve basis and are free to currently enrolled UTEP students. Services are also extended free of charge to students who are preparing to take UTEP entrance exams, such as Accuplacer.
English Course Placements based on Accuplacer Writing Scores
Essay Sentence Skills UTEP Placement
0-2 N/A ENGL 0309 (at EPCC)
3-4 N/A ENGL 0311
5 20-120 ENGL 0311
6 N/A ENGL 1311 and
7-8 N/A ENGL 1311
Essay Sentence Skills EPCC Placement
0-4 N/A ENGL 0309
5 20-79 ENGL 0309
5 80-120 ENGL 0310
6-8 N/A ENGL 1301
Sentence Skills Section
When taking the Writing Accuplacer Test, the Sentence Skills section will only be required if you score a 5 on the Essay. In this case, the score you get on the Sentence Skills test will indicate whether or not you have satisfied the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). What you score on the Sentence Skills test does not affect your UTEP placement.
If you score a 5 on the Essay and then you score an 80 on the on the Sentence Skills test, you will have cleared TSI. This has been the TSI policy since November 3, 2003.
When you cross the street in the middle of the block, this
You cross the street in the middle of the block, this
Crossing the street in the middle of the block
The fact that you cross the street in the middle of the block
Sentence Skills Sample Questions
7. Walking by the corner the other day, a child, I noticed, was watching for the light to change.
a child, I noticed, was
I noticed a child watching
a child was watching, I noticed,
there was, I noticed, a child watching
Sentence Skills Sample Questions: Construction Shift
In Construction Shift questions, you are asked to rewritethe sentence in your head, following the directions given. Keep in mind that your new sentence should be well written and should have essentially the same meaning as the sentence given.
8. Being a female jockey, she was often interviewed. Rewrite, beginning with She was often interviewed...
The next words will be
on account of she was
by her being
because she was
being as she was
9. In his songs, Gordon Lightfoot makes melody and lyrics intricately intertwine.
Rewrite, beginning with Melody and lyrics...
Your new sentence will include
Gordon Lightfoot has
make Gordon Lightfoot's
in Gordon Lightfoot's
does Gordon Lightfoot
10. It is easy to carry solid objects without spilling them, but the same cannot be said of liquids.