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New Student Orientation

Basic Writing Challenge Exam

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New Student Orientation

202 Lawrence Center
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-3305
Fax: 610-430-5945

Basic Writing Challenge Exam

REGISTER for the Basic Writing Challenge Exam (BWCE)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Basic Writing Challenge Exam (BWCE)?

The Basic Writing Challenge Exam is an optional, free essay exam, available to anyone who has an SAT Writing score of 479 or lower or an ACT Combined English/Writing score of 20 or lower or who has neither an SAT Writing score nor an ACT Combined English/Writing score. ENGQ20 is Developmental writing. It's a 3 credit course that counts toward students' grade point average (GPA) but does not count towards graduation. Students who pass the challenge exam will be permitted to take WRT120, Effective Writing 1 without first taking ENGQ20.

Should I take the BWCE?

You should only take this optional exam is you believe that your SAT Writing score or your ACT Combined English/Writing score does not accurately reflect your writing ability and if you think that you will not benefit from the extra support ENGQ20 can give you as a writer. If you do not have either test score, you may wish to take the BWCE to provide a replacement score. Taking the BWCE does not guarantee placement into WRT120. Students may have to wait one semester until sufficient spaces are available in WRT120.

What's on the BWCE?

The BWCE is an essay exam that asks you to write in response to a selected reading. The exam will have several prompts or questions relating to the reading. You will be asked to write an essay in response to one of the prompts (of your own choosing) for the exam. Students are encouraged to read the essay ahead of time to prepare for the exam (See link to article below). Copies of the reading will be provided during the exam. Previously prepared notes or writing is prohibited during the exam.

How is the BWCE administered?

The proctored exam is held in a computer lab. You will type/compose your essay in Microsoft Word. You will have approximately one hour to read, brainstorm, outline, take notes, and write your essay. Once you are finished, you will be provided with instructions to submit your essay online.

How should I prepare for the BWCE?

Before Your Exam Date

For The Exam Date

  • Make sure you bring your WCU student I.D. number and e-mail address. Your ID is a seven-digit number beginning with a zero; your e-mail address is the initials of your first and last name plus your ID, excluding the first zero (e.g. John Doe's is jd123456). See the letter you received from New Student Programs for this information, or contact their office at (610) 436-3305.
  • Bring a photo I.D. and a pen or pencil and scrap paper in case you want to outline or take notes.

When and where is the exam offered?

BWCE will be offered on:
Saturday, April 11, 10:00am - 11:00am
Saturday, May 2, 10:00am - 11:00am
Saturday, May 16, 11:30am - 12:30pm

Arrive 30 minutes before the test to check-in at the exam site. All exams are administered in Anderson Hall.

Reminder: You must bring a photo ID to the test site in order to take the exam.
Note: Registration closes at the end of the day on the Wednesday before each test date.

How do I register to take the BWCE?

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register at least four to five business days before the exam.

REGISTER for the Basic Writing Challenge Exam (BWCE)

You will receive an email confirmation of your registration.

How is the BWCE rated?

Every exam is read and rated by three West Chester University writing faculty who are trained and supervised by the Director of the Basic Writing Challenge Exam, a senior member of the English faculty. The readers apply carefully chosen standards that reflect the real requirements of West Chester University writing courses. A passing exam essay will demonstrate:

  • a clear and focused response to the prompt
  • a critical analysis of the prompt
  • the use of relevant evidence to support the essay's central ideas
  • an effective order or structure for the presentation of information and ideas
  • the use of voice, tone, diction, and style to add interest to the essay

The test provides an excellent measure of your skills as a student writer and provides a highly accurate basis for your placement.

How will I find out if I passed?

Students who pass the exam will be enrolled automatically into WRT120, if space permits. Official email notification of exam results will be sent to students' WCU email address. The passing rate for the BWCE historically has been 40-45%.

Can I take the BWCE more than once?

We only offer the exam once per student.

How do I initialize my password?

Follow the instructions on the New Student Account Information page or call the IT Help Desk at (610) 436-3350.

Where can I get more information?

  • WCU Composition Program
  • BWCE
  • Department of English Main Office
    • Phone: 610-436-2822
    • Fax: 610-438-0516
  • IT Help Desk
    • Location: Anderson Hall Room 20
    • Phone: 610-436-3350
  • New Student Programs
    • Phone: 610-436-3305
  • Questions about AP tests, SAT tests, Transfer Credits:

    Office of Admissions:
    108 W. Rosedale Avenue
    West Chester PA 19393
    Phone: 610-436-3411

Location, Directions, and Parking

Anderson Hall

The exam will be held in Anderson Hall in the computer labs located on the ground floor. Anderson Hall is located on South Church Street near the corner of Rosedale Avenue. Enter through the main doors on South Church Street and sign-in with your photo I.D. in the lobby area.

You may park behind Sykes Student Union or in the Bull Center parking lot which are located nearby. There are also some metered spots along Church and Rosedale.

Parking and Directions to Campus

Directions to Sykes Student Union Parking Lot

  • From the north (Route 100/High Street): Turn right onto Rosedale Avenue. Just before the stop sign you will see a street on your left (S. Church St.). Turn left onto S. Church Street and make the next right into the Sykes Union parking lot. You may park in any space that is not designated as Faculty/Staff.
  • From the south (Route 202/High Street): Turn left onto Rosedale Avenue and continue with the directions above.
  • To Anderson Hall: From the parking lot, walk toward the intersection of Rosedale Avenue and Church Street, continue north on Church Street. Anderson Hall is the second building on the right.

Directions to Bull Center Parking Lot

  • From the north (Route 100/High Street): Immediately after the intersection of High Street and Rosedale Avenue, turn left into the parking lot.
  • From the south (Route 202/High Street): Immediately before the intersection of High Street and Rosedale Avenue, turn right into the parking lot.
  • To Anderson Hall: From the parking lot, walk towards the intersection of Rosedale and High, continue west on Rosedale. Turn right onto Church St. Anderson Hall is the second building on the right.