Some colleges and universities require students to pass a Writing Proficiency Examination before they are allowed to officially graduate from the university. Although the questions vary from semester to semester, having a general understanding of what is in store can help you be better prepared for these types of tests.
Taking a Stance
Some Writing Proficiency Examinations ask you to take a stance on a particular issue. Examples of questions in this category may include whether public libraries are important, if school uniforms should be required in public schools or whether technology is crucial to student learning. Reading materials may be provided to help supplement the argument, or the student may be required to use practical examples from his everyday life and general knowledge base to support his answer.
Other Writing Proficiency Examinations require students to apply a specific quotation to her own life and to give a certain number of examples to show how that quotation relates. The question does not just have to be about a quotation though. It may also refer to a specific poem or a selection of a novel that many students at the college level have read. The poem or reading selection should be included along with the question.
Another option for Writing Proficiency Examination questions is to require the students to read two pieces of writing and form a thesis that brings the texts together to argue a common point. Suggestions for reading topics include the current state of the economy in the United States, the challenges of paying for college or the effect of the Internet on classroom learning. In any case, the students have to show how these two essays work together to establish a point.
On some Writing Proficiency Examinations, students have to look at two different pieces of literature and figure out how they are similar and different. The question could be just posted as such, meaning how the essays are alike and how they are not alike. However, the question could also be asked in terms of particular elements such as the theme, symbolism, foreshadowing or irony.
Jen Marx holds a Master of Arts in English and American literature. She is a consultant at a university writing center and has numerous print and online publications, including "Community College Campus News." Marx specializes in topics ranging from wedding planning to history to the environment.