The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Writing Placement Exam

The Writing Placement Exam determines the path students will take to fulfill the University of Massachusetts Amherst College Writing (CW) requirement. Based on this exam, students will either take College Writing (ENGLWRIT 112) or a sequence of two courses — Writing, Identity, and Power (ENGLWRIT 111) and College Writing (ENGLWRIT112) – to fulfill the CW requirement. Some students may be invited to apply for a waiver of the CW requirement based on their performance on this exam, and some students may also be eligible for an exemption from the CW requirement based on standardized test scores.

About the Exam
The Writing Placement Exam involves choosing between two topics, reading the three articles provided, writing an essay (typical length: 700-1,000 words), and answering a short reflection question (typical length: 250 words). Students have 72 hours from the time they start the exam in OWL to submit their work.

Exam Access
The Writing Placement Exam is offered online along with the math and foreign language placement exams. To access the Writing Placement Exam, students need to log in to OWL, select Assignment List from the Course Home Page, and choose Writing Placement Exam. Contact with any problems logging in or accessing the exam.

Deadlines and Results

Students may take the Writing Placement Exam at any time, but exams are only scored at set times throughout the year. For upcoming deadlines, please see Events.

The Writing Placement Exam is evaluated by trained UMass Amherst writing instructors who have experience teaching Writing Program courses. Placement results will be emailed to students at their official UMass Amherst accounts or the email provided to New Students Orientation. Please check both accounts, including spam folders.

Technical questions about the exam should be directed to

For more information about writing placement at UMass Amherst, please contact