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According to the SDSU General Catalog, all undergraduate students must demonstrate competency in writing skills at the upper division level as a requirement for the baccalaureate degree within the California State University System (CSU). (Students seeking a second bachelor's degree in nursing have satisfied the GWAR with their first baccalaureate degree from a college/university accredited by a regional accrediting association.) The Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) is a two hour examination used to evaluate writing competency.

A. Students must take the WPA within the time frames described below. Once students are enrolled in Rhetoric and Writing Studies 280 or 281 or Linguistics 281, they may not take the WPA to test out of an upper division writing course.

Continuing Students. Continuing students must take the WPA during the semester in which they are completing 60 units or in the semester immediately following.

Transfer Students. Transfer students are eligible to take the WPA once they have received an offer of admission. They must take the WPA by the last test date offered during their first semester at SDSU. The following majors require the WPA as a prerequisite to upper division courses that transfer students must take their first semester; students in these majors should take the WPA prior to attendance at New Student Orientation: Accountancy, English, History, Journalism and Media Studies, Liberal Studies, Linguistics, Management Information Systems, Religious Studies, and Rhetoric and Writing Studies.

Students who do not take the examination by the end of the required time frame will not be able to register for future terms. Students may file a leave of absence for the next semester and maintain continuing student status. If the examination is completed during the leave of absence, the student may re-enroll the following semester. Students who have not taken the examination by the end of the leave of absence term will be required to file another leave of absence to maintain eligibility until the examination has been taken and a score is posted on the record. Students are allowed a maximum of four leaves of absence.

B. Writing Placement Assessment Scores: Students who achieve a score of 10 on the WPA satisfy the statewide GWAR and do not have to take a writing course unless an upper division writing course is required by the major.

Students who achieve a score of 8 are required to satisfy the GWAR by completing an approved upper division writing course with a grade of C or higher. See the list below.

Students who earn a score of 6 or lower are required to complete Rhetoric and Writing Studies 280 (or Rhetoric and Writing Studies 281, or Linguistics 281 if English is your second language) with a grade of C or higher before enrolling in one of the approved upper division writing courses. The SDSU class registration system will require students who earn a 6 or lower to register for the required course in the semester immediately following the test date.

C. Students who transfer from another California State University campus having fulfilled the GWAR will not be required to repeat it. However, a course listed below may be required for the major. Contact the Academic Advising Center if you believe you have fulfilled this requirement at another CSU.

D. Students are allowed to attempt the WPA twice within the time-frames and restrictions described above. Students may not drop a course in which they are registered if test results are received after the schedule adjustment deadline. Students must pay the required fees for the examination each time it is taken. Fees are non-refundable.

Approved Upper Division Writing Courses
Accountancy 390W
Africana Studies 305W
Chicana and Chicano Studies 396W
Economics 449W
English 306W (Liberal Studies majors Only)
English 308W
English 508W (Required for English and Comparative Literature majors; open to other majors)
English 581W
English 584W
History 390W
Humanities 390W
Journalism and Media Studies 310W
Journalism and Media Studies 312W
Linguistics 305W
Management Information Systems 396W
Political Science 390W
Recreation, Tourism and Management 396W
Religious Studies 396W
Rhetoric and Writing Studies 305W
Rhetoric and Writing Studies 390W
Rhetoric and Writing Studies 500W
Rhetoric and Writing Studies 503W
Rhetoric and Writing Studies 508W


Preparation for the Writing Placement Assessment
Students are strongly urged to prepare in advance for attempting the Writing Placement Assessment. In addition to the general testing information found here, the WPA Information & Preparation Site contains study materials, test-taking strategies, and sample essays.

Free writing presentations and workshops are also offered prior to each exam.

WPA Advisor: SDSU Testing Services hosts a limited number of appointments with an RWS WPA Advisor (on a first-come, first-served basis) to review a WPA test taken in the prior six months. To schedule an appointment, please call (619) 594-5216. Walk-ins are not accepted.


Test information, fees, and exam dates and times are subject to change without notice.


Test Date Times* Reporting Location Registration Deadline Scores Released by**
Saturday, January 20, 2018
8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
GMCS 333
January 15, 2018
February 6, 2018
Saturday, February 3, 2018
8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
GMCS 333
January 29, 2018
February 20, 2018
Saturday, February 24, 2018
8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
GMCS 333
February 19, 2018
March 13, 2018
Saturday, March 10, 2018
8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
GMCS 333
March 5, 2018
March 27, 2018


* Sessions will be closed when testing capacity is reached regardless of registration deadline or posted times.

** Please note that some test results may not be available prior to the next scheduled test date, so plan your test date accordingly.

Registration Information

Fee information:

The exam fee is $45.00. Admission Tickets are non-refundable and may not be transferred to another individual.

Date/Time Transfer Policy:

To transfer to a different exam date and/or time, you must bring your Admission Ticket to Testing Services (SSW 2549) by 12:00 p.m. (noon) the business day prior to the exam date. Testing Services is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Online registration:
Writing Placement Assessment (Note: You may register online during the semester in which you are completing 60 units after the Office of the Registrar places a WPA registration hold on your file, or you may bring a copy of your unofficial transcript to Testing Services during regular business hours so we can assist you with registration.)
Or Mail-in registration:
Or In-person registration:
Come to SDSU Testing Services (SSW 2549), Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. for instructions.
Print Admission Ticket:
You must bring a printed copy of your Admission Ticket to be admitted to your exam. Electronic copies are not acceptable. To print your Admission Ticket, click here
Students Requesting Accommodations:
Students with WPA accommodations authorized by SDSU Student Disability Services (SDS), and placed on the Testing Services reservation system by SDS, will be offered an accommodated WPA test session automatically during the online registration process.
Information about having the exam proctored remotely:
Directions & Parking Information:


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