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Writing Placement Exam

Junior College

The Writing Placement Exam

The Missouri Southern Writing Placement Exam (WPE) is a timed writing assignment. Students complete an essay in response to a writing prompt. The students' essays are then evaluated by an MSSU English Department professor. The results of that evaluation are used to determine in which First-Year Writing course the students will be placed: ENG 080, ENG 0101, or ENG 0111.

The exam can be taken at no cost Monday-Friday, 8:00-4:00 pm by walk-in or appointment in Kuhn Hall. Contact Lainie Nicolas at  or 417-625-9377 to take the exam.

First-Year Writing Courses

All students must complete six hours of First-Year Writing courses to meet the Core Curriculum requirements for a baccalaureate degree. They should make every effort to complete that six hours in their first two semesters. For more information on these requirements, refer to the Missouri Southern State University Catalog.

Placement into first-year writing courses is according to the following:

Previously Earned Composition Credit

Some students are exempted from taking the WPE. Exemptions are limited to the following:

Students who have received Advanced Placement credit for first-year college composition through the national AP exam and who have received documentation verifying the AP credit;

Students who have received transfer credit for ENG 101.

Students who believe they may have completed ENG 101 credit, either transfer credit or through an approved dual credit program, should contact the Transcript Analyst, at 417-625-9513 for verification.

International Students

Enrollment of International students in a First-Year Writing course is overseen by the Institute of International Studies. For more information: (417) 625-9821.

Writing Courses


This course is designed for students who have had limited opportunities to practice writing in classroom settings or who have struggled in their high school writing classes and thus would benefit from a developmental writing class. Students will write at least six essays. Special attention will be given to grammar, mechanics, syntax, paragraphing, and organization. Passing this course enables students to enroll in ENG 101. ENG 080 does not count toward the baccalaureate degree.

ENG 101: COLLEGE COMPOSITION I (Writing Intensive)

This course is an introduction to the principles of college-level writing and critical thinking and is much more rigorous and challenging than 080. Students will write a number of essays and read and analyze a number of complex essays written by professionals. Successful completion of ENG 101 enables the student to enroll in ENG 102.


This course is designed for honors students and for students who demonstrate exceptional writing abilities on the WPE. Students receiving a grade of "C" or better in ENG 111 automatically receive the required six hours credit for First Year Writing.

Taking the WPE

Students who attend Southern Welcome may take the WPE that day or earlier. Other students may take the WPE by attending any of the test dates posted below. Students DO NOT need to register or make appointments to take the WPE. It is advised that students arrive at exam locations 10 minutes prior to exam time, as no one is admitted to the exam after it has begun. All exam materials are provided, including pencils.

Distance Learning

Students taking exclusively internet courses may take the writing test online. For information, e-mail George Greenlee, Director, Writing Program for more information, or call 417-625-9646.

Placement Information

Advisors may obtain a student's placement score through LIONET or Native Banner. Scores for students taking the WPE will be available within 24 hours.