Many times a standardized test will require a student to respond to at least one question with a short written response. According to the University of Technology Sydney, this shows the teacher that the student knows the material and that he or she isn't just guessing from the answer choices provided. A short response should normally fall into the realm of the paragraph (three to five sentences) unless the test specifies how long the written answer should be. Follow the basic rules of paragraph writing to effectively write a short response on a standardized test.
Read the question carefully. Be sure you understand what you are being asked before you start writing. Jot notes in the sidebar of the test to help you organize your thoughts. You can erase them when you've finished writing your short response.
Formulate your answer in your head. If the response called for is an opinion question, take the time to think about what it is you believe. If the question is in regard to information you should know or from a reading passage previously supplied on the test, think about the answer. Reread any previously supplied reading material if necessary.
Write, in the margin of the test or on scrap paper, the topic sentence of your short response paragraph. According to the Writing Den, the topic sentence is the main idea of your paragraph and is the first sentence of the paragraph. An example question is: What are renewable resources? Your topic sentence could read: A renewable resource is something naturally supplied by the environment that can be replaced or regrown in a short amount of time.
Write in the margin of the test or on scrap paper, at least two ideas that support the claim you made in your topic sentence. According to the Writing Den, present your ideas in simple sentences that are easy to read and understand. Continuing with the example question and topic sentence from Step 3, two ideas that support the topic sentence, would be: timber and wind power.
Write your sentences. Write the topic sentence, followed by at least two supporting sentences. For example, using the two ideas in Step 4, two supporting sentences could read: Timber comes from trees that can be replanted to supply more wood. Windmills can be used to harness the power of the wind, which is constantly replenished.
Compose a concluding sentence. A concluding sentence restates or further supports the claim or position you took in your topic sentence. A concluding sentence can also drive home an important point that you'd like to make in your short response. A concluding sentence for our example short response could be: It is important that we use renewable resources in order to protect our planet from depleting the resources we need most.
Re-read your short response and double-check your spelling. Make sure you have the correct punctuation. Erase any notes you wrote in the test margins.
Things You Will Need
- Paragraph composition knowledge
- Scrap paper * optional (if allowed)
- taking test image by Petro Feketa from Fotolia.com