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California State University, Long Beach
Testing, Evaluation & Assessment
Testing, Evaluation & Assessment
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WPE Bulletin

A. Testing Requirements

CSULB undergraduate students who have not met the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) of the CSU must attempt the WPE once. Graduate students are exempt if they have earned a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university. If graduate students have earned a bachelor's degree outside of the U.S., they can call the Testing Office at (562) 985-4007 to see if they are exempt.


Undergraduate students must attempt the WPE when they have achieved between 30-50 cumulative units, and transfer students must attempt it in their first semester of attendance or a hold will be placed on their records and they will not be allowed to register for classes until the test is attempted.

Graduate Students

Students who have earned a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university are exempt from taking the WPE. Students who earned their bachelor's degree outside of the U.S. from a country on this approved list are also exempt.

Note to both undergraduate and graduate students

The GRE or GMAT analytical essay writing score of 4 or higher can be used to meet the GWAR; students who have earned these scores are exempt from taking the WPE. Students should submit their scores directly to Enrollment Services in Brotman Hall, room 123.

Also Note

Students who have WPE registration holds on their accounts can file an appeal to have a hold temporarily removed. Appeal forms are located on our website under "Forms" in the left menu.  Students should check their MYCSULB for the status of their appeal. A request for a semester's postponement of the WPE for compelling reasons (e.g., studying abroad, family illness) can be submitted to the Testing Office.

Interpretation of the WPE score

The score students earn on the WPE determines whether they will be required to take further coursework in writing. The WPE is scaled from 0-18 points. Students who score an 8, 9 or 10 are required to take a GWAR portfolio course. Students who score below an 8 are required to take ENGL 301A followed by a GWAR portfolio course. Please visit the GWAR website for complete details:

Students can take the WPE only once.  Please do not register for the test again if you have already taken the WPE, we do not issue refunds.


B. Registration & Results


Students must register for the WPE online. To do so, they must select "online registration" in the upper right corner of the WPE web page. On this site, students can pay for the WPE using a major credit card or electronic check. Students are not considered to be registered for the WPE until they have completed the online registration, including payment. Students must register by the published deadline for a given test.

Admission Tickets are sent to students one week before a given test date. The admission ticket specifies the test date, time, and room assignment. If students do not receive their tickets by the Wednesday before the test date, they must call the Testing Office between the office hours of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at (562) 985-4007 for their room assignment and further instructions. You must have an admission ticket to take the test.

Standby registration is not available. If students need assistance on the Saturday test date, they should go directly to the Assistance Station. The location of the Assistance Station is indicated in the students' admission tickets to the test, and by signs posted on campus on the day of the test.

Please note: we do not issue refunds or transfers. If students are unable to attend on their given test date, they will need to completely re-register for the next available test.This policy reflects the fact that test materials, processing, and staffing costs are incurred for each examinee registered, whether the examinee actually takes the test or not.


Test results are e-mailed six to eight weeks after the test date. Students should make sure that CSULB has their preferred e-mail addresses. Students will be e-mailed a detailed result letter containing instructions about what their score means and how they should proceed if they do not pass the WPE.


C. Test Dates & Times

The WPE is offered twice each semester and once during the summer. The test consists of a 75-minute written essay on an assigned topic. Students should expect to be in the testing room for up to two hours. No one may leave early. Saturday test takers are randomly assigned to 8:00 a.m., 10:45 a.m., or 1:30 p.m. sessions. Test dates and registration deadlines are listed in our main WPE page.


D. WPE Identification Policy

Students must test under the name for which they have a government-issued I.D. with a current, valid photo and signature . NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED TO THE WPE WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION, REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES. The following forms of identification are currently acceptable for admission to the test: California Driver's License, California Identification Card, U.S.A. Passport, U.S.A. Military I.D. or U.S.A. Naturalization Paper. A second form of I.D. may be requested of any examinee.

