COM 3000, the Writing Proficiency Examination, is a graduation requirement for all LTU undergraduate students. It's a timed (150 minutes) writing exam during which you write an essay of at least 3 double-spaced pages (at least 750 words) in response to one of several writing prompts provided at the exam. You write the essay on computers provided for that purpose.

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The WPE is an "exit" examination, meaning that all undergraduate students must pass it in order to graduate from LTU. It is not an entrance or placement examination. The exam is required of all students, including transfer students. It cannot be waived nor satisfied by alternate course work or transfer credit.

In 2004, the University started a comprehensive campaign to improve the writing skills of our students. Instituting the WPE requirement in Fall 2005 is one component of this campaign. In addition, instructors in all fields are asked to require assignments for which students write within their disciplines as part of regular course work.

The University expects students always to present well-written assignments, and, according to President Lewis Walker, the University wants "students to understand that good writing skills are an integral part of good communication for professionals in any field of expertise." The University also uses the results of the WPE to assess the effectiveness of writing instruction at LTU.

We recommend that students take the exam after they have earned 60 credit hours and before they have earned 80 credit hours. Banner will block registration for Junior/Senior Humanities electives for any student who hasn't completed the WPE requirement. We urge you to take the WPE before you earn 80 credits. Do not wait until you have almost earned enough credits to graduate before you take the WPE!

Questions? Contact the Director at 248.204.3555 or nabbas@ltu.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

The University expects students always to present well-written assignments, and, according to President Lewis Walker, the University wants "students to understand that good writing skills are an integral part of good communication for professionals in any field of expertise." The University also uses the results of the WPE to assess the effectiveness of writing instruction at LTU.

What is the Writing Proficiency Exam?
Who must take the exam?
Why must I take the exam?
When should I take the exam?
How do I register for the exam?
Where is the exam administered?
When is the WPE scheduled?
What if my schedule conflicts with the times the WPE is offered?
I'm entitled to accommodations under the ADA.  How do I notify the WPE Director?
What can I do to prepare for the exam?
When will I find out how I did on the WPE?
Can I register for my Humanities Junior/Senior Elective after I pass the WPE?
What happens if I fail the WPE?
What happens if I fail the WPE twice?
What happens if I fail COM 3102 (Writing Workshop)?


 

What is the Writing Proficiency Exam?

COM 3000, the Writing Proficiency Examination, is a graduation requirement for all LTU undergraduate students.  It's a timed (two and a half hours) writing exam during which you write an essay of at least three double-spaced pages (at least 750 words) in response to one of several writing prompts provided at the exam.  You write the essay on a laptop computer provided for that purpose.

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Who must take the exam?

The WPE is an "exit" examination, meaning that all undergraduate students must pass it in order to graduate from LTU.  It is not an entrance or placement examination.  The exam is required of all students, including transfer students.  It cannot be waived nor satisfied by alternate course work or transfer credit.

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Why must I take the exam?

The University expects students always to present well-written assignments, and, according to President Lewis Walker, the University wants "students to understand that good writing skills are an integral part of good communication for professionals in any field of expertise."  The University also uses the results of the WPE to assess the effectiveness of writing instruction at LTU.

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When should I take the exam?

We recommend that students take the exam after they have earned 60 credit hours and before they have earned 80 credit hours.  Banner will block registration for Junior/Senior Humanities electives for any student who hasn't completed the WPE requirement.  We urge you to take the WPE before you earn 80 credits.  Do not wait until you have almost earned enough credits to graduate before you take the WPE!

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 How do I register for the exam?

 You register for COM 3000 on BannerWeb, as you do for all your classes.  A nominal examination fee will be assessed.  (Note:  If the WPE is the only course for which you register in a semester, Banner will automatically add the normal registration fee.  However, you may contact the Registrar's Office. enrollmentservices@ltu.edu, 248.204.2280, or go to the One-Stop Center on the third level of the Taubman Student Services Building and explain your situation. The Registrar's Office will remove the registration fee from your account when the drop/add period ends.)

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Where is the exam administered?

Check COM 3000 listings on BannerWeb for the time and location of the exam for which you have registered.

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When is the WPE scheduled?

WPEs are scheduled most months, usually on the third Friday of the month.  Some additional sections may be scheduled.  Check the Banner Course Listings for date and time of available sections. Exams are held at two different time slots on the exam day, 9:00 AM -11:30 PM and 1:00-3:30 PM.

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What if my schedule conflicts with the times the WPE is offered?

If the WPE is offered at times that conflict with your schedule, contact the Director to schedule a session at a time you can make it.  You still must register for an upcoming section of COM 3000 before you can take the exam and so that your results can be posted to your transcript. 

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I'm entitled to accommodations under the ADA.  How do I notify the WPE Director?

Contact Disabilities Services Coordinator Katherine Charbeneau at 248.204.4119 or  kcharbeneau@ltu.edu or go to her office at C405 in the A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center.  Tell her that you are registered for COM 3000. Ask her to contact the WPE Director, in writing, with the accommodations to which you are entitled. The Director will contact you to set up your WPE at a time and under conditions that are in compliance with the ADA.

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What can I do to prepare for the exam?

We offer a free WPE Workshop every month the WPE is administered.  The Workshop will tell you what to expect on the exam.  It will also provide you active practice in strategies to help you write a better essay.  Workshops are held the Friday afternoon a week before each scheduled WPE listed on Banner.  To register for the workshop, email the Director and indicate which workshop you plan to attend.

