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Writing and Reading Placement Testing

student reading in Maxwell Library

All incoming first-year students will compose a brief essay off campus, on their own time. This score along with high school GPA and SAT scores will help determine which first-year English course you will take. Incoming transfer students may also need to write an essay if English courses were not transferred from a previous institution. If you are a transfer student, you will be informed which exams and assessments you need prior to registration.

Our English Department offers sample student essays along with feedback to help incoming first-year students prepare for the writing placement essay. Students are also encouraged to visit the Writing Studio in the Academic Achievement Center for free one-on-one tutoring in writing. Click on the links below to access a particular resource:

Incoming first-year students will complete the essay portion of their placement testing off campus, on their own time. Click here to access the Prompt & Submission page.

This essay measures students' ability to write effectively--a critical component of academic success. Essays will be read by a panel of English faculty members at BSU, who will then place students into the composition course most appropriate for their skill level. 

A satisfactory essay should develop a central idea in response to the essay prompt. Ideas in the essay should be organized into logical paragraphs that include specific details and connect to the author's central idea.

In addition, faculty readers expect students to:

  • Make a central claim about the topic;
  • Provide supporting reasons and evidence for all claims;
  • Recognize the complexities of the topic;
  • Display competence in logical development and organization;
  • Display competence in sentence variety, paragraph development, and usage.
We do not offer rewrites of English placement essays or English placement tests. Unlike mathematics, all introductory writing courses award college credit.

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students who wish to transfer their placement test results to another institution, or obtain a copy of their placement test score report(s), must fill out and submit an official placement test score transcript request form.

Click here for the placement test score transcript request form. +