Writing Placement Test Information

If you have taken a writing course (or courses) at your previous institution please send a copy of all writing syllabi to the Registrar’s Office (credeval@bu.edu) so that they can have them evaluated by the Writing Department.  You may be eligible for transfer credit that will fulfill your Questrom Writing requirement, CAS WR 120.

If you have not taken any Writing courses at your previous institution OR if you submitted a TOEFL as part of your application process, you will need to follow the instructions below.

**  Please note that you will be notified via email by me if you need to take the writing placement test.  

Who has to take the Writing Placement Test?

 All students who submitted English-language proficiency test scores (such as TOEFL scores) to Admissions are required to take the Writing Placement Test before taking a CAS WR course. This applies to both international and domestic students.

The presence of an English-language proficiency test score on your BU record is the only thing that determines if you have to take the test or not. Other information about your background (ex. you attended an American high school, you took AP classes, you got high TOEFL scores, you weren’t required to submit scores) will be considered later in the placement process after you test (please see the After the Test section).

Transfer students are exempted from testing if they received enough WR transfer credit to fulfill their BU college’s writing requirements. If you won’t need to take any CAS WR classes because of your WR transfer credit, you don’t have to test.


What is the Writing Placement Test?

The test is the first step in the writing placement process. It is a 60-minute, timed, online test. It is one essay question. You will read a short, college-level text. You will be asked to write a short academic essay responding to that reading that includes summary and analysis. There is no length requirement for your response. Two experienced Writing Program instructors will grade your test. The average of their scores will determine your placement. Students will be placed into WR 111, WR 112, or WR 120.


How to Access the Writing Placement Test

We strongly recommend using Firefox as your web browser. You will need a stable Internet connection. You will need your Boston University user name and password to log in. Please make sure you have at least 60 minutes to take the test. You can’t retake the test, and the test is timed. You can’t pause the test once you start.

  1. All Questrom students required to take the exam will take the exam during an assigned timeframe  You will have a week to take the test. You can take it any day or time during the test session period.
  2. Set up your BU email as far before the test session as possible to avoid log in problems. You will receive an email with instructions. After you create a BU account, you may not be able to access the test until a few business days later. It takes some time for IT to update the access.
  3. When you are ready to take the test, go to https://learn.bu.edu/ during the week of your test session.
  4. Log in to Blackboard using your BU user name (the part of your BU email before @bu.edu) and your BU password. Do not share this password with anyone else.
  5. On the right side of your screen, find the section that says “Courses where you are: Student.” A course called “Writing Placement Test 2018” should appear there. Click on it.
  6. On the left side of your screen, click on “Instructions.” Read and follow the test instructions.
  7. When you get to the test page, click on the test title (the name of the test above the test description) to start the test and the test timer.

Please note that the Academic Conduct Code prohibits students from using any outside sources or assistance during test taking. This will be considered cheating.

If you have any technical problems with the test, please submit a help form: http://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/student-resources/. You also are welcome to email writing@bu.edu.

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After the Test

Your advisor will send you your placement about a week after the last day of the test session. If it is two weeks after the end of the test session and you haven’t received your placement yet, please submit a Test Help Form: http://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/student-resources/.

You will be placed into WR 111, WR 112, or WR 120. Some students may be recommended to take WR 120 ESL. WR 120 ESL sections fulfill the same requirements as other WR 120 sections and have the same major assignments. They are taught by instructors with ESL experience and cover common ESL writing issues in addition to the standard WR 120 material.

If you have any questions or concerns about the placement test, please email writing@bu.edu. You can also read the answers to frequently asked questions here: http://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/writing-program-curriculum/placement/placement-faqs/.

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If you are interested in continuing a foreign language at Boston University, you will need to take a placement exam to determine your proficiency and appropriate course level.  The Questrom School of Business does not have a foreign language requirement, unless a student is planning to concentrate in International Management.  Also, if you are planning to complete a dual degree there may be a language requirement in the partner school.

These are not the only languages we offer! The above languages have online placement exams, but all other languages will have placement exams during the first week of classes in September. In addition to the languages listed above, Boston University also offers: Arabic, American Sign Language, Amharic, Greek (both ancient & modern), Hindi-Urdu, Housa, Isixhosa, Korean, Latin, Persian, Russian, Sawhili, Turkish, Wolof, and Zulu.

Please check with the Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, the Department of Romance Studies, the Department of Classical Studies, or the African Studies Department for placement exam times and locations.
Remember to print your placement results and bring them with you to Orientation.

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