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Writing Placement Assessment (WPA)



Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

All undergraduates must demonstrate competency in writing skills at the upper division level as a requirement for the baccalaureate degree within the California State University System. At San Diego State University, the Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) is used to assess that competency. Additional information on the GWAR requirement can be found at the SDSU Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement page.

Writing Placement Assessment
The Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) will ask you to write an essay analyzing a written argument. You will be given a short reading selection in the form of an argument and asked to write an essay answering a series of questions that relate directly to the reading selection. The questions you will be asked to address in the essay will focus specifically on analysis of the argument presented in the reading rather than a personal response. For instance, you may be asked to assess the argument's structure, or to explain how the author is using rhetorical strategies to persuade an audience, or to evaluate (using evidence from the reading itself) how convincing the argument is. Extensive personal writing (your opinions, your experiences) or summary will not be called for or apprpriate for this exam.
You will be alloted two hours for this assessment.

Preparation for the Writing Placement Assessment
Students are strongly urged to prepare in advance before attempting the Writing Placement Assessment. In addition to the general testing information found here, an additional website has been created with study materials, test-taking strategies, and sample essays at the WPA Prep Information website. A WPA Question and Answer page is available to answer basic questions.

Free writing workshops are also offered prior to each exam

The Office of Student Testing, Assessment and Research offers a limited number of appointments to review a test taken in the prior six months. To schedule an appointment, please call (619) 594-5216.

Time Frames for the Writing Placement Assessment
Continuing students must take the WPA during the semester in which they are completing 60 units or in the semester immediately following. Transfer students are eligible to take the WPA once they have received an offer of admission. They must take the examination during their first semester at SDSU. Students are allowed to attempt the WPA twice within their given time frame. Students who do not take the examination by the end of the required time frame will not be able to register for future terms.

Schedule of Examination Dates
The Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) will be administered on the following dates:

Writing Placement Assessment (WPA)
Test Date Times* Online/In-Person Reg Deadline Mail-In Reg Deadline Scores Released
Saturday, October 3, 2015
8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
Sept. 28, 2015
Sept. 24, 2015
Oct. 16, 2015
Saturday, October 17, 2015
8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
2:30 p.m.
Oct. 12, 2015
Oct. 8, 2015
Oct. 30, 2015
Saturday, November 7, 2015
8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.
2:30 p.m.
Nov. 2, 2015
Oct. 29, 2015
Nov. 20, 2015

* Sessions will be closed when testing capacity is reached.
Check the Online Registration Site to determine if the testing session is available.

Registration for the Writing Placement Assessment

***Students Requiring Disability Accommodations please read!

Writing Placement Assessment online registration (credit card or check) Online Registration hours of availability: 6:30 a.m. - midnight (Pacific Time)
Note: In order to register online, you must have completed 60 units. During the semester in which you are completing 60 units, the online registration system will not allow you to register for the WPA until approximately two weeks after the add/drop deadline.


Fill out the Mail-In Test Registration Form


Come to the SDSU Testing, Assessment & Research Office (SSW-2549) during business hours (M-F 8:00 am - 4:30pm) and purchase a ticket. The fee for the Writing Placement Assessment is $45.00. Make check payable to "SDSU." (Credit card payment is only available online.) Tickets are non-refundable.

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