Placement FAQs

Who has to take the Writing Placement Test?

Students are required to take the test if they submitted any English-language proficiency test scores (such as TOEFL scores) to Boston University as part of the admissions process.

I am not sure if I need to take the test. How do I find out if I need to take it?

Your advisor or the advising office for your BU college should be able to tell you if you need to take the test. You may also email writing@bu.edu or call the Writing Program at 617-358-1500.

I was not required to submit English-language proficiency test scores during the admissions process, but I chose to submit them voluntarily. Do I still have to take the test?

Yes, you are required to take the test. The Writing Program does not have a way to determine if test scores were required by Admissions or not, so everyone who submitted English-proficiency test scores must take the placement test.

Do I need to register for the test in advance?

If you are attending a group test session, like the ones given during orientation, you do not need to register for the test ahead of time. If you would like to schedule an individual test session, you will need to arrange a test time in advance. Please do that by submitting the Placement Test Request Form on the Placement web page.

How long is the test?

The test itself takes 50 minutes. Plan to be at the test for about an hour because the administrator will give directions and answer questions before the start of the test.

Do I need to bring anything to the test?

Please bring a pen or pencil. Paper will be provided.

What will the test ask me to do?

You will be asked to read a short piece of college-level academic writing that is about a page long and then summarize it and respond to it.

Is there a length requirement for my essay response?

No. Your essay can be as long or as short as you want.

Can I practice or prepare before the test?

We do not offer practice tests or materials.

What are the possible placements and what do they mean?

You will be placed in WR 097, WR 098, or WR 100.  If you place into WR 097, you are required to take and pass WR 097 and WR 098 before taking WR 100. If you place into WR 098, you are required to take and pass WR 098 before taking WR 100. If you place into WR 100, you should register for WR 100 first and would not need to take any other WR classes before it. Students who place into WR 100 may receive a recommendation to register for one of the WR 100 ESL sections, which are WR 100 sections that spend extra time addressing common ESL writing challenges in addition to the material covered in non-ESL WR 100 sections. WR 100 ESL sections fulfill the same requirement as non-ESL WR 100 sections.

How will I find out my placement?

Your advisor or college’s advising office will contact you to notify you of your placement and help you register for a WR class. If you took the test at your orientation session and you do not receive your placement by the end of the day after you took the test, please contact your advising office or the Writing Program to check on it.

What should I do if I have concerns about my placement?

If you are concerned that the placement you received may not be correct or if there was an unusual extenuating circumstance that you feel caused your test to inaccurately represent your writing skills, please contact writing@bu.edu to arrange a meeting with Maria Zlateva, the Associate Director who handles ESL matters. Professor Zlateva is the only person who can approve placement changes. Because jet lag or general tiredness affects the majority of test takers at the August international student orientation, it is not considered an extenuating circumstance or a reason to change a placement on its own.

I attended the level class where I was placed, but it seems much too easy or much too hard for me. What should I do?

Please contact writing@bu.edu to arrange a meeting with Maria Zlateva, the Associate Director who handles ESL matters. Professor Zlateva will speak with you and your WR instructor to determine if it would be best for you to change to a different level class. Professor Zlateva is the only person who can approve placement changes. Because the deadline to change or add WR classes is one week from the first day of classes (a week earlier than the deadline for other classes), please contact the program as soon as possible the first week of classes if you have any concerns about your placement.

Transfer Credit

Did you take or are you planning to take a composition course at another school? Apply for WR transfer credit.

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Fall 2014 Course Catalog

Visit the Course Catalog page for instructions on how to view the Fall 2014 WR Course Catalog.

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Book a Tutoring Appointment

Tutors are available for all CAS WR classes. Appointments can be booked online.

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