International Students FAQs

FAQs about the English Writing Placement Test

Note: The information provided below is only relevant for SAS students for whom English is not the first language or who are bilingual or multilingual.

1) What is the English Placement Test?

The English Placement Test is designed to provide information about your English reading and writing skills. The test is online and is allotted 90 minutes. It consists of four sections: a short language questionnaire (5 minutes), an essay (20 minutes), reading comprehension (35 minutes), and sentence sense (30 minutes).

The purpose of the test is to help the Advising Office place you in courses that are appropriate for your level of English proficiency, so that you can have the best chance to succeed at SAS and Rutgers. 

2) Do all SAS incoming international students need to take the English placement test?

Most incoming international students need to take the English Placement Test as early as possible except for the following:

  1. Students with a Critical Reading SAT score of 600 or higher or an ACT English score of 30 or higher (by the January 2017 test) are exempt from completing the English portion of the testing and will automatically be placed into Expository Writing.
  2. Students who completed the AP exam in English Lang/Comp or the English Lit/Comp with a score of 4 or 5 do not have to complete the placement test in that subject, but must arrange to have the AP scores sent to Rutgers from the College Board. Go to:

If you are an international transfer student, you should only take the test if advised to do so by a SAS Advising Dean or if indicated on your transfer summary/credit evaluation.

3) If I do poorly on the English Placement test, will there be any bad consequences?

Please be assured that no matter how you score on your English Placement Test, the score will not affect your admission to SAS, appear on your transcript, or affect your GPA. Its only purpose is to place you into the appropriate classes to help you succeed at Rutgers.

4) How can I prepare for the English Placement test?

The English Placement Test is important to your success at SAS, so please take it seriously and do your best independent and honest work. You must have 90 minutes of uninterrupted time because the test must be completed in one sitting.

Tests are administered online and can be completed from home or in a quiet environment with a reliable internet connection. Please use a laptop or desktop computer – do not use mobile devices.

Read the “PLACEMENT TESTING INFORMATION BULLETIN” for sample tests at the following link:

5) How can I take the English Placement Test?

  1. Please go to the Testing and Placement webpage
  2. Carefully review the “PLACEMENT TESTING INFORMATION BULLETIN” on the page.
  3. Click on the links under “Accessing the Test” on the page.

The most important thing is to make sure you have access to reliable internet when you test, since tests can only be attempted once. If you are unsure of how reliable your internet access is, it is best to wait until you have access to a campus computer lab to ensure reliability. If you do have reliable internet access, then please complete testing as soon as possible. The earliest that Fall incoming students can test is March.

6) How long does it take to get the English Placement Test result?

It usually takes a few weeks to get your English Placement Test results.  Therefore, it is important to take the test as soon as you confirm your attendance at SAS, provided that the test is available and that you are certain you have reliable internet access. Tests can be completed before you come to the U.S.

7) How can I check the result of my English Placement Test?

Within a few weeks of completing the test, you can view your placement result on the Enrollment Pathway ( or Degree Navigator or by contacting the SAS Advising Office.

8) I am not satisfied with my performance on the English Placement Test, can I retake it?

You cannot retake the placement test, but all placements are checked on the first day of your assigned writing class with an in-class written essay. Your in-class essay will be read to insure that you have been correctly placed in the writing course or you may be moved to a different level based on your essay.

*Last updated January 26, 2017. For most current information, please visit an SAS Advising Center.

FAQs about EAD Courses and Other Required Writing Courses at SAS

Note: The information provided below is only relevant for SAS students for whom English is not the first language (or who are bilingual or multilingual) and whose placement test or writing sample indicates the need for additional writing courses.

1) What are EAD courses?

The English as an Academic Discourse (EAD) courses are offered by the Writing Program to serve matriculated undergraduate students with language backgrounds other than English to build linguistic competence in English so that their verbal level more accurately reflects their ability to read, conceptualize, and frame complex arguments in English. Most of them focus on reading and writing skills with the exception of 356:152, which focuses on discussion and presentation skills.

As of Fall 2016, there are five EAD courses offered. The credits you earn in those courses will all count towards graduation and your GPA.

01:356:151 Intensive English for Academic Discourse (9 credits)

01:356:154 English as Academic Discourse Fundamentals (4 credits)

01:356:155 English Academic Discourse I (4 credits)

01:356:156 English Academic Discourse II (4 credits)

01:356:152 Discussion and Presentation Skills (1 credit)

For more details about these courses, please check out the Writing Program Webpage:

2) As an international student who speaks English as a second language, do I need to take all of the EAD courses offered?

The specific writing course you need to take depends on your English Placement Test result or your writing instructor. All students must begin with the course in which they place, and continue along until Expository Writing is completed (see flowchart). Many international students are placed in one of the EAD courses, but it is possible for an international student to be placed into Basic Composition or Expository Writing.

Students successfully completing Intensive EAD (151) or EAD fundamentals (154) will progress to EAD I and then EAD II. (Note: Some students completing EAD (151) might be placed into EAD 154) Discussion and Presentation Skills (152) is intended as an optional support course for EAD 1 or EAD II and can be taken only once at the student’s request or the request of an advisor. Please see the flowchart below.

Please note that all Writing courses mentioned in this flowchart need to be taken each Fall or Spring semester, which means you need to register for the next level of writing course immediately after you finish the previous level until you complete Expository Writing.

3) Besides the EAD courses, are there any other writing courses that are required by SAS?

Yes, after you have successfully completed EAD II, the highest level EAD course, you will need to register for Basic Composition with Reading and then progress into Expository Writing, on a continuous level.

Both Basic Composition (355:100) and Basic Composition with Reading (355:100/099:R sections) are preparatory courses for Expository Writing (355:101) at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Students who advance from EAD II take Basic Composition with Reading. These courses are credit-bearing (except for 355:099) college-level courses that will introduce students to the critical reading, thinking, and writing practices that will enable them to complete their Rutgers studies successfully. The Writing Center webpage has more detailed descriptions: (

Expository Writing (355:101) is the required writing course for all students at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The course is designed to prepare students for the writing they will do at the university and in their professional lives.

There are two other writing courses required for the SAS Core (Revision-based Writing or WCr and Discipline--based Writing or WCd) after you finish Expository Writing but do not need to be taken immediately after Expository Writing.

4) How does the level of EAD course I am placed at affect my eligibility to take required courses in my desired major?

There are some important courses for certain majors, such as General Biology, that require finishing at least Basic Composition as a prerequisite because many courses use the proficiencies developed in writing courses. There are also a few majors (such as Communication) that cannot be declared until you finish Expository Writing with a grade of C or better. Please consult with a SAS advising dean for more detailed analysis of your English placement and the path towards your desired majors/minors.

5) How can I expedite my progress through EAD and other writing courses?

Limited sections of the EAD and some other writing courses are offered at Rutgers in the summer. SAS requires that all courses in the EAD/Expos writing course sequence must be taken at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

6) What are the zero-level courses offered by the Writing Center? Do I have to take them?

The writing tutoring course, or the Writing Center (355:096), is a 1.5 credit (pass/fail) course. These credits count toward the 12 credits needed to be full time, but do not count toward the 120 credits required for graduation. Any student (ESL student or not) taking a writing course can take the Writing Center. It can be re-taken many times, unlike the Presentation and Discussion course (152) which can only be taken once. Students can sign up for Writing Center through the Writing Program after the second week of classes.

*Last updated January 26, 2017. For most current information, please visit an SAS Advising Center.

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