How to Prepare for the WST
We recommend the following resources to help you prepare for the WST:
- Download a WST sample prompt:
- Free online resources:
- View a brief Powerpoint presentation (rev Fall 2017) about the WST.
- Purdue University's Online Writing Lab has a lot of free resources.
- Visit the SJSU Writing Center's Writing Resources page. You may find their Homegrown Handouts link to be especially helpful. The SJSU Writing Center blog also offers some helpful (and humorous!) writing suggestions. Check out the following posts on timed writes specifically:
- There are also posts that will help you consider your audience and how to use straightforward language in your draft.
- The "Tips and Tricks for Self-Editing" series on content, organization, style, and grammar may be useful to consider while preparing for the WST.
- Feeling frustrated? The post "You Are Not a Bad Writer" might provide some needed perspective on the writing process.
- Free workshops and tutoring:
- The Writing Center offers tutorial help and workshops on various subjects on writing. Their "Essay Prompts and Time Management" workshop is useful for students who are concerned about timed writing situations (like the WST). The workshop is available right before the WST exam dates. For a complete list of upcoming workshops at the SJSU Writing Center, click here - or call (408) 924-2308.
- Peer Connections offers free tutoring that may help you prepare for the WST.
- Available for purchase:
- California State University Writing Proficiency Examination Preparation by Barrons
- 501 Writing Prompts published by Learning Express
- Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker
- Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
The following essays are examples of the various scoring levels. You may download them to study how the essays are structured to respond to the prompt.
Remember that each essay is scored by two different readers, so an essay with a total score of 7 means that one reader scored it with a 3, while another reader scored it as a 4. All of the essay samples provided below received the same score from both readers, so the 4 essay has a total score of 8, since both readers gave it a score of 4.
The essays are all responses to WST Sample Prompt 2 (see above):