University of California Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE)

AWPE Basics

  • The Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) determines your placement in either Writing 1 or Writing 2.
  • If you have already taken the AWPE and have received an email or letter stating that you did not receive a passing score, you will need to enroll in Writing 1.
  • If you have not yet taken the AWPE, you will need to do at your earliest convenience to make sure that you fulfill your Area A writing requirements in a timely fashion.
  • The AWPE is offered on the UCSB campus at the beginning of the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters.
  • You may only take the AWPE once. To take the exam on campus, you need to sign up and pay the exam fee in advance.


The spring quarter on-campus sitting of the AWPE originally scheduled for April 10th, 2020 has been cancelled. Additional information about the exam will be posted as soon as details are made available. Please check back for updates. 

Location: TBD

Time: TBD

Requirements: a pen, a photo ID and proof of payment


  1. How do I sign up? 
    To sign up for the exam, just visit and click on "Exam Fee Payment"; then follow the instructions provided. You will be asked to provide your personal information and complete the payment process.
  2. How much does it cost?
    The fee to take the exam is $110. However, the fee will be waived or reduced if you received a waiver of the UC application fee. Once you log in to the AWPE site, you will be asked to pay the required fee or you will be informed that your exam fee has been waived. If you have payment questions, please email or call (800) 839-8507.
  3. How will I be asked to show proof of payment?
    After you have completed the payment process you will be given an opportunity to print proof of payment. Proof of payment status will also be sent to the email address that you have provided. When you arrive to take the exam, you must show either the print or a digital proof of payment and a photo ID.
  4. What happens if I sign up and pay, but miss the exam?
    If you miss the exam, you just need to take it the next time that it’s offered. The AWPE is offered on campus quarterly, so you can take it at the beginning of the next quarter. It’s important to complete your Area A requirements in a timely manner, so be sure to take the exam as soon as possible.
  5. How do I find out how I did on the exam? Where are results posted? How long does it take? 
    Exams are scored and scores reported immediately after the exam is given. Your results are accessible via GOLD very quickly, typically within a week.  To see your results, you will need to log in to your GOLD account and view your Academic History. Your AWPE score will appear under Course History.
  6. What does my score mean?
    A score of 6 or below means that you have been placed in Writing 1. A score of 8 or higher means that you have been placed in Writing 2.
  7. What is the difference between Writing 1 and Writing 2?
    > Writing 1, Approaches to University Writing, is an introductory entry level writing course that helps students get acclimated to the academic community and strengthen their writing, reading, and critical thinking skills. In it they develop strategies and engage in intellectual activities that help them be more proficient in future writing classes at the university, including Writing 2. Writing 1 fulfills the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR). 
    > Writing 2, Academic Writing, introduces students to the foundations of academic writing at the university. They learn strategies for engaging in critical inquiry, explore multiple genres, and develop their writing processes. Writing 2 fulfills the Area A1 requirement.
  8. What if I just want to take Writing 1? Do I still have to take the AWPE? 
    Unless you recorded test scores satisfying the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) in the UC’s admissions system on or before April 1st on the year that you entered the University, you are required to take the AWPE before enrolling in Writing 1 or Writing 2. For details about the ELWR, please refer to the UC’s page at