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HiSET Language Arts Writing Exam

Everything you need to know!

In this section of the test, you are asked to demonstrate editorial and proofreading skills. You will be give short texts: letters, essays, newspaper articles, personal accounts, and reports. In each text, a section will be underlined, and you will have to decide what (if any) revision is necessary or appropriate for the underlined section. The HiSET is basically assessing how well you can proofread a document.

Aspects of the questions you will be graded on include being able to assess whether the style is appropriate for the piece, the transitions are logical and make sense, the discourse is structured and organized in a manner that makes it plain what the writer is thinking, how clear and concise the section to be revised is, and your grammar usage and mechanics as a proofreader.

The writing section also contains an essay. For the essay, you will be given a short prompt. This prompt may take any form: it may focus on an issue, which you will then be expected to argue for, or against; it may ask you to respond with a personal story; it may require you to provide information on a given topic. This section of the test will have human graders, people reading over your essays, and they will be looking for mastery of five things.

Development. Are your ideas fully expressed? Have you explained yourself, or your position, well? Does your writing engage and persuade?

Organization. Is your essay presented in a sensible order? Do things flow in a natural way? Will the reader understand what point you’re trying to make?

Language Facility. How rich is the language you’re using in your essay? Are you able to find just the right word for the concept you want to express. Are you able to use language to keep readers interested in your essay?

Writing Conventions. Do you have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion? Are you able to use the essay structure itself to clearly elaborate why and how the given viewpoints fail? In other words, you’re being asked to write to the specific style of an essay here.

This section of the test has 50 multiple-choice questions with 1 essay question, and you will be given 120 minutes.


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