All students will be placed in a composition course based on ACT English subscore (see table below). If you wish to challenge this placement, you can take the Writing Placement Exam (WPE), to test into ENG104. ENG104 and ENG108/ETC 200 are graduation requirements for all four-year degrees.

The Writing Placement Exam is designed to gauge your readiness for university-level courses. If it is determined you may need additional preparedness and support to successfully complete ENG104/108 (College Writing and Rhetoric), you may be required to first enroll in ENG100 (Introduction to College Writing). Please note: this course does not count toward general studies English requirements.

ACT* English Subscore High School GPA Course Course Description
No score 2.6 or lower ENG100 Introduction to College Writing
17 or lower 2.6 or lower ENG100 Introduction to College Writing
18 or higher 2.6 or lower ENG104 College Writing and Rhetoric
17 or lower 2.7 or higher ENG104 College Writing and Rhetoric
18 or higher 2.7 or higher ENG104 College Writing and Rhetoric
No score 2.7 or higher ENG104 College Writing and Rhetoric

Dates and times: Important information: The Writing Placement Exam (WPE) will be administered online, on Canvas. It is a timed essay exam that students can take only once. The WPE is administered prior to registration for the fall and spring semesters.

Explanation: You will be provided an article to read and then you will write a text-based essay response. The WPE is voluntary; you do not have to take it. However, if your English ACT is below 18, but you believe you have strong critical thinking, reading and writing skills, then you should consider taking the WPE. Also, if you do not have an ACT score then you should consider taking the WPE. If not, you will be placed in ENG 100, a 3-credit college-level course. For further information about ENG100:

Overview: You can only take the WPE once during this time period and you will be allowed one hour to take the exam. Once you have logged into the WPE, you will not be permitted any other access. Any evidence of plagiarism, cheating or outside help will result in a zero for the exam and you will not be permitted to retake the exam.

If I Wish to Challenge My Placement, How Do I Register for the Writing Placement Exam?

Please contact Stacia Bensyl at to register for the WPE.

Once a student has registered for a Griffon Orientation (GO) session, they will be issued an invitation via university email to take the WPE if they qualify.

To access the WPE on Canvas, click here or:

  • Go to Missouri Western home page.
  • Go to the bottom of the page and select “Quick Links”.
  • Click on Canvas and you will be taken to the WPE course.

Once you access the exam, you will have one hour to complete the essay assignment. Carefully read all instructions first. Then read the assigned article and directly type your essay into the text box. Submit your essay even if you do not complete it.

All essays will be read and evaluated by MWSU faculty and scores will be administered through Canvas.

Students may contact their advisor, Student Success and Academic Advising Center, or the Director of Writing and Placement, Stacia Bensyl, at with any questions regarding the WPE.

If you need to have your placement determined or have any questions, contact the Director of Writing Placement at (816) 271-5936.

What Is On The Writing Placement Test?

We expect college writers to be able to critically read a text and write in response to that text. Please read the following article. Then, write an essay in which you describe and explain why you agree or disagree with the author’s argument. You must offer reasons and support those reasons with your own experiences as well as with the author’s experiences and claims. For this essay, you must have a balance between information from your own life and from the text. If you only write about your own experiences, you will not pass this placement exam. Furthermore, if you do not accurately assess and explain the author’s points, you will not pass this placement exam.

Do You Have Tips For A Successful Essay?

Length: The essays should be long enough to completely address the topic as well as to demonstrate all of your abilities. For most writers, that has proven to be about 3 handwritten pages.

Purpose: Your essay must show proof that you have understood the author’s article/argument and made connections to the article/argument.

Focus: The essay should clearly focus on the assigned topic.

Thesis: The essay should support one main idea, and that idea should be clearly identified. The thesis should include the author’s thesis as well as your connection (agreement or disagreement) to the text. More interesting and challenging ideas will earn higher ratings.

Detail and Support: The essay should be full of facts, examples, quotes and explanations from the article as well as your own opinions and experiences that support the main idea.

Order: The essay should use an effective order that is easy to follow. Your essay must contain an introduction with thesis, focused body paragraphs and conclusion.

Clarity: The paragraphs, sentences and words should make sense to readers without too much effort.