WP003: 75-Hour Writing Exam

WP003: 75-Hour Writing Exam

WP003 or the 75-Hour Writing Exam takes approximately two hours. The first part of the examination is a 50-minute expository essay on a general knowledge topic. The second part of the examination is a 70-minute argumentative essay on a topic related to the part one topic. In part two, the student is provided with source material and asked to incorporate those sources into the essay. The student should take a stand on the topic and use at least two of the sources to support their stand. They should not write a literature review on the sources. They do not have to create a citation page but they do need to have in-text citing to give credit to the author for those sources used.

How to Prepare

For students enrolled in WP003, it is not actually a class, although it has a number like one. Students should register for it the same way they register for classes. It is an exam, and each section meets only to take the exam. Dates for the sections are given below.

WP003 is a two-part essay examination that is the initial step in fulfilling the University's writing proficiency graduation requirement. The exam is now offered online to students. However, for those students who feel more comfortable handwriting their exam, we offer at least one handwritten exam during the fall and spring semesters. Several one-hour review seminars are held in the Writing Lab before scheduled examinations.

Students should enroll in WP003 in the semester after they have completed their 75th credit hour towards graduation, following the same procedure as enrolling in any other course at Southeast. WP003 carries no credit hours and hence does not incur any fees.* Students are strongly urged not to delay taking WP003: if a student has not fulfilled the writing proficiency requirement, he or she will not receive a diploma. Further, under certain circumstances, that student will not be allowed to participate in commencement.

Students with Disabilities

Students with documented learning disabilities who require special testing accommodations should contact Testing Services as early in the semester as possible even though they are enrolled in an online section. Students with documented learning disabilities will still need to take their exam in Testing Services.

Dates, Times, and Locations

To sign up for the WP003 exam, students will enroll in an exam section in the same way they enroll in classes. Specific dates and times are assigned to each CRN number. As the exam date approaches, students will receive an informational email that will include the testing location, date, and time. Students should report to the testing location at least 15 minutes early and will need two photo IDs.

Regional campus and online-only students may be enrolled in the online version of this exam, and must contact their advisor for enrollment. Students interested in taking the handwritten version of the exam will need to contact Marge Phillips in order to be enrolled; please contact her at: mphillips@semo.edu, or 573-651-2460.

Review Seminar Schedule

Review seminars for WP003 will be held in Memorial Hall 103 (Center for Writing Excellence) on the Cape Girardeau Main Campus. All seminars are similar, will last approximately one hour, and no registration is required. Dates of review sessions will be announced prior to exams.

If You Fail

If a student does not receive a score of 7 or greater on WP003, he or she will meet with a Writing Associate from the Center for Writing Excellence, who will explain the following options:

  1. The student can retake WP003. WP003 can be retaken any number of times; however, a student can take the exam only once each semester.
  2. The student can appeal the score. A student can choose to write an appeal letter requesting that the exam be scored again, explaining on what basis the student feels the rescoring is justified. This option is appropriate for students who receive a score of 6.5.
  3. The revision option is an opportunity for the student to show proficiency in writing that may have been hindered by testing issues, such as anxiety, time constraints, etc. This option is appropriate for students who receive a score of 6.5.
  4. The student can complete an Option A portfolio. The Option A portfolio consists of three timed essays: the parts 1 and 2 of WP003 and an additional source-based argumentative essay; please note that the first two parts will be a different topic than the regular WP003 exams. The student has up to three hours to complete each essay. The Option A portfolio is offered on three consecutive afternoons twice each semester. This option is appropriate for students who, because of text anxiety, learning disability, etc., require additional time to write their essays.
  5. The student can complete an Option C portfolio. The Option C portfolio is a semester-long project consisting of five essays the student writes and/or revises under the supervision of a Writing Associate from the Center for Writing Excellence. A student completing this portfolio must meet with the supervising Writing Associate at least eight times during the semester. Because the Option C portfolio is time-consuming and labor-intensive, it should be chosen only as a last resort.
Sample Topics

All entering first-year students with an ACT English subscore below 22 must take the WP001 Placement Exam. All students completing a course in Written Expression (usually EN140) must take the WP002 Exit Exam. And all students, regardless of whether they have taken the previous two tests, must take the WP003 Writing Proficiency Examination.

It is strongly recommended that students acquaint themselves with these tests and the manner in which they are scored, by studying the information on this web site or visiting the Writing Lab to ask questions.


Memorial Hall 103
Center for Writing Excellence
One University Plaza, MS 4185
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701