What I should do when cbest writing only needs improve usage?

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by Yolanda sixnine, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. Yolanda sixnine

    Yolanda sixnine New Member

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    Jan 28, 2019

    Hi, guys,
    This is my fourth time to take the writing section of CBEST. Before, I have taken three times and always got 26. The newest score report shows that I need improve usage, but the last report shows that I need improve Structure and Conventions, usage and organization. Then, I found a tutor to teach me so that I only need improve usage now. The strange thing is I still get 26 even though I don't need improve Structure & Conventions and organization.
    Anyway, you can see that now the biggest problem for me is usage. I don't know how to improve it. I am a nonnative speaker so I do not have a big quantity of vocabulary. What methods you can teach me to help me solve this problem? I really need to know, and I also have lost much confidence to upcoming writing test.
    I really appreciate your help if you can provide me useful advice.
     
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  3. Owl13

    Owl13 New Member

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    Feb 19, 2019

    Hi, Yolanda,

    I recently took the writing portion 2/19 and I got a 26. This would be my 3rd attempt and still With the same score. Apparently I also need “usage” this time around. But what makes me wonder why is my score any higher. Where in the past occasions I had so many other pointers to worry about and ways to improve my writing. This makes me wonder about the people grading the essays.- Any suggestions?
     
  4. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 19, 2019

    I suggest writing in a daily journal. Essentially, this method can help you edit, revise, carefully write, and practice the necessary writing skills. It is a perfect opportunity to improve your writing.
     
  5. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 19, 2019

    The best way to improve your writing is to continue writing on your own. Improving Usage means you need to work on your grammar, style, and diction. Make sure you practice this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 19, 2019

    The numerical score on a basic skills essay is a holistic score that indicates how well the scorers think the essay succeeds overall. Diagnostics aren't given when the combined essay scaled score is 41 points or better, so the diagnostics reflect someone's educated guess as to why the scorers didn't think the essay met the passing standard.

    "Usage" refers to vocabulary. Scorers expect to see words that are suited to the subject matter, the tone and viewpoint of the essay, and the audience. (Bear in mind that, where the essay prompt doesn't specify an audience, the audience is assumed to be educated readers.) Scorers also hope to see some variation in vocabulary. Yolande, in your first post on this thread you use the verbs "need" several times in just a few sentences; in informal writing on a discussion board or FaceBook there's nothing wrong with that repetition, but in formal writing it is less accepted. Let me recommend looking over your own writing for words that you overuse, then using a thesaurus to find a few substitutes for the most common ones. (Try "should improve", "must improve", or "it is necessary that I improve").

    (Let me also point out that, as a non-native writer, you're better off treating "need" as a full verb and not a modal: the phrase you wanted is "need to improve", with the infinitive marker TO.)
     

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