WRITING SECTION DIRECTIONSThe Writing section measures your ability to use writing to communicate in an academic environment. There are two questions.

Question 1 is a writing task based on reading and listening. You will read a passage, listen to a lecture, and then write a response to a question about the relationship between the lecture and the reading. You have 20 minutes to plan and write your response.

Question 2 is writing based on knowledge and experience. You will write an essay in response to a question that asks you to state, explain, and support an opinion on an issue. You have 30 minutes to plan and write your essay.

At the real test, you will not have a lecture transcript and the key points. However, to help you analyze your score, we’re including the transcript below. Do not look at the transcript and key points before you complete the test.

Writing

Question 1

For this task, you will write a response to a question about a reading passage and a lecture. You may take notes, and you may use your notes to help you write your response. Your response will be scored on the quality of your writing and on how well you connect the points in the lecture with points in the reading. Typically, an effective response will have 150 to 225 words.

Reading Time – 3 minutes

The solution to most problems that societies confront is a higher level of political sophistication that results from more education. When people have the facts about the issues, they will be clearer thinkers and better citizens.

Most people depend on broadcast news and print media for information about current issues. However, in addition to good information, the media contain rumors, misinformation, and politically motivated variations on the truth. The most effective remedy for misinformation is fact checking. If the information people have is incorrect, the corrected facts will enlighten them. Knowing the truth will help people reject misinformation because they will have a better understanding of the issues.

When people have all of the available information, they are able to develop intelligent, informed opinions about issues. People base their opinions on facts, and the more information they have, the more informed their opinions will be. Listening to opposing opinions is an important component of being informed. Therefore, political debate will benefit society by ensuring that citizens understand all sides of an issue.

Accurate information is necessary for solving the problems societies face. When people feel threatened, they will search for the truth. Their natural instinct is to seek information that will help them to make decisions about potential solutions to problems. They will listen to the opinions of experts and look to their elected officials for leadership. When the people are well informed, everyone will benefit: the people, the leaders, and the society as a whole.

Now listen to the recording. When you hear the question, begin your response. You may look at the reading passage during the writing time.

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they contradict specific points made in the reading passage.

Writing Time – 20 minutes

Question 2

For this task, you will write an essay in response to a question that asks you to state and support your opinion on a topic. Your essay will be scored on the quality of your writing, including how well you organize and develop your ideas and how well you use language to express your ideas. Typically, an effective essay will have a minimum of 300 words.

Read the question below and make any notes that will help you plan your response. Then begin typing your essay.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Subjects such as art, music, and drama should be a part of every child’s basic education.

Use specific reasons and details to support your opinion.

Writing Time – 20 minutes Do not look at the transcript and key points until after you finish the test.

Key points:

• The lecture states that education alone is not the solution to society’s problems. This contradicts the point in the reading that the solution to most problems societies face is a higher level of political sophistication that comes from more education.

• The lecture states that facts do not change minds; facts do not cure misinformation. This contradicts the point in the reading that fact checking is effective in correcting misinformation.

• The lecture states that people often base their opinions on their beliefs rather than on facts. This contradicts the point in the reading that people base their opinions on facts.

• The lecture states that if people feel threatened, they will not listen to new information. This contradicts the point in the reading that when people feel threatened, they will seek the truth.

Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.

There’s been some interesting research on the power of information. In one study, political scientists found that highly educated thinkers were even less open to new information than less educated people were. So we can’t say that education alone is the solution to society’s problems.

First, the researchers found that facts don’t necessarily have the power to change people’s minds. When misinformed people were given the corrected facts in news stories, they seldom changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. The facts were not curing the misinformation. These results make it difficult to be optimistic about the effectiveness of fact checking.

Second, in reality, people often base their opinions on their beliefs rather than on facts. Their previous beliefs dictate which facts they choose to accept. People will twist the facts to fit their beliefs. Moreover, beliefs can lead people to accept bad information uncritically just because it strengthens their beliefs. Reinforcement of their beliefs makes people more certain they are right, which makes them less likely to listen to any new information that doesn’t fit. So the new information has no effect on their opinions—even when the information is factually correct.

Finally, if people feel threatened or insecure, they will not listen to new information. This is why some politicians benefit from keeping people in a state of fear. The more threatened people feel, the less likely they are to listen to opposing opinions. When people are kept misinformed and afraid, they are easier to control.

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they contradict specific points made in the reading passage.