Frequently Asked Questions About
the Universitywide Analytical Writing Placement Examination
Q: Why is the exam given in May?
A: The exam is given in May so that your essay can be scored and your
results returned to your UC campus in time for you to select your fall
classes in one of your campus' orientation sessions, which typically begin
in June or early July. The timing also allows you to demonstrate your
writing ability at what should be the peak of your high school training.
Q: I'm taking an AP English exam in May. Do I have to
take the Universitywide Analytical Writing Placement Examination,
A: Yes. The only UC freshmen from California who don't have to take the examination are those who have
test scores that satisfy the Entry Level Writing requirement recorded in the University's
admissions system on or before April 1.
By taking both the Analytical Writing Placement Examination
and an AP English exam you have two ways to meet the Entry Level Writing
Requirement. In addition, a
score of 3 or better on either AP English exam awards you 8 quarter or
6 semester units; on most campuses a score of 4 or better will also award
you exemption from one or more courses subsequent to the Entry Level Writing
Q: Will taking an AP English class satisfy the requirement?
A: No. The AP English class is considered a high school course. Only an acceptable English composition course offered by a college or university is acceptable.
Q: I don't live in California yet. Should I take the May exam?
A: No. The May exam is for students who are currently living in California and who have been selected to take the exam. If you live outside of California you'll have an opportunity to take the exam on campus.
Q: I have not been admitted to any UC campus, but I am on a campus waitlist. Should I plan to take the May exam?
A: If you have not yet been admitted to any UC campus, you should not take the May exam. However, if you are admitted prior to the test date and have not satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement, call our Customer Service number (800-839-8507) for a test center assignment and to receive important information about the exam.
Q: Is there a fee for the exam?
A: Yes, there is a $110 fee for Analytical Writing Placement Examination. You will receive payment information with your test notification letter. The fee can be paid by credit card using the Exam Fee Payment link on this website. The fee will be waived or reduced if you received a waiver of the UC admission application fee.
Q: How should I prepare for the Analytical
Writing Placement Examination?
A: You've been preparing for the exam throughout your high school career.
All the reading and writing you've done — in classes across the curriculum
— should help you succeed on the Universitywide Analytical Writing Placement
It is important that you understand the differences between the sample
essays scored 4, 5, and 6 and the ones scored lower, especially the
3's. You might outline a response to one of the earlier exams, or even
write a practice essay. (If many students in your English class will be
taking the Universitywide Analytical Writing Placement Examination,
your teacher may ask you to do this as a class activity.)
Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam, and arrive at the test center
early. Then relax and do your best.
Q: May I write a draft of my essay?
A: You will be able to plan your essay on scratch paper provided by the test supervisor. You should remember, though, that the readers of your essay will see only what you write in your essay booklet.
Since you have two hours to read and write, it is possible to write a
full draft and then recopy it — if you're a fast writer. But you shouldn't
feel obligated to do so. It is perfectly fine to make corrections and
revisions on an essay first drafted in the essay booklet itself, as long
as they're legible.
Q: What if I finish early? May I leave before the two
hours are over?
A: Yes. You should remember, though, that the readers
who score your essay will assume that it is the product of two hours'
Q: How will I find out how I did on the
Analytical Writing Placement Examination?
A: About a month after you take the exam, you can log into your campus�s admissions website to find out whether your essay satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement.
Q: What if my essay doesn't satisfy the requirement?
A: If your examination essay doesn't satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement, you can still satisfy the requirement before you arrive at your UC campus by achieving one of the test scores that satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement, most commonly an AP English score of 3 or above. Also, each campus's admissions website provides instructions for enrolling in courses that will satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement.