How to Prepare for the CPT

The CPT contains two parts: sentences with grammatical errors, and an essay. While it is difficult to review English grammar in preparation for the CPT, you can do a lot to prepare for the essay section. By writing practice essays at home you will become more accustomed to writing, and will do better when you sit down for the real test.

CPT Sentences

The first part of the CPT is forty sentences which may or may not include grammatical errors. For each sentence, you will be asked to indicate whether it contains an error or is correct as printed. If the sentence contains an error, you will need to circle the one word that is wrong. No errors in spelling or punctuation are included.

Twenty of the sentences are primarily related to "English as a second language" (ESL) problems. The remaining twenty sentences are related to "native remedial" difficulties, or errors that are typically made by native English speakers. Examples of each type are included below.

ESL Sentences

  1. How many mans are there on the team?
  2. My friend’s mother go shopping on Tuesdays.

Remedial Sentences

  1. We went to the movie theatre last night and seen "The Invisible Man."
  2. None of my friends thinks that I made a good decision.

CPT Essay

You will be given a choice of five possible essay topics. Choose the one that you feel you can most effectively write about. You will be asked to write a 300-500 word expository essay on the topic you have chosen. An expository essay involves presenting an idea, argument, or opinion, rather than just relating a story.

Your essay will be graded on how adequately and specifically you develop your central idea, and on other matters of composition such as word choice, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation.

Your essay should consist of several well-developed paragraphs. Be sure to allow yourself time to revise your initial draft. You are encouraged to make an outline and rough draft before you write the final copy. Any rough work that is crossed out will not be evaluated. Please use a pen.

Practice Essay Topics

  1. Many people feel that parents have neglected their responsibility by not "bringing their children up properly." Write an essay in which you describe what you think are the basic concepts children should be taught in order to insure humankind a better world in the future.
  2. What aspects of the natural world do you find most attractive? Narrow your choice to two or three natural phenomena and explain why you are attracted to them.
  3. As we grow older our hobbies and interests tend to change. Write an essay in which you describe how your hobbies or interests have changed over the years.
  4. Imagine that you have been requested to select the world's best vacation spot. Write an essay in which you make this choice and then provide specific reasons for your decision.

More topics: Using each of the following statements as a starting point, write an essay in which you develop one significant idea related to the statement you have chosen:

  1. Household chores can be...
  2. The benefits of team sports are...
  3. People who are bored with life should...
  4. The characteristics of a good teacher are...
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