Study Guide Specifications
ECE exams are administered at colleges and universities
The study guide prepares you to pass the Excelsior College Examination in English Composition. This examination requires you to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills taught in a first-year (i.e., two-semester) English Composition course.
The examination in English Composition requires you to write three essays within three hours. Each essay will be written in response to a distinct prompt, or set of instructions. The first presents a prose text that you are to read and about which you are to construct an argumentative essay. The second prompt directs you to analyze a poem or prose piece to show its ideas and relevance to human experiences. The third prompt provides a writing sample that is typical of assignments required in a composition course; it asks you to write an evaluation of the sample for both correctness and effectiveness, offering specific advice for revision.
Together, these three exercises will reveal your writing process. "Writing process" describes those tactics and strategies you possess for dealing with a range of writing assignments and producing a variety of documents. The pursuit of a college degree requires a student to write assignments on a range of topics and to produce them quickly and accurately. Without a self-conscious process that can adapt to changing requirements, a student will not succeed in college. A course in English Composition provides this tool.
For the examination in English Composition, you are expected to know the conventions of Standard Written English, be able to recognize and apply techniques of rhetoric, to analyze and interpret written passages, and to know how to incorporate other writers' works into your own and properly document it. You must plan, write, and proofread each part of the test in about one hour. To be on top of the material and able to finish the test within the time allotted, you need to have good resources and a sensible plan of study. The study guide is your most important resource.
The aim of the study guide is to provide the preparation you need to perform successfully on the examination in English. Your goal is to possess a competent writing process that will bring you success on an essay examination. The study guide has been constructed so that you will spend time studying and practicing the skills you need.
The guide begins with a clear description of the test and strategies to successfully complete it. The amount of preparation you need is related to your educational background and professional experience, if any, with writing. Some of you are sufficiently skilled to apply what you already know to the examination. Others will have to begin at the basics by creating a writing portfolio. You will start your preparation by determining your writing proficiency. Focus on the content area of the units where you need help, take the quizzes, and do the assignments. Finally, take the Practice Test to insure you are ready.