College Writing

Catalog Number
Exam Type
Extended Response
Credit / Level
3.0 / Lower

The UExcel College Writing examination measures knowledge and understanding of the material typically taught in an introductory, one-semester, three-credit, lower-level undergraduate course in college writing. The examination measures the ability to organize knowledge, ideas, and information; to adopt rhetorical strategies such as narration, illustration, explanation, and description in appropriate ways; to adopt and maintain a tone and point of view appropriate for a specified audience and rhetorical situation; to develop and maintain a controlling idea and a coherent organization; and to write within the rhetorical, syntactic, and mechanical conventions of Standard Written American English. (Extended response examination)

Please note:

  • This exam requires you to write essays. It must be taken in a testing center, and does *not* offer the online-proctored option.
  • College Writing requires specialized kinds of analytical, academic writing for a college-level composition course that will no doubt be different than writing you do for other purposes in your personal and professional lives. Read and study the learning materials carefully — and seek feedback on your practice writing.
  • Extended Response means a final grade could take up to 45 days to be issued.


Prepare for the Exam

Visit our bookstore to purchase the recommended resources for this exam:
Find recommended books and study materials

The content guide outlines what you need to learn for each exam and includes a list of recommended textbooks, links to online learning resources, and sample exam questions:
View, download, or print the Content Guide

Note: There is no corresponding practice exam for the College Writing essay exam. To help you prepare, Excelsior has developed a variety of resources to strengthen your writing for this purpose. First of all:

Download the Course Guide

Start by studying the textbook, the content guide (and outline), and the course guide (available for free download on this page!). There is no corresponding digital practice exam for the College Writing exam, as there are for many of the other UExcel exams. One reason is because writing is unique to the individual. Whatever your writing background, to help you further prepare for the exam, visit Excelsior’s very own Online Writing Lab (the OWL). Sections dedicated to Writing Process, Rhetorical Styles, and Argument & Critical Thinking may be particularly helpful to you as you study, depending on which areas of your writing you need to strengthen.

If you need to brush up on your grammar (and if you like interactivity), at the end of Rhetorical Styles there’s a What’s My Assignment? quiz, and there are three Try It Out quizzes in the Grammar Essentials section.

Essential to your success on this exam is to practice writing the sample prompts (found in the Course Guide, available for free download on this page). As you write, ask someone with a strong background in writing and especially in composition to give you feedback, using the rubric in the Course Guide. Then, practice writing the prompts again until you become comfortable with the type of writing called for in the exam.

Good luck!

Register for the Exam

You can register and pay for your exam online. After you register, you will receive an Authorization to Test letter. You'll need to select the 8- or 15-week term in which you'll take your exam.

Pearson charges a test administration fee when you schedule your appointment to test. Additional fees apply for phone transactions (scheduling, rescheduling, and canceling). Visit the Pearson website for the current fee structure.

Contact Us

Exam Fee: $110
Fee shown is for the exam only. Other associated expenses such as books and study resources, or travel, lodging, or providing any required documentation, are additional.
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