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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 WPP consists of two parts:

Part 1: You will complete a writing background survey and read some materials about the UC San Diego writing programs. You must practice submitting an assignment on the device you plan to use for Part 2. This part is untimed, and you can complete it at your own pace, but we recommend you allocate at least 90 minutes for it. You will have two weeks to complete it, and you must complete it 24 hours prior to your scheduled Part 2. You can only move forward to Part 2 after you have completed Part 1.

Part 2: You will be asked to read excerpts and respond to several prompts within a 2.5-hour limit on the scheduled date and time. All students will start and finish the timed writing test at the same time. 

Students may only complete the placement process once. 

WPP Registration

Students who have not fulfilled the ELWR will receive a notification from the UC San Diego Analytical Writing Program in May to register for the online WPP that will take place in summer. 

Test Dates

The online WPP is typically offered in May/June and August/September.

If you do not have any qualifying test scores or composition courses to fulfill the ELWR, you must complete the WPP in May/June.

If you are waiting for other standardized test results to be released in summer, and if you do not receive a qualifying score, you must complete the WPP in August/September. 

If you are taking or plan to take a qualifying college composition course in a community college in summer, you do not need to sign up for the WPP. But if you do not pass the course with a C or better, you must complete the WPP in August/September. 

The earlier you complete the process, the earlier you will receive your writing placement result to enroll in AWP 3, AWP 4A, or your college writing course for the fall quarter. 


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. 

Technical Requirements

First, you must activate your UCSD account (TritonLink Active Directory Account). Then, log in to Canvas to activate your Canvas account. 

To prepare for taking the online test on Canvas:

  1. Use a desktop or laptop. There are known issues associated with the Canvas app on mobile devices, such as Chromebooks, tablets, or smartphones. 
  2. Try different browsers when you run into problems. Firefox is the most stable, or you can use Chrome or Safari. 
  3. Practice submitting assignments in Part 1 on the device you plan to use for Part 2. Practice again two to three days prior to the exam, so you know your current browser version is working. You can practice this part unlimited times to familiarize yourself with the process. 

On the day of the test:

  1. 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.
  2. Disable the browser extensions temporarily or use a browser without any extensions. Extensions can cause webpages to load very slowly.
  3. Restart your desktop or laptop at least an hour before the exam. This will help clear out temporary files and free up computing power. 
  4. Clear your browsing history. 
  5. Log in 10 minutes early on your Canvas Part 2 site 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. You will expect heavy traffic on Canvas, and it might take you a few tries to submit successfully. 

WPP Results

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

  • If you take the May/June test, the results will be available by mid-July.
  • If you take the August/September test, the results will be available by mid-September. 

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 placement 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.