Writing Practice Test

Use the 15-item pretest to test your knowledge in Writing. Record your pretest score and then study the tutorials that are provided on this site. When you feel that you are ready to take your TSI Assessment, you should schedule your test at the Testing Center.

The results of this Pretest may give you a general idea of your actual placement results. This test is for practice only and the results are not used for actual placement.

Select an answer for each item. If you do not know the answer, you should make an educated guess. At the bottom of the test, you will be given your results.

Questions 1-5

Read the following early draft of an essay and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.

(1) Seaweed-based fuel could one day power your car. (2) It is more than just an ingredient in a purifying face mask or a sushi roll. (3) According to new research, seaweed has the potential to become an advanced biofuel known as biobutanol.

(4) In the past, U.S. scientists have looked to the possibility of algae-based biofuels, but most of these explorations have shied away from kelp and seaweed. (5) One reason why seaweed may not have taken off as a potential fuel source

is the fact that it's not a major part of American culture. (6) In contrast, in Asian countries such as Japan, there has been a long history of seaweed in the cuisine. (7) Japanese researchers are much more familiar with it and have spent decades studying its potential uses.

(8) A second reason for the U.S. avoidance of seaweed-
 based biofuel is the country's lack of experience with seaweed farming. (9) The U.S. is no stranger to seaweed harvesting. (10) However, for the biobutanol project to be environmentally sustainable, seaweed cannot be harvested; it must be farmed. (11) "One of the challenges of harvesting a natural seaweed bed is you can only [use] a certain percent of the bed if you don't want to have a negative environmental impact," Nikesh Parekh, CEO of Bio Architecture Lab, said.

(12) Farming enough seaweed to support mass production of a biofuel would be very expensive initially, but it could pay off handsomely. (13) They say that the seaweed-based fuel would work better in automobiles than ethanol and be easier to transport.

In context, which of the following is best to insert at the beginning of sentence 7 (reproduced below)?
Japanese researchers are much more familiar with it and have spent decades studying its potential uses.

In context, which of the following sentences would best be inserted between sentences 9 and 10?

In context, which of the following is the best way to revise and combine sentences 1 and 2 (reproduced below)?

Seaweed-based fuel could one day power your car. It is more than just an ingredient in a purifying face mask or a sushi roll.

In context, which is the best revision to sentence 13 (reproduced below)?
They say that the seaweed-based fuel would work better in automobiles than ethanol and be easier to transport.

In context, where would the following sentence best be placed?
There are a number of possible reasons for this.

Question 6

It is important to learn how to swim, even if one is afraid; the skill will invariably prove useful later in your life.

Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence. If you think the original sentence is best, choose the first answer.

Question 7

Think about how you would rewrite the following sentence according to the directions given, and then choose the best answer. Keep in mind that your revision should not change the meaning of the original sentence.

Carmen created a new piñata by constructing a papier-mâché figure and decorating it with brilliantly colored tissue paper.

Rewrite, beginning with: "To create a new piñata, ...". The next words will be:

Question 8

Horror films that keep viewers in a state of endless fright and which draw record-breaking crowds.

Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence. If you think the original sentence is best, choose the first answer.

Question 9

According to explorers, a "Lost Falls" resembling New York's Niagara Falls have been found in Tsangpo River Gorge in the Himalaya Mountains.

Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence. If you think the original sentence is best, choose the first answer.

Question 10

The idea that lightning never strikes the same place twice
 is one of the oldest and most well-known weather-related myths; in fact, lightning strikes the Empire State Building in New York City about 100 times per year.

Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence. If you think the original sentence is best, choose the first answer.

Question 11

Facing a 50% cut in funding for the library, the director was forced to lay off two librarians and sharply reduce hours of operation.

Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence. If you think the original sentence is best, choose the first answer.

Question 12

Think about how you would rewrite the following sentence according to the directions given, and then choose the best answer. Keep in mind that your revision should not change the meaning of the original sentence.

If Antarctica's icebergs could be floated north before melting, many arid areas would experience relief from drought.

Rewrite, beginning with: "If they could be floated north before melting, ...". The next words will be:

Question 13

In the Roman Empire, the first fish to be brought indoors was the sea barbel, it was kept under guest beds in small tanks made of marble.

Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence. If you think the original sentence is best, choose the first answer.

Question 14

Think about how you would rewrite the following sentence according to the directions given, and then choose the best answer. Keep in mind that your revision should not change the meaning of the original sentence.

In some places, virtually all the topsoil has washed away, leaving the subsoils to sustain the crops.

Rewrite, beginning with: "In some places, the subsoils must sustain the crops ...
". The next word will be:

Question 15

Think about how you would rewrite the following sentence according to the directions given, and then choose the best answer. Keep in mind that your revision should not change the meaning of the original sentence.

