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Written Exam Assistance

Many students are concerned about their performance on timed essay tests such as those included in teacher certification exams in New York and in other states. All students, though, can prepare to do well on timed essays by following a few tips, studying sample essays, and practicing writing exams. The links below will take you through this very process.

Additionally, if you complete the practice exam, you may send your essay to the School of Education office for a member of the Writing Committee to evaluate. Your practice essay will be sent back to you with comments and advice for writing future exams.

Note: Only those practice essays completed by students enrolled in Manhattanville College's School of Education will be read, evaluated, and returned.

A. Writing tips: Click on this link to find tips that can help you write clear, concise, and well-structured essays.

B. Sample essays: Click on the appropriate link to find information about sample prompts, essays, and evaluations for the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE). Although the NYSTCE will change over the years and although you may wish to teach in another state, these prompts, essays, and evaluations are applicable to a wide range of teacher certification exams. Be sure to click on the link that corresponds to the grade level you will teach.

1. For elementary school teachers

2. For secondary school teachers

C. Practice tests: Choose a writing prompt and take your practice essay. Take no more than 90 minutes to complete your essay. Your essay will be scored using the same rubric used on the sample NYSTCE exam. Be sure to choose the prompt that corresponds to the grade level you will teach. 

1) For elementary school teachers:

Over the past several decades, computers, video recording equipment, smart phones, and other digital tools have become more available to more people. Many educators are both excited and troubled by the spread of these new technologies. Focusing on schools and classrooms, explain some of the positive and the negative sides of the spread of technology. In your answer, address questions of practice (how new technologies should or should not be used in the classroom). Also address questions of inequality (which schools and which students are able to purchase which technologies).

2) For secondary school teachers:

Schools in the USA are serving growing numbers of students who are first-generation immigrants to the country. Many educators find this both exciting and challenging. Explain how teachers might draw upon students' diverse cultures to strengthen learning in their classrooms. Also explain some of the challenges teachers might face when working in highly diverse classrooms.

Once you have completed your essay, send it to the School of Education Writing Committee for review and feedback:

Please mail your completed essay to:

Writing Committee
School of Education
Manhattanville College
2900 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577 

Along with your essay, include a separate sheet with:
1)  Your name
2)  Your seven-digit Manhattanville College ID number
3)  Your Manhattanville College e-mail address
4)  Your home phone number
5)  The title of your program in Manhattanville College's School of Education (e.g. 
      Physical Education)
6) Your advisor's name