Preparing for the English 250 Test-Out Exam
The English 250 Test-Out Exam is intended to test the communication skills that you already possess, specifically in rhetorical analysis (both textual & visual) and argument. The 250 Test-Out has two parts. In the first part you'll do a rhetorical analysis of an essay (we'll give you the essay at the test-out); in the second part, you'll write an argumentative essay of your own. Below are some suggestions for preparing for these two parts of the exam. As a general preparation for the exam, you might also consult the ISUComm Foundation Courses: Student Guide for English 150 and 250, which you can purchase at the University Book Store. The essays will be evaluated by the criteria explained in the ISUComm Foundation Courses: Student Guide for English 150 and 250: context, substance, organization, style, and delivery.
For example, in this piece of writing I've decided to use contractions ("I've," "you'll," etc.) to try to make you feel more comfortable with the subject matter and perhaps to lower your anxiety about taking a test (with the theory that people sometimes do better on a test when they're relaxed). These are stylistic choices. In terms of structure, I've divided the discussion into two main categories, using headings to clearly announce each major division ("Rhetorical Analysis" and "Argumentative Essay"). I did this so that you can quickly get a map of the whole document as well as refer to information about the main divisions of the test. This is a simple example of how to analyze the rhetorical elements of a text. In a more complex piece of writing, a rhetorical analysis would cover things in far more depth, of course.
Finally, you might also review for this part of the exam by looking at Everything's an Argument, 5th edition by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, Bedford/St. Martin's (on reserve at the ISU Parks Library) or Getting the Picture: A Brief Guide to Understanding and Creating Visual Texts by Marcia F. Muth and Karla Saari Kitalong, Bedford/St. Martin's (can be checked out from 229 Ross Hall).
Where can you find information about argumentative writing? You'll find extensive discussion about argument in many of the textbooks used in English 250. A textbook you might consult is Everything's an Argument, 5th edition by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, Bedford/St. Martin's (on reserve at the ISU Parks Library). Some handbooks also have brief sections on argument.