Writing and Learning Initiatives

Optimizing academic support and achievement

Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE)

The WPE, one of two ways to fulfill the GWR, is a two-hour exam for which students are asked to write a 500-800 word essay that demonstrates their ability to present an argument in an organized manner with fully developed supporting points expressed logically and clearly. 


Notice: In response to COVID-19, the spring and summer quarter Writing Proficiency Exam Testing dates are canceled.



If you are an active undergraduate student with a spring or summer 2020 graduation term, then you will receive a GWR exemption. 


If you are you not scheduled to graduate in spring or summer, then you are expected to fulfill the GWR. You might consider enrolling in a GWR-designated course this summer or taking the WPE in next academic year (check back for updates on fall quarter WPE dates).

Have you left the San Luis Obispo area but still need to fulfill the GWR?

The Writing and Learning Initiatives office can assist you; please contact the office for next steps.  

Related Content

Summer Quarter Updates

Writing and Learning Online Support 

June 22 - September 9

*Tutoring is online for summer; for more information, click here.

Writing Proficiency Exam

*The summer quarter WPE is canceled; for more information, click here

Academic Preparation and Placement

Cal Poly adheres to the CSU's placement practice, which evaluates multiple measures of pre-college academic performance to determine placement in first-year English and math courses. Cal Poly also offers summer support courses in compliance with the CSU's Early Start Program to help incoming first-year students prepare for a successful college experience. For more information, click here.

Writing and Learning Center

The university's Writing and Learning Center intends to ensure optimal educational opportunities for diverse student populations through peer-to-peer support in reading comprehension, writing, test preparation, and various courses and subjects. Tutoring is free for all Cal Poly students and available online until further notice. For more information, click here.

Graduation Writing Requirement

All degree-seeking Cal Poly students, including a Master's degree or teaching credential, must fulfill the GWR.  Undergraduate students must complete 90 units before they can attempt to fulfill the requirement and should do so before the senior year. The two pathways to GWR completion are 1) in an approved upper-division course and 2) via the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE). For more information, click here.