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School of Humanities
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First-Year Writing - Writing Placement Exam (WPE) Tips

Planning Your Essay
Please spend a few minutes planning your essay or narrative before you start to write it.

You may NOT use any outside sources – pre-written essays or Internet sources are not permitted. Students who cheat on the assessment by using Microsoft Word, the Internet, or any other outside source will automatically fail the Writing Proficiency Assessment.

Consider the topic carefully, and, if you are writing an essay, think about your thesis statement and about the main ideas that you will discuss to support your thesis. Consider also how you will organize the main ideas. Be sure to use specific examples and/or relevant reasons to support your ideas. Be sure to include an introduction, a conclusion, and solid paragraphs. You may use first person.

Your essay will be evaluated for its overall quality. Overall quality includes how well the essay addresses the topic and how well it organizes, supports, and expresses the main ideas. Varied sentence structure, accurate word usage, and correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization all contribute to the overall quality of the writing.

Timing Your Essay:
You will have 30 minutes to complete your essay.

Drafting Your Essay:
Please write at least 350 words – the more the better. There is a word count function in the program, and you can use it to gauge your word count.

When you are ready to write your essay, please type it directly into the text box.

On the day of the exam, you will receive instructions about not using the tab key, which has been deactivated in the text box. When you want to indicate a paragraph break, press the ENTER key twice to insert a blank line between paragraphs. To indent, use the spacebar and not the tab key.

You will also receive a reminder about only typing your response into the text box. You do not need to add your name, date, subject, or any other information that you do not intend to include in your essay. Including such pieces of information may lower the final score, because the scoring engine will interpret them as sentence fragments.

Submitting Your Essay:
When you have completed your essay, click SUBMIT ESSAY. Do not log out until the proctor verifies that he/she has your information.
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