Writing Placement

If you have not met the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR), you must take the University of California Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) in May or go through the Writing Placement Process (WPP) offered through the UC San Diego Analytical Writing Program before the beginning of your first quarter at UC San Diego, in order to determine your placement.  

When will I receive the exam notification?

California and Out-of-State Residents

Domestic students who have not fulfilled the ELWR will receive a notification from University of California in May to take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE). This year's AWPE will be held online on Saturday, May 21, 2022. 

Contact AWPE Help Desk at (833) 404-5001 if:

  • You have NOT fulfilled the ELWR and did not receive a test notification letter before May 13, 2022.
  • The exam date conflicts with your religious observance.
  • You need the exam fee refunded because you are exempt from the test by fulfilling the ELWR.

For students who have fulfilled the ELWR but still received an AWPE notification, you don't need to take the exam. However, please self-report your test scores on UC application and arrange for the testing agency to send the official test scores to UC San Diego. 

International Students

International students who have not fulfilled the ELWR will receive a notification from UC San Diego Analytical Writing Program in June to complete the Writing Placement Process (WPP) online in summer. The earlier you complete the process, the earlier you will receive your placement result to enroll in AWP 3, AWP 4A, or your college writing course. 

Transfer Students

All transfer students must complete two UC-transferable English composition courses prior to their transfer. If you are a transfer student, from California or out-of-state, you have met the ELWR and do not need to take a placement exam.

What if I need accommodation?

If you're invited to take the May AWPE, contact the AWPE Help Desk

If you're invited to complete the UC San Diego WPP in summer, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). The Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter must be received by the AWP office three business days prior to the scheduled exam. 

What is the exam 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. Visit the AWPE's Process and Standards and Sample Examinations.

The WPP is like a mini-course, offered in two parts. Part 1 consists of a survey and some materials about the UC San Diego writing programs. This part of the process is un-timed and can be completed at your own pace, but we recommend you allocate at least 90 minutes to complete it. You must complete Part 1 before moving forward to Part 2, where you will be asked to provide writing samples within a two-hour limit on the date and time you register for.

When and where can I find my placement result?

Students can find their Pass/No Pass results and/or writing course placement on the AWP website. Students who take the May AWPE can also learn of their results in July on Triton Checklist. Students who take the WPP will learn of their results before the fall quarter starts. 

What placement result might I receive? 

You will be placed in College Writing, AWP 3, or AWP 4A. If you are placed in College Writing, you have fulfilled the ELWR. If you are placed in an AWP course, you must enroll in the course you are placed into (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 lose one of your quarters of eligibility

May I retake the placement process?

No. You may only complete the placement process once.