Writing Skills Assessment (WSA)


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 complete the SAT-Writing/SAT-Essay or ACT-Writing, you may use the score in place of the Writing Skills Assessment (WSA), provided you met one of the following criteria:

  • (Prior to March 2016) SAT-Writing scored 500 or above
  • SAT-Essay score of 6 or higher on the Writing and Analysis Dimension
  • (Prior to June 2015) ACT-Writing score of 8 or higher in Holistic Writing
  • ACT-Writing score of 8 or higher in each of the 4 categories (Ideas & Analysis, Development & Support, Organization, and Language Use & Conventions)

The WSA 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.

Test Scores

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).

Scores are submitted to the UW Bothell School of Business admissions committee within two to three weeks of the test date. You will be notified with your WSA results via email during the first week of the following quarter. 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 must take the WSA test prior to the application deadline. However, we encourage you to take the WSA test as early as possible, preferably at least the quarter before you plan to apply to the UW Bothell School of Business.

You are limited to take the WSA test no more than once per application cycle. Your highest score will be taken for admission.

Winter application period - WSA test sessions: August 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