English Competency Exam

Students have the opportunity to satisfy their Core writing requirements by examination each semester.

Lower-Division and Upper-Division Exams

Registration for examination:

  • Pay the registration fee ($25) by the appropriate deadline (see below) at the Cashier's Office in Hughes Administration Center, Room 211.
  • Bring your receipt to the Executive Assistant of the English Department in Founders Hall, Room 174.
  • Provide a copy of your receipt and your contact information (email and cell phone number) will be collected.
  • Identify on the sign-up sheet the exam you wish to take (upper-divison or lower-division).

Dates and information:

  • Exam Fee Deadline: Friday, October 14, 2016 (Pay at the Cashier's Office in Hughes 211).
  • Sign-Up Deadline: Friday, October 21, 2016. To sign up for the lower-division or upper-division exam, you must bring your fee receipt (to provide proof of payment) to the English Department in Founders 174.

On the Day of the Exam:

  • Please be on time. If you are late, you will not be allowed to take the exam.
  • You must put away all cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • A dictionary will be provided to be shared by all examinees.
  • Bring two pens and your USD ID to the exam location.

Time and Place of Lower-Division and Upper-Division Exams

Day: Saturday, October 29, 2016
Time: 2:00-4:00 PM
Place: Serra Hall, Room 104B

About the Exams

Passing essays shall demonstrate specific, accurate, sustained, and ordered college-level thinking.

Lower-Division English Exam

You will be asked to write a response to a short literary text and to respond briefly to a couple of questions concerning writing. Evaluation of your essay will be based on evidence of your ability to do the following.

  • Directly and convincingly address the prompt in an organized, coherent, and logical manner
  • Demonstrate alert reading and comprehension of the text
  • Identify and develop a cogent interpretive thesis
  • Use specific, convincing, and relevant support for your thesis with accurate and convincing evidence from the text
  • Organize your essay with well-developed and logical paragraphs, adequate transitions, a variety of sentence structures, satisfactory (college-level) grammar and syntax, parallel structure, appropriate word choice, and well-integrated quotes
  • Generate original ideas, convey depth of insight, avoid summary and cliché, and form a developed, focused, sustained, convincing, and interesting response appropriate for college-level writing
  • Use conventions specific to writing about literature

Upper-Division English Exam

You will be asked to write a response to a short text. Evaluation of your essay will be based on evidence of your ability to fulfill the following criteria.

  • Directly and convincingly address the prompt in an organized, coherent, and logical manner
  • Demonstrate alert reading and comprehension of the text
  • Write a convincing response that includes specific, convincing, and relevant examples
  • Organize your essay with well-developed and logical paragraphs, adequate transitions, a variety of sentence structures, satisfactory grammar and syntax, active voice, parallel structure, appropriate word choice, and well-integrated quotes
  • Generate original ideas, convey depth of insight, avoid summary and cliché, and form a developed, focused, sustained, convincing, and interesting response appropriate for upper-division writing
  • Display nuance and the ability to fashion an interesting piece of writing
  • Display evidence of voice in writing

Questions? Contact:

Tim Randell, PhD
Instructor, Department of English
Email: trandell@sandiego.edu
Phone: (619) 260-7628
Office: Founders Hall, Room 172D

Contact Us

Phone: (619) 260-4783
Fax: (619) 260-4227
english@sandiego.edu

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Founders Hall 174
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110

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