English Composition Writing Essay

Enrollment in any English course (ENG prefix) will be determined based on several factors. First, your program of study will determine if you need English. ENG 101 and 102 fulfill general education requirements in communication for most ECC degrees and transfer. Second, your readiness for college-writing will be determined based on the following: 

  1. 20 or higher on the English portion of the ACT; 490 on SAT verbal, or 530 on New SAT3 reading and writing (valid for 2 years); or
  2. 4 or higher on the PARCC reading and writing assessment; or 
  3. Successful completion of ENG098 or LTC099 at ECC; or
  4. Attain the specified level from the ECC English placement test (valid for 5 years).

How does the test work?

Using a computer, you will write an essay of approximately 2 pages in length. You will select one of three topics to focus your essay response. You are allowed to use a dictionary, "Rules of Thumb" grammar handbook, spelling and grammar check, and scratch paper.

An effective essay will include each of the following:

  1. A thesis or main idea;
  2. Several paragraphs of sufficient, relevant, and specific detail or examples related to the topic selected based on your experience, observations, or readings;
  3. Good organization, including an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion;
  4. Correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.

Before you turn in your completed essay, you should proofread (reread and correct) your essay. Allow two hours to adequately write the essay. English placement test results will be available within 5 business days. Please plan accordingly to have the English placement test results completed prior to registration. All placement test results can be viewed on the  accessECC portal.

Your writing placement results expire in 5 years. If you do not complete your first ECC writing course within 5 years, you will need to redo your essay. Once you have completed an English class at ECC, you may retest only if you receive permission from your instructor or the placement coordinator. 

Preparing for your Essay Placement Test


We strongly recommend that you take a few steps to get ready before taking your writing/English composition placement essay test. Students who review first typically do much better than those who do not. You can prepare by:

  1. Reviewing example essays that received a college-level writing score (see below).
  2. If you'd like more support reviewing, take one of the English/writing prep workshops

How is my essay scored?

The results of your placement essay will be used to determine which courses you may take at ECC. If your essay indicates you need to strengthen your writing skills in order to be college-ready, you will be required to successfully complete (grade A-C) one or more developmental writing courses before you can enroll in any other writing-intensive courses like psychology, sociology, literature, history, etc. View example scores for more information.

Supplemental Resource Guide

Prior to re-testing, review the supplemental resource guide for available retesting support/preparation.