July 6, 2011

Mock CWE a Success

On Tuesday, June 28, and Wednesday, June 29, the Writing Center held its most popular Mock CWE workshop yet. The Mock CWE is an intensive, 3-hour workshop designed to help students practice for the College Writing Exam and get immediate feedback on their writing. While a voluntary workshop, students must register in advance in order to attend.

The Writing Center is set up to be as close to real exam conditions as possible. Each student has a computer and all of the materials they would get on test day. In addition, each student receives personalized exam topics based on his/her major and the general question theme for the next exam. (Students are given a choice of 2 questions on the exam.) This mimics the exam itself, as questions are randomly assigned to students within the parameters of their major and the general theme.

The first 2 hours of the workshop consist of students writing the essay. They may handwrite or type it.If they choose to type, the spell check is turned on, but the grammar check is off, just as in the real exam. After students finish writing, typed exams are printed.

In the last hour, we discuss students experiences writing and then turn to the printed essays to evaluate them based on the CWE rubric. Finally, students are encouraged to make one-on-one appointments with a writing consultant to review their own practice papers in depth.

Last week, 18 students attended, and about half had never taken the exam before and wanted to do a "dry run." In addition, most students who attended that workshop also scheduled appointments to work one-on-one with a consultant the following week in preparation for the July exam.

When surveyed, most students reported that they felt their writing had improved and a greater sense of confidence in taking the actual exam. Several students also said they would recommend the workshop to other students.

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