Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Entry Level Writing Requirement, and how do I meet it? 

The University of California requires all undergraduate students to demonstrate a minimum proficiency in English composition by meeting the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR). If you don’t meet the requirement, you must take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE). For more information on what that exam is, when it is offered, and how to sign up for it, see our AWPE information page and visit the AWPE website

What happens if I don’t pass the AWPE?

If you do not pass the AWPE, you are instructed to enroll immediately in AWP 1 or AWP 2A. You must enroll in your AWP course during your first quarter of residence at UC San Diego. Be sure to enroll before classes have met for the second time. If you miss this enrollment, you will have wasted one of three quarters in which to fulfill the Entry Level Writing Requirement.

Why was I placed in AWP 2A-2B?

AWP 2A-2B is a two-course sequence for students whose AWPE indicates that they would benefit from extra English language support in order to develop their critical thinking and writing abilities. Students who successfully complete AWP 2A will receive a grade of IP (in progress) at the end of the quarter and must take AWP 2B the following quarter, with the same instructor.

At the end of AWP 2B, students will submit their portfolio for evaluation. If the portfolio demonstrates readiness for College Writing, the student will pass directly to College Writing. If the portfolio does not demonstrate readiness for College Writing, the student will enroll in AWP 1 the following term. Students will not be able to repeat the AWP 2A-2B sequence. 

How many quarters do I have in order to fulfill the ELWR?

Each quarter in which a student does not make a good faith attempt to enroll counts as a lost term of eligibility. Students placed in AWP 1 will have up to three consecutive quarters to complete the Entry Level Writing Requirement, whether they enroll or not.

Students placed in AWP 2A-2B have up to five consecutive quarters to complete the Entry Level Writing Requirement, as long as they enroll right away. Students who complete AWP 2A and AWP 2B can thus enroll in 1 for up to three subsequent quarters. Exception: Students placed in AWP 2A-2B who do not attempt to successfully complete AWP 2A within the first three quarters will be prohibited from further enrollment at UC San Diego.

Can I take AWP courses in Summer Session?

Students must receive department approval to enroll in AWP 1 in summer session. AWP 1 is only open to students who have exhausted their eligibility. Exceptions may be made for students who have completed AWP 2A and AWP 2B or students who have completed at least one quarter of AWP 1 only if there are seat available after all “last chance” students have been accommodated. Enrolling in AWP 1 during the summer does not count towards your allotted ELWR quarters of eligibility.

Students who pass AWP 1 in the summer with a C or better can then enroll in their College Writing courses in the fall. "Last chance" students who do not pass are prohibited from further enrollment at UC San Diego.

For current summer session offerings, see Courses.

I’ve heard that you need to pass an exit exam before you can pass on to College Writing. Is that the case?

No. In Fall 2015, the university eliminated the exit exam and replaced it with a culminating portfolio. The portfolio, which includes several pieces of writing, is assessed by the student’s instructor and at least one other reader. For more information on the portfolios, see our grading policy. If the portfolio demonstrates that the student is ready for College Writing, the student will move on. If not, a student will enroll in an additional AWP course as long as they have not exceeded their ELWR quarters of eligibility.

If I don’t agree with the outcome regarding my AWPE or my portfolio, can I appeal? 

No. AWPE and portfolio results cannot be appealed except in the rare case that a student has been discriminated against. Please see our policy on appeals.


Contact the Analytical Writing Program if you have additional questions.