Writing Placement Exam

All WSU students needing to take a first-year writing course must participate in the Writing Placement Process.

The Writing Placement assessment at WSU uses Qualtrics Surveys to guide students through a series of self-reflection activities and provides a prompt for a short essay that students will write and upload into the survey. The full response, including the short essay, will be read by trained readers who will make a placement determination.

The Qualtrics survey will

  • ask students to consider their abilities as writers
  • direct students to write a short essay and upload it into the survey
  • guide students through several self-reflection questions
  • be read and considered by trained readers who are also the teachers of first-year writing courses.

Once read and reviewed, individual placements will be posted in MyWSU and accessible to advisors as well.

If you are an enrolled student needing to complete writing placement as soon as possible or you are a new student preparing to register, you are invited to participate in this placement session: Writing Placement Summer 2020

Writing Placements

Based on their written exams, students are placed into one of the following:

  • English 100: placement in this course prepares students for the rigors of academic writing that will be found in English 101. Students must successfully complete both English 100 and English 101 to receive the [W] credit.
  • English 101: places students into the course that provides an introduction to academic writing at the university.
  • English 101 + 102: this placement means that students are mostly ready for the challenges of academic writing, but have demonstrated a need for additional assistance in at least two major areas of composition (focus, organization, support, style, mechanics, etc.). English 102 is a one-credit writing tutorial that helps students work on strategies to meet the requirements of English 101 courses. English 102 is taken concurrently with English 101.
  • Exempt: this placement means that students demonstrate a sophisticated knowledge of the conventions of academic writing. Students who are exempted receive credit for taking English 101.

Contact us

Questions about Writing Placement can be directed to Ciara Seppala at 360-546-9260 or van.writingassessment@wsu.edu.


Exceptions to the Writing Placement Process requirement:

  • Students who have earned scores of 4 or above on the AP test in English: Language and Composition will receive credit for English 101 and do not have to complete the Writing Placement Process.
  • Students who earned scores of 5 on the AP test in English: Literature and Composition will receive credit for English 101 and do not have to complete the Writing Placement Process.
  • Students who have earned scores of 4 or above on the Higher Level IB English A: Literature or the Higher Level English A: Language and Literature test will receive credit for English 101 and do not have to complete the Writing Placement Process.
  • Students who are transferring in college English credit need to check with WSU Admissions to confirm how that credit transfers.  So long as the transfer credit fulfills WSU’s first-year writing course requirement, students will not need to participate in the English Placement Process.
    Check how your credit transfers into WSU HERE.

Access Center Accommodations

If you are registered with the Access Center and have alternative testing as an approved accommodation, you may complete your Writing Placement Exam through the Access Center. Please contact van.testing.access@wsu.edu to make arrangements.

If you have a disability and are in need of alternative testing accommodations, but you have not yet registered with the Access Center, please contact van.access.center@wsu.edu to request information or to submit an application for accommodations.

Alternative Testing Accommodations: All accommodations must be approved through the Access Center. For more information about alternative testing accommodations, please email van.access.center@wsu.edu or visit the Access Center website