Skip to main content

Writing Placement Process

If you have not met the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR), you must complete 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.  

WPP Overview

The UC San Diego Writing Placement Process is a collaborative process, which means that you have a say in which writing course best positions you for success. The WPP consists of a Writing Background Survey and a timed reading and writing process. 

One week before your scheduled WPP, you will receive an email with a link to the Writing Background Survey. The purpose of the survey is to help you reflect on your high school writing experience that you have done in English. You can complete this survey anytime during the one-week window, and we recommend you allocate 30 minutes for it. Though your answers to the survey will NOT factor into your placement in any way and will NOT be read by the faculty readers, you must complete this survey before your scheduled WPP so the process is meaningful to you. 

On the day of your scheduled WPP, you will log in to your computer ten minutes early. At the scheduled time, click the "Start the Process" button, and you will enter the WPP page. You will have 3.5 hours to complete the reading and writing assignments, and all students will start and finish at the same time. You will be asked to write about two short readings—one chosen by the Analytical Writing Program and one chosen by your College Writing Program. You will then learn more about what the different writing courses expect, and you will declare and explain your placement preference. The faculty readers will carefully assess your writings and your placement preference, and make the final determination of your course placement. 

During this placement process, we require that you only use the reading material that we provide without soliciting or accepting any forms of help from any people or sources. Adhering to the academic integrity standards will ensure that you are creating a fair and accurate placement process for yourself and for your UC San Diego classmates.

You do not need to prepare for the WPP as there is no right or wrong result. Students may only complete the WPP once. 

WPP Registration

All incoming first-year students must complete an ELWR survey after they accept the admissions. This survey can be found on your Applicant Portal and will also be sent to your UCSD email account. Those who have not fulfilled the ELWR will sign up for a WPP date at the end of the survey.

WPP Dates

The online WPPs are typically offered in May and July. Here are the WPP dates for 2024:

Session 1: Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 9:00 am - 12:30 pm, Pacific Time.

Session 2: Saturday, June 1, 2024, at 9:00 am - 12:30 pm, Pacific Time.

Session 3: Saturday, July 20, 2024, at 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm, Pacific Time. (last session)

Who should take the WPP in May/June?

  • If you do not have any qualifying test scores or composition courses to fulfill the ELWR and if you are not waiting for any score or course results to be released in summer, you must complete the WPP in May/June. Most students sign up for these dates. Only when it is absolutely impossible for you to take the WPP in May or June will you sign up for the July date.

Who should take the WPP in July?

  • If you are waiting for other standardized test results to be released in summer (e.g. some AP and IB results are typically released in early July), or if you are taking or plan to complete a qualifying college composition course in a community college in summer, you must re-submit the ELWR survey on the Applicant Portal right after you receive your results. If you do not receive a qualifying score or pass the composition course with a C or better, you must take the WPP in July. This is the last WPP available. 


Please contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) as early as possible. The Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter must be received by the AWP office three business days prior to the scheduled exam for you to receive accommodation. 

Technical Requirements

First, you must activate your UCSD account (TritonLink Active Directory Account). 

To prepare for taking the online test:

  1. Use a desktop or laptop. Refrain from using other mobile devices such as Chromebooks, tablets, or smartphones. 
  2. Update your browser version a couple of days before your scheduled test. Try a different browser if you run into problems.

On the day of the test:

  1. Disable the browser extensions temporarily or use a browser without any extensions. Extensions can cause webpages to load very slowly.
  2. Clear your browsing history. 
  3. Restart your desktop or laptop to help clear out temporary files and free up computing power. 
  4. Ask your family members or roommates to hold off using any internet-dependent tools, such as Netflix, Spotify, or online gaming. You need reliable internet and sufficient bandwidth to complete this process.
  5. Log in 10 minutes early so you have time to resolve any potential technical issues.
  6. Submit your assignments five minutes before the deadline regardless of whether you finish or not. 

WPP Results

You can find your writing placement results on the WPP site before the fall quarter starts. A notification will be sent to your UCSD account. 

  • If you take the WPP in May/June, the results will be available by late-July.
  • If you take the WPP in July, the results will be available by late-August. 

You will be placed in College Writing, AWP 3, or AWP 4A-4B. If you are placed in College Writing, you will have fulfilled the ELWR. If you are placed in an AWP course, you must enroll in the course you are placed into during the first quarter it is offered at UC San Diego. If a student’s WPP result indicates a need for more English language support and/or more time to develop their critical thinking and writing abilities, they will be placed in AWP 4A-4B. 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 in AWP 3 or AWP 4B fulfills the ELWR. If you miss enrolling in the AWP course you are placed into while enrolling at UC San Diego, you will lose one of your quarters of eligibility

If you are placed in an AWP course but later realize that you have received a qualifying score or passed a qualifying course prior to your enrollment at UC San Diego, you can submit the official scores/college transcript to meet the ELWR so you do not have to take the AWP course. Visit the ELWR page for detailed instructions.