Is the Writing Proficiency Exam the only way to meet the Writing Proficiency Requirement?

No, students may meet the Writing Proficiency Requirement by taking ENGL 2113 or by taking two Writing Intensive (WI) Courses.

Why do I need to take the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) or pass ENGL 2113?

The Writing Proficiency Requirement, in general, demonstrates the University's mission to nurture critical thinking and effective writing.  The Writing Proficiency Exam, in particular, measures a student's ability to produce clear and direct prose within time constraints and under considerable pressure; in effect, the Exam simulates the conditions under which most college graduates will be expected to write in their future careers.  As an invaluable assessment tool, the Writing Proficiency Exam facilitates the University's efforts to determine whether students have the skills necessary for success.

What is the Writing Proficiency Exam?

The Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) is a two-hour essay test, which is administered each fall, spring, and summer semester. If you pass the WPE, you have met the Writing Proficiency Requirement. If you fail the WPE, you must enroll in and successfully complete English 2113: Intermediate Composition & Grammar, at MSU. The WPE may not be retaken nor may credit for the test or the course be transferred from another school.

Who should take the WPE?

Students who are seeking a Bachelor's Degree who have over 60 credit hours and have passed both ENGL 1143 (or its equivalent) and any 'List B' Communication Core Course. Students may take the exam only once. If you are planning on taking two WI courses, you do not have to take the exam.

Can I take ENGL 2113 instead of taking the WPE?

Yes. MSU policy states that a student must pass either the WPE or ENGL 2113 prior to having 90 credit hours in order to obtain a Bachelor's Degree.

What if I am a new transfer student to MSU with over 90 credit hours?

MSU policy states that new students transferring into MSU with over 90 credit hours should take the WPE during their second long (fall or spring) semester at MSU and, if necessary, enroll in and pass ENGL 2113 in their third semester.

What if I already have a degree from another institution? Do I still have to take the WPE or enroll in ENGL 2113?

Yes. Although you have earned a bachelor's or a master's degree from another institution, University policy mandates that any student seeking a bachelor's degree must satisfy the Writing Proficiency Requirement in order to graduate. There are no exceptions.

How do I sign up to take the WPE?

Where do I take the WPE?

Students may take the WPE on their personal computer or laptop from anywhere that has access to internet and a webcam. See  Exam Day Information for specifics.

How should I prepare for the exam?

How does a student with documented disabilities take the exam?

Students with documented disabilities register for the exam in the same manner in which other students do. Then, contact Disability Support Services at 940-397-4140 at least 2 weeks prior to the exam date to arrange special accommodations.

What is the nature of the exam?

The Writing Proficiency Examination tests the ability of juniors to write a college-level persuasive  essay. Each test-taker responds to one of two prompts by writing an essay of at least 300 words in a two‑hour period. Extra time and alternate locations may be arranged for students with documented disabilities. A typical exam would consist of an introductory paragraph in which you write a thesis statement (the subject plus your opinion on the subject), at least two body paragraphs giving concrete examples to support your thesis, and a concluding paragraph.

What are the criteria for grading?

A passing essay responds to one of the prompts with a clearly stated thesis which then receives adequate support and development in the rest of the essay. The essay shows reasonably effective organization, including appropriate paragraphing, reasonable command of sentence structure and vocabulary, and reasonable adherence to standard American conventions of spelling, usage, and punctuation.

How is the exam graded?

The final draft of each examination is read by two full-time members of the MSU faculty, who have no knowledge of the writer’s name or of the other reader’s evaluation. No marks are placed directly on the exam, but each grader notes errors, records his or her evaluation of the essay based on the criteria listed above, and assigns an overall grade of pass or fail on his or her own comments sheet.

When the comments sheets are compared, if the two graders do not agree on whether the exam passes or fails, it is read in the same manner by a third member of the MSU faculty, also without knowledge of the writer’s name, for a final determination. The evaluation of the graders is final, and though a student, on request, may review his or her comments sheets, there is no appeal. Test papers and comment sheets will not be returned to the student. A copy of the comments sheet used by the faculty can be seen as a PDF.

