All applicants to the Bachelors Degree Program must complete the Writing Skills Assessment before the application deadline for the quarter for which they are applying. If you completed the SAT-W and scored 500 or above or completed the ACT-EW and scored 21 or above, you may use these scores in lieu of taking the Writing Skills Assessment. The test, which is used at the three campuses of the University of Washington, assesses communication and critical thinking skills. The ability to communicate ideas clearly and concisely in writing is a key skill for success in college and your career.

Test Format

The test lasts for 90 minutes. During that time you are required to plan and write two essays: one based on a statement (called the "position task") and one based on a short workplace scenario (called the "persuasion task"). No special business knowledge is required or expected for either writing task.

The test is given in a proctored setting in which no dictionaries or calculators are allowed. Communication specialists score each of the essays on a six-point scale and the results are averaged. Evaluation is based on the degree to which each essay

  • addresses the writing task effectively and insightfully, and where appropriate, provides a well-reasoned solution that displays analysis of data (numerical or verbal);
  • is well organized, with a clear overall strategy;
  • is fully developed, with pertinent support for ideas presented;
  • is appropriate in style and tone for the intended reader; and
  • displays consistent facility with written English (grammar, syntax, vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling).

Essays are scored by an independent third party and submitted to the admissions committee within two to three weeks of the test date. The committee includes your score in your application materials. Scores are sent to applicants via email after the end of the admission cycle in which they took the test. The minimum WSA score for admission is a 2.00 average. When completing the applications, please indicate the date you took the exam, even if you have not received your scores at the time of submission. Please note that WSA scores are valid for two years.

Application Periods


Applicants are required to take the test during the application period corresponding to the quarter for which they plan to apply. Those who registered for a test session date outside of the appropriate application period may be removed from the session.

Winter application period - WSA test sessions: July through October 
Spring application period - WSA test sessions: January through February
Autumn application period - WSA test sessions: March through July

Registration and Cost

The Writing Skills Assessment test dates for future quarter admission are available on the registration page. The test can be taken only once per application period.

Students may void their Writing Skills Assessment by choosing not to have the test scored and registering to take it again. The details of the Void Policy are as follows:

  • Students will be allowed to void the Writing Skills Assessment only once per academic year.
  • Students may NOT void only one part of the two-part test; voiding will apply to both the Persuasion and Position Tasks.
  • Once the test is voided, it will not be scored and cannot be used for admission purposes.
  • Students who void their first test will NOT receive a refund and will have to pay the full registration fee again for their next test.
  • Students will have to declare their intent to void the test before they depart the room in which the test was proctored. They can do so at the time the tests are collected and not before.
  • The cost of the test is $35. 

Preparing for the Test 


Register for the WSA

Register for the WSA