The Pioneer

Writing Skills Test

By Marisol Martinez Garcia , CONTRIBUTOR

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Scoring 8 Or Higher On The WST To Graduate

The Writing Skills Test seems to be a test many California State University, East Bay students avoid until the end of their academic career.

“The Writing Skills Test consists of an analytic essay that requires [students] to demonstrate that [they] can think and write critically,” according to the CSUEB Testing Office website.

The WST can be taken a maximum of two times and students have a choice of two topics to choose from. They have 15 minutes to plan and outline and 75 minutes to write the essay. Students are also required to remain in the room for the entire test period until dismissed and will receive their score within four to eight weeks.

The WST is administered at all three CSUEB campuses: Hayward, Oakland, and Concord. Student fees for taking the WST vary depending on the chosen option. The regular administration, the paper version, costs $25 and the limited-administration, computer version, costs $50.

The WST is a requirement that has been in place for all students since 1977 at all 23 CSU campuses.  However, many CSUEB students are vastly unaware of the important details and requirements about the test and their relation to graduating in a timely manner.

While the University Writing Skills Requirement has been a requirement for every student, the rules being implemented have recently become more strict. Students can register for the WST only after completing 60 units which is approximately two years of school for a full-time student. And previously, students could apply for graduation after simply registering for the test and completing 90 semester units.

However, the test must now be passed before you can apply for graduation.

“After my second year here, my counselor told me I had to take it, and so I registered but lagged and missed it,” said junior biology major Tomas Rodriguez. “Then I tried again and finally took it. Luckily I passed it, I don’t even remember my score, I was just worried about passing it so I wouldn’t have to take the class.”

According to the CSUEB testing requirements, students have two options when it comes to the WST. The first option is to register and pass the Writing Skills Test; this means students are required to write an analytic essay that demonstrates that they can think and write critically.

Students must pass the WST and satisfy the UWSR with a score of clear competence, which, in this case is an eight or higher. If students score limited competence, a six or below, they will be required to take the course option.

The second option is to enroll in and pass a first and second-tier writing course, which adds an additional course for students to take in order to graduate. The first-tier course is English 300 or 301. Generally, English 300 is intended for native english speakers, while English 301 is intended for non-native speakers. The second tier course may vary by college major.

“I have not registered to take the WST yet. I didn’t know is was a requirement to graduate,”said junior Health Science major, Nora T. “I feel fine about taking the test and I am not nervous. Taking test are always easy for me, I’ll write a quick one.”

WST coordinators June Mertens-Barber and Dr. Mitchell Watnik, the

Interim Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, were unavailable for comment.

The testing department is always open to answer any questions regarding the WST and its requirements.

“We have info tables out in the student union all the time. We even had one at Al Fresco and some science events. No one seems to be interested until they can’t graduate,” said Testing Assistant Kirstie Norell, from the Student Center for Academic Achievement,” So many students sign up to take the exam and never show up, that’s why the spots get filled so quickly. They pay multiple times but don’t show up.”

The next WST is being administered on November 9, students can register for the test using their myCSUEB page. For more information, you can view http://www.csueastbay.edu/testing/tests/wst/index.html and/or visit the Testing office in the CSUEB Library, 3165A and/or you can contact via email at [email protected]

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Writing Skills Test