Sample essays are the examples of the essays that a Writing Skills examinee must write in response to the questions of that section. These essays closely emulate the actual essays in all respects, to enable the test takers to get acquainted with the actual Writing Skills question format and the kind of approach to be taken to answer them.
The Writing Skills section consists of two questions that require answers in the essay-type format. The first question presents a topic pertaining to current affairs or any controversial subject. The examinee is asked to write his opinion in the form of a persuasive essay in response to this question. The second question puts forward a realistic situation. The essayist is supposed to imagine experiencing this situation, and write an essay about his personal experience, in the given context. Each question has to be answered in about 30 minutes. The answers to this section are evaluated by a couple of examiners, who mainly assess the ability of the examinees to clearly and effectively communicate their viewpoints by using good writing skills. Scaled scores, ranging from 20-80, are awarded to the examinees.
This section can be best explained with somesample essays. In this article, we will be discussing one such sample essay in detail.
You can find sample essays on a number of websites that offer practice tests for the CBEST. The websites that are listed on the first page of the results of the Google search engine are usually considered to be authentic sources ofsample essays. The official guidelines for the essays are given at http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/PDFs/CBESTUpdatedTestSpecs.pdf.
Given below is a sample essay for the question that requires one to write an essay in the persuasive style:
Q) Should life skills training and moral education be made compulsory subjects for students in schools? Write your opinion, substantiated with logical arguments, for an educated adult audience, as an essay in response to the above question.
A) Life skills training and moral education should be made compulsory for students in schools. This is because an individual is a human being first, regardless of the individual’s social status, academic qualifications, professional qualifications, talents or achievements, and good human skills are imperative for success in life. Life skills training and moral education help in the development of an emotionally mature mind, which is extremely influential in the healthy development of one’s emotional quotient (Emotional Quotient). EQ is assessed to be of higher significance than IQ (Intelligence Quotient) in the academic and professional scenarios of today, by many social scientists. Hence, its development should be encouraged in an individual. Is there a more opportune time for developing one’s Emotional Quotient than when one is in school, when one is in the best stage of life to learn different skills fast, absorb them and implement them?
Many school students are seen to be targets of psychological and psychosomatic illnesses owing to their faulty values and perceptions of life. Some children are fortunate enough to get their moral education from respectable elders of the family, but others are not that fortunate. This is the reason why cases of juvenile crime are on the rise. School children are easily allured by pleasures of life, such as, an extravagant lifestyle. On the one hand, some children do not hesitate to adopt wrong methods in life to obtain these comforts. On the other hand, some children crave for these comforts, but restrain themselves from trying to secure these by adopting ‘easy’ methods. They compare themselves with their luckier friends, get emotionally upset, and develop major personality disorders. Moral and life skills training will help such students, who have a tendency of committing crime or becoming psychologically ill, in identifying their harmful behaviour and thought processes, and rectifying these defects early, before they damage the sanity of these individuals.
Life skills training and moral education help in the development of mature individuals who can tackle all situations of life with confidence. As most of us are aware, life is not a bed of roses. Along with happy times, one may also have to face difficult situations. One should be able to tackle difficult situations bravely, confidently and intelligently, in order to emerge successful in life. Many children do not have the skills to tackle difficulties of life with the correct attitude, and win over them. This is because they have grown in a much protected environment in which they were not exposed to difficulties of life, or they were taught faulty ways of dealing with such situations. As a result, these children are a failure in dealing with situations in life. This may be harmful to them or to others who are associated with the situations. Life skills training, which will aim to give them training in dealing with practical situations in life, such as, managing one’s living when money is scarce, will help them in developing skills that will help them in making them aware of the difficulties of life, and deal with them in the correct way, and with confidence.
Life skills training and moral education will help in the creation of better human resources for any nation. Today, human beings do not think beyond their own selves. They are indifferent to corruption in society and other social evils. The individuals, who have sound moral values, greatly respect acts of morality and social welfare. They develop a consciousness towards fighting social crime and consider it their responsibility to ensure a corruption-free environment based on social justice. Such individuals are an asset to any nation, as they not only think in terms of personal benefit but also in terms of national benefit. Such individuals can be expected to bring in social reforms and contribute to national progress immensely.
In conclusion, it can be safely assumed that the modern day students are in great need of life skills training and moral education, as they are often victims of faulty upbringing. Hence, it is the responsibility of every school to impart education, which will not only make them academically knowledgeable, but also enlighten them about virtuous living and will train them in leading a worthy life. Life skills education is, rather, the greatest education and the greatest reward that any school can give to its students because this education will help in moulding the character and personality of individuals, which is the foundation stone to their success in life.
You should practice writing like the above in order to appear for the Writing Skills section. Practicing sample essays will give you a command over your writing style and your writing skills and ensure that you are successful in the Writing Skills section with top scores.
Passing the CBEST
Before you can become a teacher in California you first need to pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). Preparation is very important if you wish to pass this test the first time.
Most people who already have a bachelor's degree will have little trouble passing on the first try. Since the test is made of three parts - reading, writing, mathematics - if one part does not earn a passing grade, you can always retake that one section of the test.
Each section of the test can achieve a score between 20 and 80 points. You must achieve a passing score of 41 in each section, or have a total score of 123 across all three sections, as long as you don't score lower than 37 in any section. Visit the official CBEST website for an official score report explanation (PDF format).
Passing the Reading Section
- Read all the directions very carefully
- Read through all of the 50 questions in each section
- Read through the passage and highlight important words, phrases, or passages
- Try to consider the tone of the passage (Critical? Humorous Pessimistic?)
- Return to the questions and eliminate all answers that appear obviously wrong
Remember that your answer should be based purely on the material itself, not how you think it should be interpreted based on your experience
Passing the Essay Section
This section of the test consists of several essay topics. You're instructed to choose two topics to write on. Generally one topic will be an analysis of a situation or statement, while the other will be a narrative of a personal experience. The basic goal of the essay section is to measure your ability to compose essays within a given time, which effectively communicates certain ideas to your audience.
You will not have much time in this section to consider, plan, or rewrite. You need to map out each essay quickly and clearly. Before you take the test, take some time to look at past questions or high scoring answers.
Passing the Mathematics Section
This section consists of 50 math problems with multiple choice answers. The questions will be on a range of mathematical disciplines, from elementary level through early college, including:
Try not to spend too much time on an individual question. If you budget your time accordingly, you should have time to come back and take a crack at the more difficult questions.
General Test-Taking Tips
- Study by taking CBEST practice tests before exam day
- In order to save time, pre-read the test instructions before exam day. This will keep you from having to go back and forth reading the instructions.
- Bring a watch with you so you can accurately budget your time.
- If you get stuck on a question, make a note and come back to it if you have time.
- Make sure that you mark the answer on the correct sheet.
- Only correct answers are counted, so if you're reaching your time limit or don't know an answer, you're better off guessing the answer than leaving it blank.
- As you're working through the test, cross off answers that are incorrect in your test booklet. That way you can see clearly which options remain.
- Keep in mind that not everyone will pass this test the first time. You can always come back and try again!
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