English Essay Test Prompt

  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have moved the English Placement process online and are using the Essay test for all summer 2020 placement. Since the Portfolio represented an opportunity for students to submit placement material online, we are temporarily halting the portfolio process until we resume in-person orientation in the future.

  • Prompt

    How prepared do you think you are for college-level writing? In your essay, develop an argument in which you make a claim for how prepared you are.


    1. Discuss at least one of the quotations provided under “Resources” below 

    2. Discuss other kinds of evidence, which could include:

      • English class assignments or other school writing (writing for other courses, applications, standardized tests, clubs or organizations)
      • Writing outside of school (creative writing, web writing, blogging, social media, community writing, podcasting, songwriting)
      • Other writing experiences

    Note: This should be an entirely new piece of writing that you produce for this placement test. Do not reuse anything you have already written or copy and paste from any websites. 


    From Michael Dubson, “Whose Paper is This, Anyway,” page 96

    “College writing courses are supposed to give students experience in writing. In doing so, they should become familiar with the various stages one has to go through to write, the generalized process that we all experience, as well as learning and understanding more about their own working habits and the working mechanisms of their own minds. In the process, we teach them to write different kinds of projects… All of this to strengthen their sentence skills, their composition skills, their thinking skills - which will help them in their other coursework and in the real world.”

    From Herb Budden, Mary Nicolini, Steve Fox, and Stuart Greene: “What We Talk About When We Talk About College Writing,” page 82

    “What we emphasize most in [college-level writing] is analytical thinking. We ask students to use their own experience and knowledge, along with ideas drawn from books or readings in the course, to identify questions, issues, and problems. In these assignments, students are not sent out to do unfocused, undirected ‘research.’ They are not asked to ‘choose’ a thesis, write an outline, and flesh it out with information. They are asked to remember, to read, to talk, to explore, to brainstorm, to freewrite, to question. Out of this work, out of much writing, emerge questions and issues.”