Q: How do I take the exam?
A: Log into Blackboard and sign in with your bluenet ID and password. Once there, look to the top-right of your screen and click on "Organizations@CCSU." The link to the Writing Placement Exam should appear; click on it to begin the process (the timer does NOT begin at that moment, so you can browse the materials before you begin). If you do not see the Writing Placement Exam link, please email Careen Szarmach at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, contact information, and student ID# and bluenet ID (if you have them).
Q: What is the exam like? How long do I have to take it?
A: You will be asked to read a selected text of approximately 500 words and to respond to specific prompts in a coherent, organized, formal essay of 500-600 words. You will be given two (2) hours to read the text provided and to compose, edit, and submit your essay.
Before you begin, you will be given some information about what we are looking for in your essay, how it will be evaluated, and how that evaluation will determine your placement in a writing class. You may review this information for as long as you like, and any time spent reviewing it will not count against the two (2) hours you have to complete the exam. If you wish, after reviewing the information you may log off and return at another time to write your essay.
After reviewing the evaluation information, you will be asked to answer some demographic questions about your language and writing background. This data will help our faculty decide which writing class is the best fit for you, and your responses will help us better understand the characteristics, goals, and abilities of our student population so that we can improve our program. The time you take to answer these questions will not count against the two (2) hours you have to complete the exam. If you wish, after answering the demographic questions you may log off and return at another time to write your essay.
If you choose to continue, be sure that you have two uninterrupted hours to write your essay because once you begin the process you cannot stop and start again. You will have only one opportunity to take the Placement Exam. When you begin, you will be given a short text to read along with a specific writing prompt to which you will be asked to respond. You will have two hours to read the text, develop your ideas, write your essay, and revise your work before submitting it. After submission, you will be asked to answer two more brief demographic questions that are not part of the two hour, timed writing exam.
Q: Do I need to schedule an appointment?
A: No! The exam is taken online and can be done so at any time, day or night (though taking it as soon as possible is definitely a good decision).
Q: Does the exam cost anything?
A: No, the test is free and requires only access to the internet and a computer. If you do not have internet access at home, you may take the exam from the student computing center on campus, or at any other public terminal.
Q: How do I prepare for the exam?
A: You do not need to prepare for the exam; there isn't a particular subject to study or skill to practice. The goal of the exam is to determine which class best supports your current level of writing ability, so artificially inflating (or depressing) your ability can only hurt you. Just make sure that when you do take the exam, you give yourself 2.5-3 hours of uninterrupted and distraction-free time and a stable internet connection.
Q: What is the deadline to take the exam?
A: You should take the exam as soon as possible. You cannot enroll in a composition course until you do so, and they fill very quickly, so you are in jeopardy of not being able to take a required course if you delay, which may end up delaying your graduation date! We usually offer the exam for newly-admitted Fall semester students from March until the Fall Semester Add/Drop Deadline, and then we re-open it from mid/late October until the add/drop deadline in Spring Semester.
Q: I have a disability and/or need special accommodation. How do I receive support?
A: Please contact Student Disability Services (SDS) and they will ensure that you receive any necessary accommodations. The English Department cannot assist you until you contact SDS and ensure that you are registered, at which point, we will be contacted; we will accommodate you in any way possible.