Please Note: A CSULB student identification card is not acceptable as the only form of identification for admission to the test. The CSULB student identification card must be presented with at least one other form of positive photo-signature I.D.; in some cases it may be acceptable with a temporary driver's license, if that license has both a physical description and a signature. If students are uncertain about whether their forms of I.D. will be accepted (e.g., out-of-state licenses or non-U.S.A. passports), they should bring their I.D. and Admission Ticket to the Testing Office before the test date. If students' forms of ID are accepted, a notation will be made on their admission ticket. If students cannot come to the Testing Office prior to the test date, they should bring their ticket and all available forms of I.D. to the assistance station on the day of the test at least thirty minutes before their reporting time indicated on their admission ticket. For questions, students should call the Testing Office between the office hours of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at (562-985-4007), no later than the Wednesday before the test date.


E. On the Day of the Test

  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to your test time to allow for parking.
  • Bring your admission ticket, identification, pencils and a pen.
  • Do not bring any aids to the test, such as a dictionary, scratch paper, white-out, paperback, or any other reading material.
  • Comply with all written and oral testing regulations.
  • Understand that you will be assigned a seat upon admission to the testing room.
  • If you experience any difficulties on the day of the test, go directly to the Assistance Station.
  • You will not be admitted to the test if you are late.
  • You will not be permitted to leave early from the test.


F. If You Miss a Test Date

There are no refunds and no transfers of test dates. This policy reflects the fact that test materials, processing, and staffing costs are incurred for each examinee registered, whether the examinee actually takes the test or not. If you do not attend the appointment date and time on your Admission Ticket, you must completely reregister for the next test cycle and pay the full fee.


G. Special Accommodations for the WPE

If you are seeking accommodations through Disabled Student Services, such as extended time or other support due to physical or learning disability, please contact the Accessible Instructional Materials Center (AIM) at (562) 985-1663, located in the Academic Services Building, Room 116. You will be given instructions about how to register for this exam. 



H. Non-Saturday Testing

Non-Saturday testing is available for religious reasons only. Students must provide documentation by the registration deadline. If students do not provide required documentation, they will be automatically assigned to a Saturday test time. Testing is generally done one day during the next two weeks following the published Saturday test date.


I. WPE Preparation Resources

Free workshops are offered in the two-week period prior to each test date. Pre-registration is not required. Workshops last about 3 hours. One workshop is especially helpful for students for whom English is a second language; however, both workshops are open to all students. Materials are supplied to students at the workshop.

Exact date, time, and room information are determined one month prior to each test date. Call the Testing Office at 562-985-4007 for more information.


J. Extended Time

Students may petition to take the WPE with extended time. Students who are approved will be given two hours (an additional 45 minutes) to complete the test. To apply for extended time, please complete this form and submit it to the Testing Office by the extended time deadline:

Extended Time Application WORD 40KB


K. Waivers

In rare circumstances, students can apply for a GWAR Waiver. These are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. To apply for a waiver, please complete this form and submit it to the Testing Office with all required documents:

Waiver Form WORD 44KB


L. Sample Essay Topic

Below is a sample of a WPE topic. The topic format is identical to the one below. Topics have been carefully pretested for bias and equal levels of difficulty:

DIRECTIONS: You will have a total of 75 minutes to respond to the topic below. A time warning will be announced 10 minutes prior to the end of the test.

  • You will not be allowed to leave early.
  • Write an analytical essay in which you express your thoughts carefully, logically, and effectively.
  • Be sure to respond to all parts of the assignment.
  • Provide examples and evidence to support your ideas.


Several years ago, futurists predicted that, as a result of developing technology and automation, people in the U.S. would have much more leisure time in the future. However, a recent survey indicates that since the early 1980s the median number of hours worked by Americans has increased by 20 percent while the amount of leisure time available to the average person has dropped by 32 percent. According to the survey, this trend toward less and less leisure time has been steady and unwavering.

* Discuss some possible causes and consequences of this trend.
* Support your response with evidence from your own reading, observation, and experience.