Graduate Writing Exam: Details

What’s on the exam?

The Graduate Writing Exam (GWE) consists of one analytic summary essay of 750 – 1500 words written between June 3-10, 2021 (Summer Session) or September 9-16, 2021 (Make-Up Session), and submitted online.

When do I take the exam?

Students must register in advance beginning on Monday, May 17, 2021. For the Summer Session, students have the week of June 3 – June 10 to read the prompts, articles, and compose an essay. For the Make-Up Session, students have the week of September 9 – September 16 to read the prompts, articles, and compose an essay.

Please note that the Summer Session does not interfere with your coursework or other requirements during your first weeks of graduate school, and we encourage students to take the GWE in June. Therefore, students should take the Make-Up Session only if it is impossible for them to take the Summer Session.

Please see Dates & Deadlines for this year’s full GWE schedule.

How do I take the exam?

  1. Register before 1 PM EDT on June 2, 2021 (for Summer GWE) or before 1pm EDT on September 8th, 2021 (for Make Up GWE) by going to the MIT Essay Evaluation Site.
  2. Click on the “Set your Password” option at the bottom of the screen and request your reset email be sent to your MIT email address. You will receive an email with a link to set up a password and your account. Please note the system does not use Kerberos credentials – you will need to set a password to access the system. If you do not immediately see your activation email, please check your spam/junk folders.
  3.  Fill out the demographic information to set up your account as prompted.
  4. Return to “Home” (visible on the left-hand menu). You will see an option in the middle of the screen saying “Click here to register” – click on this button to proceed to registration. Register for either Summer GWE (June) or Make Up FEE (September) according to the two choices for each.
  5. On the date readings and prompt become available, log in to the MIT Essay Evaluation Site to view them.
  6. When you’ve written your essay, log in to the MIT Essay Evaluation Site and submit your essay by the due date and time.

How long will the exam take?

We expect that carefully reading the articles will take about 2 – 3 hours, and that writing the essay will take another 4 – 7 hours. 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.

What will I be writing about?

The GWE asks you to read 4 – 5 articles on a technical, but interdisciplinary, topic and to then write an analytical summary that synthesizes the information from the articles clearly, in a logical structure, and with careful attention to accurate paraphrase and citation of the sources.

How do I find out how I did?

Your department will receive your score and your Graduate Administrator will send you your result.

Still have questions? Please visit our FAQ page.