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. 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).

Schedule, 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