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  #1  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:00 PM
ilazuardi10 ilazuardi10 is offline
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CBEST writing test for non native speaker

Hi,
My name is Ivan and I'm currently pursuing my MA in Special Education with m/s teaching credential.
I've passed all of my CSET exams and CBEST math/reading portions, yet I have been struggling to pass my writing section. matter of fact, I've taken the test 6 times, yet, keep getting the same score.
It is very frustrating, but I realize that i'm not the only one who is having trouble passing the exam. As a non native speaker I have trouble with my grammar, and word choices. But at the same time, i find it really difficult to write a solid, concise, cohesive essay on a short period of time, especially on a given random topic.
also I've tried reading the Cliff note CBEST guides, and some of the samples seem very well developed which impossible for me to match their quality based on the given circumstances of timed exam and my limited writing skill.
any input please?
thank you so much
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:09 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is online now
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Calif.
Welcome to A to Z, ilazuardi10, and hugs as regards CBEST.

It's hard to know what to suggest without knowing more about your writing. What score have you been getting, and what diagnostic indicators do you see on the official score reports? Do you see the same collection each time, or has it varied? The categories are

- Rhetorical force
- Organization
- Support and development
- Usage
- Structure and conventions
- Appropriateness
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:10 PM
ilazuardi10 ilazuardi10 is offline
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thank you for the reply.
i keep getting the same indication for areas of improvement in:
-usage
-structure and convention.

my scores stay in consistent 26 points. there were 2 tests which i earned 29. Each time I felt good after taking the test, i kept hearing ugly news.

so my question also is, obviously the test examiner will not expect a perfect essay, rather looking on one's ability to write and proven a point in a given topic.
so what would deduct an essay score the most? spelling? grammar? let say in a good written essay, if there were 1 bad usage of word choice or grammar flaw, will that instantly cause the essay to fail?

thank you so much
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:26 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is online now
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One usage or conventions error won't doom an otherwise good essay, no.

How many points do you have in reading comprehension and math, together?

What is your first language? Did you attend university in California?
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:56 PM
ilazuardi10 ilazuardi10 is offline
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I'm from indonesia and I earned my BA in CSULA. I earned 44 on reading and 49 on my math. I still need min 37 to pass my writing, correct?
thanks
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:45 AM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is online now
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Um. "Indonesia" doesn't tell me what your first language is, though it narrows the possibilities down to only about 700 or so; Bahasa is fairly likely, of course.)

As to you needing 37 points, yes, and there's no point in you retaking either of the other two sections; you probably already figured that out.

What you'd probably most benefit from is essay practice with feedback. If you are now enrolled at a CSU, your cheapest option might be to go to the campus writing lab - most CSUs have one, and it's run either through the tutoring center or through the English or composition/rhetoric departments - for help in writing CBEST essays; this help should be free to enrolled students. Is that practical for you?
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  #7  
Old 11-26-2012, 01:59 PM
ilazuardi10 ilazuardi10 is offline
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Sorry for not being too specific, yes i speak bahasa. the language is relatively simple to learn and not as technical as English. There is no past/present tense,nor gender subject or possessive. Bahasa tend to be more "wordy" with their sentences, where english emphasis more concise and short sentences. this is why, i have to carefully construct my sentences and break out from my habit. I'm currently attending APU for my MA. they do have writing lab, but they only focus more on revising research paper. none of the staff ever worked with any CBEST students (or in this case anyone who shares similar situation with me). I'm just trying to hear out from other success stories of passing CBEST writing exam. I know some may find it very2x easy, others may struggle.
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2012, 02:33 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is online now
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Thanks for satisfying my linguistic curiosity, and even more for your insights as to how Bahasa differs in grammar and style from English.

For practice with points of English grammar, you could get work through LearningExpress's 501 Writing and Grammar Questions - it shouldn't cost more than $20, and I believe LearningExpress is now offering additional online help to purchasers. Most Barnes & Noble bookstores carry it routinely. You could also try the exercises on the Using English Web site, http://www.usingenglish.com, or you could Google "English ESL past tense practice", "English subject pronoun practice" and the like.

What was your undergraduate major? Have you taken science classes (either high school or college) for which you had to write up lab reports in English?
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2012, 02:37 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is online now
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As for APU's writing lab, if you can use it for free, explain that tell the tutor that you mostly need help with usage and sentence structure and conventions, and that what you need to write - and please quote me - is "a five-paragraph-style timed persuasive essay" and "a five-paragraph-style timed personal narrative essay". The format comes in for a great deal of criticism, not least because it does not encourage great writing, but it's highly adaptable for many sorts of prose that teachers need to be able to crank out quickly.
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