ENC 1101 • Writing Under Pressure: Timed Writing Unit
In this lesson we present the students with an opportunity to apply the skills and stratagies that they have learned in this unit to an actual timed writing exam that is worth 10% of their grade.
We chose to do this because students are often anxious about their ability to respond to a timed writing assignment. Regardless of their views on whether or not timed writing is an effective measure of their understanding of course concepts, the timed writing examination is frequently used throughout the university as a tool by which to guage a student’s understanding of material. Furthermore, timed writing exams are used to measure a students analytical skills and their ability to synthesize a variety of information into a focused and effective response. The skills needed for succesful timed writing are similar to those of process writing, but the time constraint emphasizes focus and brevity. Conversely, the practice of timed writting helps to reinforce many of the skills needed for other types of academic writing.
INSTRUCTOR’S DAY PLAN DAY 5 – Monday
Produce a written document, written under time constraint, that responds effectively to the prompt and that exhibits a clear thesis or theme, coherent organization, and content appropriate to the question
-Set up the testing conditions by reviewing the rules and expectations.
-Introduce the exam and the prompt to the class.
-Use DOCUMENT 5-A to project the details about the exam on the board.
-Individual Activity: Timed writing exam
-Students will take an in-class, one hour, timed writing exam.
-Use DOCUMENT 5-B to project the exam prompt on the board.
-Individual reflective writing on timed writing exam experience.
-Use DOCUMENT 5-C to project the journal prompt on the board.
Final Timed Writing Exam Details
You will need your Allyn & Bacon book to complete the exam.
You may also use your Everyday Writer.
Have plenty of paper and something to write with.
Put everything away except for your two text books, paper, and something to
Once the prompt is passed out, begin unpacking it as we have discussed throughout
When you are ready, start writing.
Remember to keep an eye on the clock. You will have one hour to complete your
Remember to include evidence of your understanding of the unit concepts of unpacking the
prompt, addressing it through a thesis or theme, and outlining by including your pre-
writing with the final exam. This is especially important if you run out of time.
Write your name on the top of the prompt sheet and circle the prompt that you chose
to respond to.
When you are finished, gather your pages, including the page with the prompts, and
bring them to the front of the class to staple them together and turn them in.
Once you have turned in your timed writing test, return to your seat. Remember that
some of your classmates may still be working so please be quiet.
After the test, you will write your final journal entry of the semester.
Timed Writing Examination Prompts (Choose one)
Explain the differences between closed-form and open-form prose as presented in Chapters 1, 18 and 19 of the Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. Illustrate your answer with examples taken from Ross Taylor’s “Paintball” (pp 234-237) and Annie Dillard’s “Living Like Weasels” (pp 640-643). Why does Taylor choose to write near the closed end of the closed-to-open continuum, whereas Dillard chooses to write near the open end?
Explain the differences between closed-form and open-form prose as presented in Chapters 1, 18 and 19 of the Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. Illustrate your answer with examples taken from Ross Taylor’s “Paintball” (pp 234-237) and Annie Dillard’s “Living Like Weasels” (pp 640-643) that indicate which of these two authors seems the most interested in forecasting the structure of his or her essay for the reader. Support your choice with at least two examples from the text .
Final Journal Prompt
Timed Writing Exam Experience
-Has your view of timed writing exams changed?
-“Now that I’ve taken the timed writing exam, I’m especially glad that we covered the idea of _________ in class.”
-How was taking this timed writing exam different from my previous experiences with timed writing.
-For future timed writing exams, what will I do to lower my anxiety?
-What strategies will I use to improve my performance?