Graduate Writing Exam: FAQ

Q: How do I know if I need to take the Graduate Writing Exam?

Your Graduate Administrator will notify you if you need to take the GWE. Currently, these departments and programs use the GWE.

Q: What are the possible results for the Graduate Writing Exam?

There are two possible results for the Graduate Writing Exam: pass or not pass. In most departments, the passing score is 80 or above. Students who receive a score below pass are recommended to take an IAP writing workshop or a full-semester writing class.

Q: What if I am unable to take the online Graduate Writing Exam?

If you are unable to take the online Graduate Writing Exam over the summer, you must take the online make-up exam in September (click here for more info on the make-up exam).

Q: Can I have someone else take a look at my essay before I submit it?

No. You may not accept assistance from anyone else regarding the exam.

Q: I have other commitments during the week of the graduate writing exam. Will the exam take the entire six days?

No. We expect that carefully reading the articles will take about 2-3 hours during the first 3-day period, and that writing the essay will take another 4-7 hours during the second 3-day period. We allow multiple days for the reading and writing because we know that people have other commitments during that time, and to allow time for a complete writing process, including reflection and revision.

Q: How do I get my results?

Once the Graduate Writing Exams are scored, the results will be sent to your Graduate Administrator; he or she will then give you your result.

Q: English isn’t my first language. Can I just take the English Evaluation Test (EET) instead of the GWE? Are they the same thing?

No. The EET is a separate test administered by the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures’ English Language Program and is an Institute-wide requirement. Click here for more information about the relationship between the English Evaluation Test and the Graduate Writing Exam.

Q: I didn’t pass the exam, and I can’t take the IAP workshop my department said I need to. Is there another way to fulfill the requirement?

We can’t answer that. The Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program (WRAP) administers the GWE, but all other decisions are made by your department. For questions about your results or your department’s passing scores, policies, and individual course requirements, contact your Graduate Administrator.

Q: I have questions that aren’t answered here. What do I do?

Contact us at gwe-help@mit.edu.