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.

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 ENG 100:

Overview: You can only take the WPE once during this time period and you will be allowed 1 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. The WPE will not be administered after January 13 and will not be administered once classes begin.


Please contact Stacia Bensyl at to register for the WPE.

Once a student has registered for a GO session, they will be issued an invitation to take the WPE if they qualify.

To access the WPE on Canvas:

-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 1 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.

All students will be placed in a composition course based on EACT English subscore. If you wish to challenge this placement, you can take the WPE, Writing Placement Exam.

  • No EACT score AND high school GPA below 3.00 – ENG 100
  • 17 or lower AND high school GPA below 3.0 – ENG 100 or WPE
  • 18 or higher OR high school GPA 3.0 or above – ENG 104

The WPE is administered prior to registration for the fall and spring semesters.

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

Placement in ENG 100 Introduction to College Writing:

If your score is below our cut-off, you will enroll in ENG 100 Introduction to College Writing. This is a three-credit course which counts toward graduation in all two-year and four-year programs. You must also complete ENG 104 and, if you are a four-year degree seeking student, ENG 108 in order to satisfy the General Studies requirement.

ENG 100 is a three-credit, college level English course that is Missouri Western’s “Introduction to College Writing.” It prepares students to succeed in ENG 104 and ENG 108, the composition courses that count toward completion of General Studies requirements, as well as many other classes that require academic writing. In this course, students will refine their writing process, engage in critical reading, thinking and writing and be required to write both personal and text-based essays. Students who have taken this course acknowledge its benefits and claim that it prepared them for the rigors of college-level writing and introduced them to college expectations. MORE INFO

Placement in ENG 104 College Writing and Rhetoric:

If your score is above our cut-off, you will enroll in ENG 104 College Writing and Rhetoric. ENG 104 counts toward graduation, fulfilling the General Studies composition requirement for a two-year degree. For a four-year degree, you will also need to take ENG 108 College Writing and Research.

Writing Assignment

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.

Goals for Successful Essays

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.