Every English 009 and ESL 071 student must take the English Department Mastery Test. The test is given on Monday or Tuesday of week 13 of the semester. Students get an hour and a half to read the prompt and write their response. It helps determine the student’s readiness for English 010. Its topic is a “surprise.” Students first see it on the day of the test. Students can only receive a pass/no pass grade. In this class (Galassi’s English 009), the grade for the test counts as one of your nine paper grades and one of your four in-class essays. Tests are graded, not by the class instructor, but by a committee of other English 009/ESL 071 instructors. A student’s test grade does not override the rest of his entire term, but it is an important recommendation by the department to the instructor, and it influences the remainder of your term. While none of us will know the topic before the test date, we can know the format of the question. It has 3 parts. Instructors need to measure how well students read, whether they can assert a point of their own, and whether they can support their point with examples and logic, so…. › The question will ask you to summarize a passage of reading it will offer. (part 1) › It will ask you to agree or disagree with what you read. (part 2) › And it will ask you to explain why you took the stance you took. That means you will need to use examples. (part 3) Have breakfast or at least take in some kind of energy before class. Put your phone in silent mode, and put it out of your mind for two hours. Pack a paper dictionary if it will make you feel more secure. You are allowed to use a paper dictionary (but not an electronic one). Make sure you have at least one good blue or black pen (paper will be provided). Read the directions carefully—twice or more if you want to. Read the quoted passage with special care: you don’t want to write a whole essay about some idea that you thought you saw but that is not really part of the test. Break the question down into its three parts: summary, agree/disagree, support. Be sure to answer all the parts. Before you write, decide on your plan of attack. On the scratch paper, jot down what you want to do in a really basic way. Start with a direct answer to the test question. In other words, start with the thesis. Keep the structure simple. Go from one point to the next. During your support paragraphs, give as many examples as you can. Be specific as often as you can. Stop every so often to make sure you have not veered off-topic. If you need to reread the test question, do it. Write more than a single paragraph. Your answer is supposed to be an essay. Write more than a page and a half. People fail because have not written enough. Keep an eye on the clock and stop drafting while you still have some time(10 minutes to a half an hour) to proofread and revise. Grammar counts. You can make your corrections on the draft itself. There is usually no need to recopy, and there is usually not enough time. Double check that you have addressed all the parts of the test question. Graders look for answers to all three parts. Main things to look at: Handwriting clarity. If a grader can’t read it, she can’t give it credit. Missing words that you might have dropped because you were in t hurry. Fragments, confusing sentence structures. Consistent verb tense Subject/verb/pronoun agreement Try to show off. Show your best abilities.