How are the results posted?

The results of the Writing Proficiency Examination are confidential. They are reported via confidential memo from the Writing Program Administrator to the Deans of the Colleges, to the Provost, and to the Registrar. The Registrar posts each passing result to  the individual student’s transcript. If you have passed, your transcript will say "Writing Proficiency Exam -Passed." If you have not passed, you will not see anything on your transcript. For further information, visit Checking Your Exam Results.

Students should check their transcripts through the MSU website approximately four to six weeks after the test date to determine if they have passed the exam. Results will not be given out in person, over the phone or via e-mail.

Can I appeal the results of my exam?

No. There are no appeals of the results of the WPE. Read above "How is the exam graded?"

Can I meet with someone to review my individual results?

Yes. You may meet with the Writing Program Administrator to review your exam and the grade sheets.  Email the Writing Proficiency Office for information to schedule an appointment with the Writing Program Administrator.  However, test papers and comment sheets cannot be returned to the student.

What are some of the common reasons that some students fail?

  • They do not write on the topic chosen.
  • THey do not write an appropriate thesis.
  • They do not support their thesis with concrete examples and evidence.
  • Their papers consist of only one paragraph.
  • Their body paragraphs are not focused or well developed.
  • Their papers contain serious or numerous mechanical errors.

What if I fail the exam?

Students who fail the Writing Proficiency Examination should enroll in ENGL 2113/x for the following semester if possible. If all sections are closed, and delaying enrollment may cause a problem for the student (delay in graduating, student teaching, or required internship), the student should email the Writing Proficiency Office. Enrollment, however, cannot be guaranteed.

What is ENGL 2113?

ENGL 2113 is called Intermediate Composition & Grammar. It is offered every semester: fall, spring, summer I, and summer II. There are also online sections available.

What is the nature of the course ENGL 2113?

ENGL 2113, Intermediate Composition & Grammar, is designed to build skill in clear and forceful composition and in standard usage.  Passing the course requires passing a final test in usage and writing a satisfactory final essay graded by the same standards as the Writing Proficiency Examination.

Who may take ENGL 2113?

Students may enroll in ENGL 2113, Intermediate Composition & Grammar, after completing 60 semester hours of university credit (junior standing) and after passing ENGL 1143. and any 'List B' Communications Core Course. Passing ENGL 2113 fulfills the Writing Proficiency Requirement.  Students who fail the Writing Proficiency Examination should enroll in and pass ENGL 2113 to fulfill the Writing Proficiency Requirement before or immediately subsequent to completing their 90th semester hour.

What if I am trying to register for ENGL 2113 and all the classes are full?

Contact the Department of English, Humanities, and Philosophy department chair. You may be able to get an override into a class.  Priority for overrides are given to impending graduating students, or for other extenuating circumstances regarding a student's degree requirement for their major.

What if I fail ENGL 2113?

You will need to re-take ENGL 2113 until you pass it. Passing either the exam or ENGL 2113 is a REQUIREMENT for a Bachelor's Degree from MSU. To graduate, you must earn a grade of 'D' or better in ENGL 2113/ 2113x.

What happens if I do not take WPE, two Writing Intensive Courses, or ENGL 2113 before I have 90 hours?

Failure to take the meet the Writing Proficiency Requirement prior to having 90 credit hours can result in a hold being placed on your registration. You may be required to enroll in and stay enrolled in ENGL 2113 in order to continue taking classes at MSU until the Writing Proficiency Requirement is met.

I have a Writing Proficiency Hold on my registration. Why is it there, and what do I do to get it removed?

A student can have a Writing Proficiency Hold for a couple of reasons:
  1. Failure to pass either the WPE, two Writing Intensive courses, or ENGL 2113 prior to having 90 credit hours
  2. Failing the WPE
In order to have the hold waived or removed, please email the Writing Proficiency Office. You may be required to enroll in and stay enrolled in ENGL 2113 in order to continue taking classes at MSU until the Writing Proficiency Requirement is met.

Whom do I contact for additional information?

Writing Proficiency Office
Bea Wood, Room 231
(940) 397-4131