Step 3—Register for the Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) Exam

All undergraduates must demonstrate competency in writing skills at the upper division level as a requirement for the baccalaureate degree awarded by a California State University (CSU) campus. At San Diego State University, this graduation requirement is known as the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). SDSU uses a two-hour examination known as the Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) to assess writing competency. The test score from the WPA may either satisfy the GWAR requirement or place students in the appropriate writing course(s) to fulfill the requirement.

If you are seeking a second bachelor's degree in nursing, you satisfied the GWAR with your first baccalaureate degree from a college/university accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting association. Therefore, you are exempt from taking the WPA.

If you are transferring from another CSU campus and you already fulfilled the GWAR in accordance to your former CSU's policy, then you satisfied the GWAR at SDSU. Therefore, you are exempt from taking the WPA.

If you are not exempt from taking the WPA, then you must take the WPA exam between the time you are admitted and no later than the last WPA test date in October 2018. If you do not take the WPA prior to the last WPA test date in October 2018, you will not be allowed to register for spring 2019 classes or future terms at SDSU.

You are permitted to take the Writing Placement Assessment twice during the allowable timeframe. Plan accordingly so you will have the test results in time to register for a second attempt should you choose to do so. The testing fee is required each time you take the exam. You cannot opt out of taking the WPA and enroll in a writing class to take the place of the WPA.

Test Dates

Visit the Testing Services website to view exam dates and registration deadlines for exams being offered at SDSU.

Test Score Information

  • Score 7 or below: You will be required to take RWS 280 (or RWS 281 or Linguistics 281 if English is your second language) in the spring 2019 semester. The registration system will enforce this requirement. You will not be allowed to register until you are enrolled in the appropriate course. Once this course is completed, you will be required to take an approved upper division writing course prior to graduation.
  • Score 8 or 9: You will be required to complete an approved upper division writing course with a grade of C or higher prior to graduation.
  • Score 10 or above: You will satisfy the statewide Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement and do not have to take a writing course, unless an upper division writing course is required by your major.