Entry Level Writing Requirement

Berkeley Writing Assessment

Entry-Level Writing and the Berkeley Writing Assessment

The Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) is a reading and writing proficiency requirement. It is a prerequisite to the Reading and Composition (R&C) requirement. R&C is a two-part (A & B) college-level reading and writing requirement assigned to all Berkeley undergraduates. Check the Berkeley Guide to review...

Example of an Assessment Topic

Below is an example of an assessment reading and question in the style you can expect for the BWA.

Directions Read the passage and the essay topic that follows. Respond to the topic by writing an essay that is controlled by a central idea and is developed by discussing specific examples. You will have two hours to read the passage and complete your essay. You may print out the passage, make notes, or highlight parts of the passage. Plan your essay before you start writing. Allow time to reread and proofread your essay to make any revisions or corrections. Your essay will be evaluated...

Can I use my Smarter Balanced score to satisfy ELWR?

No. The Smarter Balanced score is used by some campuses as an additional piece of information for placement into courses. UC Berkeley does not currently use the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

I am confused about ACT Scores. How do they count?

On the ELWR webpage, it says the following: “Score 30 or better on ACT English Language Arts, or 63 or better on ACT English + Reading” in order to satisfy the ELWR. But in the next section, it also says that “The ACT English alone will not fulfill the ELWR.” What does that mean?

There are two types of ACT scores: a score on English Language Arts (ELA) which is given if you complete the optional Writing test; and another score on English + Reading if you do not complete the optional Writing test.

If you have an ELA score, you will need a 30 or better to meet the ELWR.

If you have an English + Reading score, you will need a combined score (a sum of the English and Reading scores) of 63 or better to meet the ELWR. The combined score must be from a single sitting, in other words, from the same exam. You cannot combine scores from multiple exam...

I took the BWA. How long will it be until I get my score?

It generally takes around 3 weeks for your essay to be scored and for the score to be submitted before it appears in your records. You can find your BWA scores on your Cal Central dashboard under the "My Academics" tab.

Structure and Scoring of the Assessment

The Structure of the Assessment

You'll begin by reading a prose passage of 700-1,000 words. This passage will be about as difficult as the readings in first-year courses at UC Berkeley. You'll have up to two hours to read the passage carefully and write an essay in response to a single topic and related questions based on the passage's content. These questions will generally ask you to read thoughtfully and to provide reasoned, concrete, and developed presentations of a specific point of view. Your essay will be evaluated on the basis of your ability to develop your central idea, to...