Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE)

If you have not met the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR), you must take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam, or AWPE, before the beginning of your first quarter at UC San Diego, in order to determine whether you are ready to enroll in the College Writing courses.  

What is the AWPE like?

The AWPE will present you with a single reading of 700–1000 words and will ask you to respond to that reading in one of two ways: 1) to produce an essay relying exclusively on the passage itself, or 2) to produce an essay drawing upon personal knowledge and experience. To write a successful essay, you must 1) demonstrate understanding of the reading and 2) provide a focused, developed, and well-written response.

You can visit the University of California's ELWR site for more information about:

Where should I pay for the AWPE?

There is a $110 fee to take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam. You must make the payment on the University of California AWPE website. (Please log in with your UC application ID to make the payment. Do not log in with your campus PID.)

No other form of payment will be accepted. After you have completed the online payment, the proof of payment will be sent to the e-mail address you have entered. Save a copy of your payment receipt and be prepared to present it.

If you have a waiver of UC admission application fee, your AWPE exam fee is also waived. You can obtain the proof of fee waiver at the University of California AWPE website. Save a copy of your fee waiver and be prepared to present it.

Contact AWPE Customer Service at (833) 404-5001 if you have questions about payment.

How should I take the AWPE?

California Residents

Prior to your matriculation at UC San Diego, if you have not fulfilled the ELWR by April 1, you will automatically receive a notification letter to take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE). The exam is usually held in May.

Contact AWPE Customer Service at (833) 404-5001 if:

  • You did not receive a test notification letter
  • You do not have adequate identification
  • You have a disability or health issue and need test accommodations (requests and supporting documents must be received by late April)
  • The test date conflicts with your religious observance or critical life events, and your name should be deleted from the roster of students expected at the exam

If you are unable to take the AWPE in May, you must take the AWPE on campus. See "Out-of-State and International Students" section for available AWPE dates.  

Out-of-State and International Students

You will have an opportunity to take a Writing Placement Test (WPT) or an Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) at UC San Diego before the fall quarter starts. The earlier you take the exam, the earlier you will receive your result to enroll in AWP 3, AWP 4A, or your college writing class. The test dates should be available in early June. 

For incoming FA21 freshmen: If you do not have any ways to fulfill the ELWR and have not taken any placement test, you must immediately contact the Analytical Writing Program at to sign up for the Writing Placement Test. There is no other option.

The next and last test will be held in mid-September. If you miss this test, you will lose a quarter of ELWR eligibility. 

Transfer Students

You have completed two UC-transferable English composition courses prior to your transfer, so you have met the ELWR and do not need to take the AWPE.

What if I need test accommodation?

If you require test accommodation, please immdiately contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). Once you present us with the Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter 72 hours prior to the scheduled exam, we can arrange accommodation. 

When and where can I find my writing placement test results?

Students can find their Pass/No Pass results and writing course placement on the AWP website. Students who take the May AWPE will learn of their results in late June or July. Students who take the campus test will learn of their results before the fall quarter begins. 

What happens if I don't pass the AWPE?

If you do not pass the placement test and do not have other ways to fulfill the ELWR, you must enroll in the AWP course in which you are placed (either AWP 3 or AWP 4A) during your first quarter at UC San Diego. Students who enroll in AWP 4A are required to enroll in AWP 4B in the subsequent quarter with the same instructor and cohort. Earning a grade of C or higher on AWP 3 or AWP 4B satisfies the ELWR. If you miss this enrollment, you will have lost one of the quarters allotted you for fulfilling the ELWR.

May I retake the placement test?

No. You may only take the placement test once.