Entry-Level Writing Requirement

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The Entry-Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) is a University of California reading and writing proficiency requirement that all first-year students must satisfy. This requirement is not an admissions requirement. The ELWR must be satisfied either before beginning courses on a UC campus or during the first year of enrollment. For information about individual high schools’ success rates in preparing their students to satisfy the ELWR, please go to the UC Office of the President website

There are a variety of ways incoming students can satisfy the ELWR both before or after they officially matriculate (enroll full-time).

Ways to Satisfy ELWR

Students may satisfy the ELWR by any one of the following ways:

  • 30 or better on the ACT, English Language Arts; or
  • 63 or better on the ACT, English + Reading
  • 30 or better on the ACT, Combined English/Writing (last administered June 2015); or
  • 680 or better on the SAT, Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing; or
  • 680 or better on the SAT Reasoning Test, Writing (last administered January 2016); or
  • 3 or above on either Advanced Placement Examination in English; or
  • 5 or above on an International Baccalaureate Higher Level English A: Literature exam (formerly known as Higher Level English A1 exam); or
  • 6 or above on an International Baccalaureate Standard Level English A: Literature exam (formerly known as Standard Level English A1 exam); or
  • 5 or above on an International Baccalaureate Higher Level English A: Language and Literature exam; or
  • 6 or above on an International Baccalaureate Standard Level English A: Language and Literature exam; or
  • Satisfactory score on the UC Analytical Writing Placement Exam
  • The requirement can also be met by earning a grade of C or higher in a transferable English composition course offered by a college or university.

Students who have not satisfied the ELWR before beginning as full-time students must enroll in one of UCR’s Entry-Level Writing courses during their first quarter on campus. The Director of the University Writing Program determines the appropriate course based on the students' AWPE exams, and placements are made available to students electronically.

  1. Complete with a C or better one of the following summer courses offered on the UCR campus before beginning classes in the fall.
    • A seven-week, five-unit ENGL004 course at UCR from July through September.
    • A seven-week, ten-unitHighlander Early Start Academy program at UCR from July through September; Students will take English 4, an Oral Communication course, and an Early Start Seminar.
    Please see the UCR summer session website for information about all summer courses at UCR, days and times of sections, and instructions for enrollment.
  2. Complete with a grade of C or better an Entry-Level Writing Requirement course during the summer at another UC campus.  Check UC campus' home pages for summer school information.
  3. Complete with a grade of C or better a 4 quarter-unit or 3 semester-unit college-level course in English composition (equivalent to UCR ENGL 001A), taken at another institution before the student enters UCR, and judged acceptable by the Office of Admissions. To find out whether a course at your local campus is acceptable, go to www.assist.org. Passing this course satisfies both the ELWR and the ENGL 001A requirements. Students who choose this option should have reason to believe they can pass an advanced writing course. This option is not available to students after they begin at UCR as full-time students.
  4. Complete with a grade of C or better a preparatory writing course at a CSU or community college campus, and then retake and pass the AWPE at UCR in September. The course should be completed in time to submit evidence of a passing grade to the University Writing Program Office by the start of the Fall Quarter. Students should submit evidence of passing a passing grade along with a note including their name, student ID number, and a request to be added to the September exam roster. Once the grade report is approved, students receive permission to retake the AWPE. (A photocopy of a grade report is sufficient and can be emailed, along with a note, to Sheena Thrush (UWP Counselor), at sheena.thrush@ucr.edu. This option is not available to students after they begin at UCR as full-time students.

Analytical Writing Placement Exam

About The Test

The University of California Office of the President develops and administers an examination to determine if entering students can read and write at the level expected to satisfy the Entry-Level Writing Requirement.  The UC Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) is typically administered each year, on the second Saturday in May, at numerous high schools across the state of California.  In 2022, students admitted to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Riverside, or UC San Diego, who haven’t satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement, will be able to take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) in an online format on May 21st.  Students who write satisfactory exams satisfy the ELWR and are eligible to enroll in the first course of the UCR Freshman Composition sequence.  Students whose exams are determined to be unsatisfactory are given instructions to enroll in a particular ELWR course. UCR urges all new students to satisfy their ELWR before becoming a full-time student in the fall.

More information regarding the UC AWPE


Each essay is scored independently by two readers, who measure it against the 6 point scoring guide, written by the experts who developed the examination. Papers whose composite scores (sum of the two readers’ scores) are 8 and higher satisfy the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement. Results are sent to each student in the middle of June. Results are final; your essay will not be re-evaluated after the University-wide scoring session.

Test Dates

Students who have not satisfied the Entry-Level Writing Requirement must take the University of California AWPE.

2022-2023 Academic Year

Make-up Test Dates:

Test Date: Exam Start Time: Exam Location:

*All 2022-2023 make-up AWPEs will be administered in-person at UCR.

It is necessary to pay and register for the make-up exam: 

  • Pay for the exam by visiting AWPE website
  • Register for the make-up exam here.  
    • Make sure to select a test date that falls before you attend your Highlander Orientation Advising Appointment
  • Be prepared to provide your photo identification.
  • Bring 1-2 blue or black ink pens.
  • Know your UCR Student ID Number (862-xx-xxxx)
  • BE ON TIME! Late admittance will not be permitted.


Questions about AWPE make-up exams should be addressed to the UWP Counselor, Sheena Thrush.


Time Limit


If students have not satisfied the requirement upon entrance as full-time students, they must satisfy the ELWR within three quarters of full-time enrollment.


Students who have not satisfied the ELWR after three quarters of university residence (three quarters of enrollment during the regular academic year) are not normally eligible to enroll for a fourth quarter at the University of California.


For students placed in BSWT001 or BSWT003, this three-quarter residence rule begins after satisfactory completion of BSWT003 or the start of their fourth quarter of regular enrollment at UCR, whichever comes first.