Preparing for the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE)
Writing is a learned skill that composition and other writing-intensive classes will help you cultivate. Reviewing the writing skills you have learned in the past can help you succeed on the WPE.
There are also a number of resources to help you with WPE preparation:
- Read sample passing and failing essays available in the Writing & Rhetoric Center (10/138).
- Practice writing an essay on one of the previous WPE topics (sample topic 1, sample topic 2, sample topic 3) and bring that essay into the Writing & Rhetoric Center (10/138) so that a tutor can read it, talk with you about your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and give you suggestions for writing the WPE.
- Attend an evening WPE Workshop before the test takes place.
- Study essay writing tips.
- Review a writing handbook(s).
All Writing Exam Workshops are given on a space-available basis. Sign-ups are not necessary, and there is no fee. All workshops follow the same format.
WPE workshops are scheduled before each exam. Dates, times, and locations are posted here.
- General tips
- Interpreting the directive words in the prompt
- Thesis statements
- Organizing paragraphs
- Making paragraphs specific
- How to develop ideas rather than repeat them
- Writing summaries
- How to persuade
- Writing under pressure
- A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker is a good general handbook that reviews composing and revising, constructing arguments, sentence style, word choice, punctuation, grammar, and mechanics.
- Grammar Troublespots: A Student's Guide to Writing by Ann Raimes (2004), Cambridge UP. It has 20 or so self-contained units to work through, and it's very user-friendly with flow charts and explanations.
These books may be available at the University Store.