Office of First-Year Programs
Ben Trapanick, Director, First-Year Programs
Dwight Hall Room 116
Lauren O'Donoghue, Assistant Director, First-Year Programs
Dwight Hall Room 116
Note about the writing test: If you are required to take the writing test, information will be sent to student's Framingham State email accounts regarding registration and how and when to take the writing test. For new students, information on how to access your student account is included in the packet sent to you by Undergraduate Admissions after you indicated your intent to attend Framingham State with a deposit. The packet included information regarding Residence Hall reservations, health forms and other important materials, including the TechPrep letter.
Tips To Help You Do Your Best
The essay we ask you to produce will determine your placement in one of our two writing courses for first-year students or transfer students who still need to meet the general education writing requirement. Should you not pass the writing placement test, you will be asked to work on your writing by taking a remedial writing course at a community college. So, the first thing students need to know is that the writing sample is important! As a new student, please take the test seriously and strive to show us your very best writing skills.
You will be asked to write an essay based on a reading that will be made available to you a week before the writing placement exam due date. In addition, you will be asked to write a brief reflection about your experience preparing for and writing this essay and about reading and writing more generally. Instructors in the English Department will review your essay and reflection to determine appropriate placement for you.
You will not be able to retake the writing placement test. Instead, if you decide that your placement isn’t accurate, you will have the opportunity to submit a portfolio of your work for review. Click here for more information about the portfolio review process.
In order to help you understand what constitutes a good writing sample, the English Department and the University's Writing Center offer these pointers:
Read the essay carefully. You want to make sure that you understand the author’s position, as well as the key points in the essay.
Be sure your writing is appropriate. This means addressing the topic of the posed question. Guard against wandering off and writing about a related (or, worse, unrelated) topic. This is a common error among entering student writers. Also, use language and tone that is appropriate for your audience (English Department faculty); that is, do not use slang and do not be too informal or flip in your answer.
Remain clear and focused in your response. State your controlling idea (thesis) in an introductory paragraph and stay on track as you develop your essay. Your reader should not have to wonder what your position is or feel that you are contradicting yourself.
Develop and organize your essay. Do not state your controlling idea and merely restate it in different ways throughout the body of your essay. Give the reasons why you feel as you do in distinct, well-developed paragraphs that begin with topic sentences and include appropriate, accurate details and examples. Be ready to refer directly to the essay you are writing about, and feel free to quote and paraphrase as appropriate.
Use acceptable and effective sentence structure. If you have had problems with sentence structure in the past (run-ons, fragments), review these issues by using a handbook for writers. Since your writing course instructor may ask you to buy a writer's handbook, we do not want to suggest a particular title now. However, you might already have a good handbook from a course you took at your high school or previous college, and most libraries carry a collection of these books.
Review any areas (for example: thesis, paragraph development, punctuation,) that you have had trouble with in the past, and practice writing short, argumentative essays before placement testing. You might also consider visiting one of the on-line resources for writers recommended by the Framingham State University Writing Center.
Guard against too many errors in usage and mechanics. No one expects you to write a grammatically perfect placement essay (although we would be happy if you do so), but too many poorly chosen words, grammar errors, and punctuation problems risks earning a low score. Again, use care while writing the essay.