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

In the typical customer–service call center, operators speak with customers who are often demanding and sometimes rude. Operator burnout is high and productivity can decline. To address the problem, some companies are exploring what makes a happy workplace. Research shows that the social patterns of workers influence their job satisfaction and productivity. To promote interactions among workers, there are a few positive changes that companies can make.

One way to increase social interaction is to stagger break times so that each worker interacts with as many co–workers as possible. Staggering breaks means scheduling a team’s rest time in alternating or overlapping periods. Thus, workers have an opportunity to socialize with co–workers from other teams. This arrangement will promote interactions within a larger, more diverse network of people and expose workers to multiple viewpoints.

Another change is to move the location where workers can meet and interact. For example, consider the communal coffee pots and the break room. To get different groups of workers talking to each other, the best location for a coffee pot is between the groups. The break room should be in a central location as well. If the company occupies multiple floors of a building, the ideal location for the break room is on a middle floor.

A third change is to adopt an open seating plan, in which workers choose their desks randomly each day. This will encourage initiative because workers have the freedom to choose where they sit. It will also increase interaction because each worker has an opportunity to talk with different co–workers. In this way, an open seating plan improves the flow of information and the exchange of ideas.

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.

Some people think it is very important to look back and remember the past. Others think it is more important to look ahead and focus on the future. Which view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Writing Time – 30 minutes
Do not look at the transcript and key points until after you finish the test.

Key points:

• The lecture states that workers who share breaks with teammates are happier and more productive; teammates with staggered breaks have little opportunity to share tips or vent about angry customers. This contradicts the point in the reading that staggered break times are a positive change that will increase social interaction within a large, diverse network.

• The lecture states that there should be no barriers to interaction within groups; the best place for the coffee pot is in the middle of a group; a flight of stairs is a psychological barrier. This contradicts the point in the reading that the coffee pots and the break room should be in a central location, between groups or on a middle floor of the building.

• The lecture states that an open seating plan had a negative effect on how information was shared. This contradicts the point in the reading that an open seating plan improves the flow of information and the exchange of ideas.

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

Let’s look at how researchers for one company increased the productivity of their workers.

First, the researchers found that when workers share breaks with others on their teams, they are happier and more productive. The company tried scheduling staggered breaks for some groups and coordinated—or shared—breaks for others. The groups with staggered breaks had little opportunity to share tips or vent about angry customers with their teammates. In contrast, the teams with coordinated breaks allowed co–workers to complain and joke as much as they wanted. The teams that took breaks together were more satisfied with their jobs and more efficient at serving customers.

Second, there should be no barriers to interaction within groups. The researchers found that the best place for the coffee pot is in the middle of a group, and it works better when each group has its own place for coffee. Workers who belong to a small team who speak frequently with each other are happier in their jobs than workers who do not. Even a single flight of stairs is a psychological barrier. People who work on different floors of a building almost never talk to each other.

Third, the company tried and rejected an open seating plan because it had a negative effect on how information was shared. When workers decided where to sit each day, researchers noticed a problem. A few socially important workers controlled the flow of information. Most of the important interactions happened at the desks of those few people, but the other people were left out. The company found that by assigning desks they could improve the flow of information so that everyone would be included.

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



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