English Composition

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

The UExcel English Composition examination is based on material typically taught in an introductory, six-credit, two-semester undergraduate course in English Composition, such as English Literature and Composition, Writing Academic English, or Writing English for Academic Purposes. The examination measures the ability to persuade a reader; to understand and compose an extended argument; to analyze and respond appropriately to written texts including literary texts; to use and document sources; and to recognize and write about revision and editing processes. In general, the examination measures the ability to organize knowledge, ideas, and information; to use rhetorical strategies such as narration, illustration, explanation, description, comparison and contrast, division, classification, and cause and effect in appropriate ways; to choose a tone and point of view appropriate for a specified rhetorical situation; to develop and maintain a controlling idea and a coherent organization; to write within the rhetorical, syntactic, and mechanical conventions of Standard Written American English; and the ability to apply style according to the Modern Language Association (MLA). The examination requires advanced knowledge of literary analysis, either prior to taking the exam or as part of preparing for it. Three (3) credits from ENGX111 exam duplicates the ENG*101: English Composition course or the ENGX101 exam. (Extended-response exam)

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.
  • This exam requires proficiency in specialized kinds of analytical, argumentative academic writing in an advanced college composition and literature course that will most likely be different than writing you do for other purposes in your professional and personal lives. Read and use the study 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

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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 English Composition. To assist you in preparing, Excelsior has developed a variety of resources. Begin with the Course Guide, available for free download here:

Download the Course Guide

Start by studying the textbook, the content guide (and outline), and the Course Guide. Augment your study with a visit to Excelsior’s Online Writing Lab (the OWL). You may find the sections dedicated to Writing Process, Rhetorical Styles, Argument & Critical Thinking, and Grammar Essentials 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.

The most essential preparation is to practice writing the sample prompts, using the samples in the Study Guide. Get someone with a strong background in writing and especially in composition to give you feedback, using the rubric in the Study Guide (available for free download on this page). Then, practice writing for the prompts and getting feedback again, until you become comfortable and confident with the types of writing called for in the exam—especially the one on literary analysis.

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.

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