The Writing section consists of two tasks: an integrated task that includes a short listening and reading, and an independent task that is based on personal experience. You will need to type your response to each task on the computer.
Understanding the Writing screens
Look at the example Writing screen below.
The directions for completing the task appear at the top of the screen. The question or topic you are to write about appears on the left below the directions, and the area that you will write in is on the right. In the example above, the test-taker has begun the essay. Note the small vertical line after the last word. This is called the cursor. On the computer, the cursor blinks constantly so that you can locate it easily. The cursor shows where you are in the text.
Using special keys on the computer keyboard
Look at the example of a typical keyboard. Moving around on the screen and typing and deleting text using special keys is explained in detail below.
Moving around on the screen
Once you have started typing your response, the writing area will fill up quickly, and you will not be able to see all of your essay at once. To see the part of your essay that is above and below the area shown, you can use the arrow keys on the keyboard or use the mouse to reposition the cursor.
Starting a new line
When typing your essay, the computer will automatically start a new line when you get to the end of a line. If you want to start a new line before you get to the right margin (for example, when you wish to start a new paragraph), press the Enter key. Press the Enter key twice if you want to leave an extra space between paragraphs.
Indenting a paragraph
If you want to indent your paragraphs (that is, leave a blank space between the left margin and the first word of a new paragraph), first press the Enter key to start a new line. Then press the space bar five times. This will make an appropriate indentation for your new paragraph. (Note: The Tab key on the keyboard, which is normally used to indent paragraphs, may not work on the test.)
To delete a small amount of text, use the Delete or Backspace key and delete one letter at a time. To delete a larger amount of text, it is faster to highlight the text and then press the Delete or Backspace key. To highlight text, place the mouse pointer at the beginning of the text. Click and hold the mouse button down as you move to the end of the text you want to delete. The text will become highlighted as you move the mouse. When you have finished highlighting the text, release the mouse button. The text will remain highlighted. Then press the Delete key to erase the text that you highlighted.
Using the word-processing menu
Some of the features that are available on other word-processing programs can also be used in the Writing section of the test. You can use the Cut, Paste, Undo, and Redo options to make writing on the computer easier. The use of these options is described below.
Cut and Paste
When you cut words or sentences from your essay, they disappear from the screen and are placed in the computer's temporary memory. When you paste words or sentences, they are retrieved from memory and put back into your essay. This feature is helpful when, for example, you wish to move a sentence from one place in your essay to another. The examples on the following pages show how to cut and paste.
First, highlight the text that you want to cut, as shown in the right-hand column below.
Next, click on the Cut button on the word-processing menu. The text will disappear, as shown below.
If all you want to do is cut the text, reposition the cursor and continue writing. But if you want to insert the deleted text somewhere else in your essay, you can use the Paste function. To insert text that you have just cut, position the mouse pointer where you want the text to appear. Click the mouse to make the blinking cursor appear in that place. Then click on the Paste button. The text will reappear in its new location.
Undo and Redo
If you click on Undo, the computer will reverse your last action. If you have just typed some words, they will disappear when you click on Undo. If you have just cut or pasted text, that action will be reversed. Clicking on Redo after Undo will reinstate the action you just reversed. If you click on Cut to erase text and then click on Undo, the text will reappear. If you click on Redo, the text will disappear again.
Completing Your Essay
When you have finished your essay, click on Next, and then your computer will ask you to choose between Return and Continue. Be sure you have read your essay carefully before you click on Continue. You may not make further changes after you have clicked on Continue.