Departmental Mastery Test

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
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,
› 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
 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
 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
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.