Some problems with writing cannot be addressed in a single afternoon.  If you have difficulty organizing, developing, supporting, beginning or ending essays, and especially if you have problems with sentence structure and fluency, you can also attend free Weekly Writing Practice seminars on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:30 PM in C201K. Plan to attend most or all of the weekly sessions for maximum benefit. Regular and consistent attendance at the free Weekly Writing Practice sessions is like taking an English Composition refresher class. The text for Writing Practice is Pam Altman, et al., Sentence Combining Workbook, 2nd Ed.  Heinle, 2007, ISBN 978-1413019773, available at the LTU Bookstore and online.

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When will I find out how I did on the WPE?

Each essay is read twice.  Readers are LTU faculty members who also teach composition.  If both readers agree on whether the exam passes (CR), you pass.  If both readers agree that the exam does not pass (NC), you fail.  If the two readers disagree on whether your exam should pass or fail, the exam is given to a third reader, who decides whether the exam should pass or fail.  This process is usually completed about two and a half weeks after the date of the exam.  Your score is then posted on Banner under the section of COM 3000 for which you registered.  If you haven't received your results three weeks after the date you took the exam, please contact the Director at nabbas@ltu.edu.

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Can I register for my Humanities Junior/Senior Elective after I pass the WPE?

Yes, in most cases.  Once you pass the WPE, you will be able to register for any upper-level HSSC elective for which other applicable prerequisites have also been satisfied.  You must complete (pass) your WPE requirement before you may take the Humanities Junior/Senior Elective. Banner will block an attempt to register for the elective until you have a passing score.

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What happens if I fail the WPE?

If you fail the WPE on your first try, you can re-register for it a second time.  The usual exam fee will apply.   It is strongly advised that you consider attending the WPE workshop, or even a full semester of free Writing Practice sessions, before retaking the exam.

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What happens if I fail the WPE twice?

If you fail the WPE twice, you must register for COM 3102, a two-credit writing course specially designed to improve students' writing ability and prepare them to succeed on the WPE.  The Writing Proficiency Exam is administered in class as the final exam for COM 3102.  Check BannerWeb for the COM 3102 schedule.

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What happens if I fail COM 3102 (Writing Workshop)?

You will not be eligible to graduate until you successfully complete either COM 3000 or COM3102.  This is why we are offering preparation workshops, free Weekly Writing Practice, and the Writing Workshop.  We want every LTU graduate to write proficiently.

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Writing Workshops

We offer a free, three-hour workshop every month the WPE is administered to give you practice in exam and writing strategies.  The Workshop is offered the Friday afternoon the week before all WPE sections scheduled on Banner.  If you have any questions or wish to register for the workshop, contact the Director at nabbas@ltu.edu or 248.204.3555.  The workshop materials can be downloaded below:


 

WPE Preparation Workshop Agenda

WPE Scoring Rubric

Sample Student WPEs

Five Prompt Analysis Questions

Sample Prompts for Analysis

Answer Sheet for Practice Prompt Analysis

The Importance of Brainstorming

Blank Cluster Diagram for Brainstorming

Simple T-Chart for Outlining Essay

Sample (former) WPE Prompts

 


 

Some problems with writing cannot be addressed in an afternoon. If you have difficulty organizing, developing, supporting, beginning or ending essays, and especially if you have problems with sentence structure and fluency, you can also attend free weekly Writing Practice seminars on __________________________________  in ____________ at ____________. Plan to attend regularly most or all of the weekly sessions for maximum benefit. 

The text for Writing Practice is Pam Altman, et al., Sentence Combining Workbook, 3rd Ed. Wadsworth Cengage, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4282-6380-2, available at the LTU Bookstore and online.

Free Weekly Writing Practice

Join us every [Day of Week] in [location] from [Beginning Time] to [endtime].

  • Improve Your Writing Fluency
  • Learn to Dodge Banned Errors
  • Improve Your Sentences
  • Prepare for the WPE (Writing Proficiency Exam)

 Spring 2010 Writing Practice Schedule:

Date Topic
  Unit 1: The Basic Sentence: Analyzing the Writing Assignment
  Unit 2: Sentence Focus: Brainstorming
  Unit 3: Joining Sentences with Coordinators; Organizing Ideas in Essays
  Unit 4: Joining Sentences with Subordinators: Crafting Thesis Statements
  Unit 5: Joining Sentences to Show Comparison and Contrast: Beginnings and Endings
  Unit 6: Joining Sentences to Show Concession: Developing Supporting Paragraphs
  Unit 7: Showing Logical Relationships with Transitions; Revising Essays
  Unit 8: Joining Parallel Structures: Revising Student Essays* (bring an essay of your own)
  Unit 9: Modifying Nouns with Adjectives: Editing Essays (bring an essay of your own)
  Unit 10: Modifying Nouns with Prepositional Phrases; Proofreading Essays* (bring an essay)
  Unit 11: Modifying Nouns with Apositves; Revising Sentences from students' work 
  Unit 12: Modifying Nouns with Adjective Clauses; Exploring Sentence Options (bring essay)
  Unit 13: Modifying Sentences with Verbal Phrases
  Unit 14: Reviewing Sentence Construction Techniques

Required Text:
Altman et al., Sentence Combining Workbook. 3rd Ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4282-6380-2.  Available in LTU Bookstore and online.

For further information, call 248.204.3555 or e-mail nabbas@ltu.edu.