Help to pass cbest writing section !

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by veracholakian, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. veracholakian

    veracholakian New Member

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    Mar 18, 2019

    i took the cbest writing section many time and I could not pass it . Always the same problem structure and convention .
    I really need help to pass it .
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 20, 2019

    Hugs, veracholakian. "Structure and conventions" is the diagnostic indicator that CBEST uses for errors in sentence grammar (and to a lesser extent paragraph grammar), spelling, and punctuation. Because that's the recurring issue for you, I'm going to take the liberty of pointing out some things I see in your post.

    Your first sentence is mostly grammatical as it stands - "took" is the correct simple past tense form of the irregular verb "take", and "could" is the correct simple past tense form of the irregular modal verb "can". The trouble is that the simple past "could" conveys that not being able to pass CBEST is a finished event in your life, but clearly it is an issue for you in the present, so you need "cannot" instead of "could not"; your taking CBEST many times thus also continues into the present, and that means you need the present perfect "have taken".

    "Time" is a mass noun that takes no plural EXCEPT when it is used as a synonym for "occasion": use "many times".

    Cell phones have a nasty habit of inserting a space after every word even when punctuation follows - but if "it ." is your doing rather than your phone's, be aware that a punctuation mark is snugged up against the word it follows, with no space intervening.

    "Always the same problem structure and convention ." is a sentence fragment: you could get away with a sentence fragment in the narrative essay, perhaps, but for the expository essay you'd want a full sentence: "The problem is always the same: structure and conventions." Notice also that I've used a colon.

    The website www.usingenglish.com is designed for learners of English; it covers these points and many more, and you might find it helpful.
     
  4. veracholakian

    veracholakian New Member

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    Apr 8, 2019

    Thanks a lot for the reply.
    What should I do ???
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 8, 2019

    veracholakian, your best course of action is probably to find yourself a writing coach or tutor. You want someone who is well versed in English grammar and who will take the time both to evaluate your writing and to take the CBEST writing tasks into account in working with you. Individual tutoring can be expensive, but it should focus on your specific needs.

    If you know a skilled writer, even a high school student, who has needs in areas in which you have strengths, you and that writer might arrange a trade of skills.

    You might contact the English department or the writing department at your local community college. Community colleges in California are shifting away from requiring remedial writing courses (that is, courses to prepare students who want to transfer to four-year colleges for the course that prepares them for college writing) in favor of a model in which those students take the college writing course along with a "corequisite" support course, but there should still be other writing courses whose purpose isn't preparing college students, or perhaps the college has other options or suggestions for you (a writing lab, names of tutors, etc.)

    I've often recommend LearningExpress's fine book Writing Skills Success in 20 Minutes a Day: it's (under $20 new, often available from the library, and sensible). Visit it at the bookstore before you buy; it might be that some other publisher's similar book will suit you better, but you won't know that without spending some time with that book and with books like it. (This is good advice for self-help books in general.) In your case, I'd recommend combining it with the companion workbook 501 Grammar and Writing Questions - the questions are mostly multiple choice or fill-in, which would seem to be better suited to a reading/grammar test than to writing, so for best results you could copy out each correct(ed) sentence in your own writing, and then perhaps write another two or three sentences in which you use the same sentence structure but substitute different content words. For instance, if the original incorrect sentence was "Jack already finished his breakfast when mother walked in," you would correct it to "Jack had already finished his breakfast when Mother walked in," copy the correct sentence, underline the content words ("Jack had already finished his breakfast when Mother walked in,") then vary it: "I had already researched the question when the professor sent me a text." Start simple with this, of course.

    Here's a blog that has some good suggestions for non-native speakers of English writing in English: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/english-writing-help/. I hadn't realized that Purdue's Online Writing Lab, OWL, has a section specifically for non-native English users, but if that section is as good as the rest of the tools on that site, it should be very helpful.
     

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