Hawaii, which consists of eight major islands and many smaller ones, and which used to be known as the Sandwich Islands, was admitted to the Union as the fiftieth state in 1959.

Rewrite, beginning with: "Formerly known as the Sandwich Islands, and consisting of eight major and many smaller islands, ...". The next word will be:

Questions 16-17

The following is a sample writing prompt from the writing portion of the TSI test:

An actor, when his cue came, was unable to move onto the stage. He said, "I can't get in, the chair is in the way." And the producer said, "Use the difficulty. If it's a drama, pick the chair up and smash it. If it's comedy, fall over it." From this experience the actor concluded that in any situation in life that is negative, there is something positive you can do with it.

Adapted from Lawrence Eisenberg, "Caine Scrutiny."

Writing Assignment:

Can any obstacle or disadvantage be turned into something good?

The TSI uses the following criteria for scoring writing prompts:

  • Purpose and Focus – The extent to which you present information in a unified and coherent manner, clearly addressing the issue.
  • Organization and Structure – The extent to which you order and connect ideas.
  • Development and Support – The extent to which you develop and support ideas.
  • Sentence Variety and Style – The extent to which you craft sentences and paragraphs demonstrating control of vocabulary, voice and structure.
  • Mechanical Conventions – The extent to which you express ideas using Standard Written English.
  • Critical Thinking – The extent to which you communicate a point of view and demonstrate reasoned relationships among ideas.

For each question below, read the writer's response and choose the score that best matches with each response. Scoring criteria is outlined in the video at the top of the page.

Writer's Response:

In times of desperation, it is often difficult to see the positives in a situation. More often than not, our survival instinct demands that we obliterate any obstacles in our path, without heeding the potential consequences. However, I believe, using Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and early American history, that it is indeed possible to use these apparent disadvantages as a means to improve yourself.

The hero of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, was by any account, a man of humble origins. Not only was he an orphan without a last name, but he was also abused and tormented by other children‐such as Hindley‐of his new household. Constantly frustrated at every turn in life, Heathcliff as a boy could not marry Catherine‐who he loved‐partially because of his lowly social status. After Catherine left to marry her new husband, Heathcliff undertook a journey, in which he amasses a good deal of money and seemingly elevates his place in society.

Although these changes are superficial, Heathcliff, used the adversity facing him as a boy as motivation to improve himself, to marry Catherine; thus his early obstacles were turned into something good (at least for him). From Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, it is evident that obstacles can be transformed into motivation, a very positive emotion.

In the 1770's, America was under the rule of a tyrant in England. Legislation, such as those that were called the "Intolerable Acts" that forbid such practices as forming a militia in Massachusetts, and the infamous "Stamp Act", which was essentially a tax forced on Americans to gain revenue for the British Empire, were passed continuously against Great Britain's colonies in America. The Quartering Act forced Americans to allow British soldiers to live in their homes, which resulted in many fights and the situation was not good. However, the early American political leaders used these dire times to rally the American people. The country, incensed by British practices, joined those rebellious leaders, such as Patrick Henry, George Washington, and John Adams, to fight in the Revolutionary War against a corrupt monarchy. If the American people had not suffered through these indignities leading up to the Revolutionary War, the United States of America probably would not exist today.

Clearly, when one is faced by obstacles at every turn, it is extremely difficult to try to twist negative experiences into positive ones. However, if one takes the model shown by Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights and America's early political leaders, one can use these bad experiences to totally change one's life for the better.

This essay should score:
(The video at the top of the page contains information about scoring)

Writer's Response:

I do believe that any obstacle or disadvantage can be turned into something good. I believe this because people learn many things from their mistakes and that's the only way. In the example that is provided, the actor is obviously confused. The director makes a good point on how to work around it, and in a case where they make use of the chair that's in the way, which helps make it funny, exciting, or depressing. In a play or musical of any type, it adds meaning. Not only does an obstacle or disadvantage get turned into something good, but it can discover new things. Whenever any situation happens, such as in this case, I'd laugh if it's funny, cry if it's dramatic, make a joke out of it, or act like it didn't happen. Just keep in mind that the purpose of life is to learn from mistakes, which can turn into something good.

This essay should score:
(The video at the top of the page contains information about scoring)

IMPORTANT:

After you check your answers, use the scale below to see where you might be placed when you take the actual TSI Assessment for Writing. This is not your actual TSI Assessment placement score. To get that, you must complete the TSI Assessment itself at your nearest ACC testing center.

If you got the following number of questions correct, your placement level may be:

  • 0-5: Adult Basic Education Courses
  • 6-13: Developmental Courses
  • 14-17: College Level

If you feel you need more preparation prior to taking the actual TSI Assessment, you should go to the Writing Review section of the website for additional information and practice.

If not, return to the TSI Practice Tests section to complete your other required practice tests (if necessary) and co