WP001: Placement Exam
For information regarding whether you need to take WP001, please see the English Composition Placement Exam.
WP001 is a 50-minute impromptu essay examination offered at 8:30 AM during FirstSTEP Orientation. Students with documented learning disabilities should contact Testing Services to arrange for special accommodations.
WP001 is scored holistically by the Center for Writing Excellence on a scale of 0-6. Depending on the student's score, the student will be placed into EN099: Writing Skills Workshop or EN100: English Composition according to Southeast's English placement protocol.
Students will be asked to write an expository essay approximately two pages in length on a general topic. The topic is randomly selected from the following list:
Whether you’re athletic or not, you’ve probably had some experience with athletics during your lifetime. This experience could range from a personal fitness regimen to a competitive sport like swimming or track to organized sports teams, such as basketball, soccer, table tennis, or cricket. Perhaps you took part in an impromptu neighborhood kickball game or played hopscotch with your sister. Perhaps you signed up for Little League baseball during the summer or cheered for your team from the sidelines. Or perhaps your school forced you to take mandatory fitness classes. Some of these may be fond memories, while others may not be. In an essay of approximately two pages, answer this question: Was your experience of athletics a positive or negative experience or a mixture or both? To put it another way, have you benefitted from athletics, or did your experience with athletics do you little to no good? Support your opinion with specific examples from your personal experience.
Association with Groups
A common feature of being human is association with groups. We associate with others in our family, hometown, nation, and race. We identify with people who attend the same church, root for the same team, wear the same kind of clothes, like the same kind of music. For good or ill, we continually put ourselves "in" and leave others out.
In an essay of about two pages, tell about a time when you were an outsider or "different." Be sure to provide sufficient details to let your readers know who was involved, how the situation came about, how you felt, how the situation ended, and what, if anything, you learned from the experience.
If you prefer, you may instead tell about an experience when you were a member of a group and someone else was a "stranger." Again, provide sufficient details to let your readers know what happened, what you felt and thought, and what, if anything, you learned from the experience.
Automobiles are an important part of American life. Once considered simple, basic transportation, we now value them as status symbols and frequently as expressions of our individual personalities. Write an essay of approximately two pages in which you describe the role the automobile plays (or has played) in your life.
Recall a time when you accepted a challenge, such as overcoming a handicap, getting a part-time job, going on a diet, or quitting smoking. What motivated you to accept this challenge and how do you feel about the results? Write an essay, using examples and specific details to support your point of view.
Change of Mind
In an essay of approximately two pages, write about a time when you experienced a change of mind. Perhaps you had a good friend who isn't a friend anymore, or you believed something that you no longer believe. Maybe you regret a choice you made or made a decision you would like to make over. Maybe you decided to stop doing something you previously enjoyed or became involved in a group or activity you had previously avoided.
Most people experience conflict in their lives either with other people (at home, at school, at work) or with society (a single person may feel conflict because of pressure from society to marry, or a childless couple may feel pressure from society to become parents). Or a person may experience conflict within him- or herself (about whether or not to do something or to behave in a certain way). In an essay of approximately two pages, write about a specific time when you have experienced a conflict.
In an essay of approximately two pages, write about a time when you have been disappointed. Perhaps a sporting event did not turn out the way you had hoped. Maybe someone close to you let you down. Perhaps a long anticipated event turned out to be far less than perfect. Or maybe you discovered that a purchase you made did not possess the fine qualities you had been led to expect. Think about one such disappointment that you have experienced. Explain specifically why you were disappointed and what you learned from the experience.
Most people assume that the opportunity to get a university education is one which should not be missed; however, not all well-informed and capable people hold college degrees. Pick someone whom you consider to be an "educated" person and explain your choice. This person may or may not have been formally educated in school. Use examples and specific details to support your point of view.
During your life, you have probably had an argument or perhaps even a fight with a sibling, a friend, a classmate, a parent, your fiance, your spouse, an employer, etc. Recall the details of the incident. Then, write an essay of approximately two pages, describing in detail what led up to the dispute, what happened, and what you learned as a result of your confrontation.
"Human beings make mistakes, but they also have great moments. One of those great moments, in my opinion was __________." Complete this statement with an example from literature, history, current affairs or your own experience. Using the completed statement, explain why you regard that moment in such a positive light.
As we go through life, we all have experiences that change us for the better--experiences that make us more "mature," that show us how or how not to act in order to get along in the world. Write about a time when you or someone you know had such a "growth experience."
Our society is becoming more "high tech" every day: we are surrounded by devices that are intended to make life easier, more interesting or more fun. For example, we rely on inexpensive calculators to solve our math problems, and we let computers correct our spelling and grammar mistakes. Have we become too reliant on technology? Use examples and specific details to support your point of view.
Write an essay explaining why your hometown was or was not the perfect place to grow up. If you have moved around a great deal, choose one of the places to write about that you stayed in the longest. Use examples and specific details to back up your opinion.
When thinking back on your life, you may remember people who have been especially influential in your life. Choose one such person and explain how this person has influenced your life either for the good or for the bad.
Write an essay of at least two pages describing a job you have had. Explain why it was or was not the perfect job for you. If you have not held a job, imagine your ideal job and explain what about it appeals to you and why you believe you are or will be suited to that job.
In "The Rocking Horse Winner," a story by D.H. Lawrence, a mother tells her son, "It's better to be born lucky than rich," which is an example of how people use "luck" (good or bad) to explain things that happen in their lives. People who win the lottery or people who are "in the right place at the right time" describe themselves as lucky, while other people complain about being "in the wrong place at the wrong time" or see their problems as "just my luck." Write an essay of approximately two pages in which you discuss the "lucky" (good or bad) event(s) in your life or in the life of another person you know.
Problem to Overcome
Most teenagers have at least one problem that gives them considerable concern. With some, dating is a problem. With others, getting money or a job is a problem. Some teenagers worry about their appearance or being popular. Still others worry about their future career or a major problem facing the nation or the world.
What is your main concern at this time? Explain why your concern became important to you and why you consider it worth overcoming. You might also explain how various people or situations contribute to the problem.
In daily life, people are often confronted with taking risks. The risk may have involved a major change in life (such as deciding to return to college, moving away from home, or changing jobs). Or the risk may have appeared less significant (driving on icy roads, trying out for band or cheerleading). Some people choose to take risks, while others avoid risks at all costs. In an essay of approximately two pages, write about a specific time when you have taken or have avoided taking a risk.
Some events in our lives are significant because they change us in an important way. Think of an event in your life that changed you, for example, the first time you accomplished something that was important to you, the first time you realized you had a skill or ambition that made you distinct from other people, or the first time that you became aware of a prejudice or a misconception or discovered that someone you admired was imperfect. Write about one such event in your life, recalling it in such a way that your reader can understand why it was significant and how it changed you.
In an essay of approximately two pages, write about a time when you tried unsuccessfully to learn something (for example, a sport, a hobby, a subject in school). Or if you prefer, write about a time when you were successful in learning something.
According to U.S. News and World Report, "while many people equate success with money, power, position, others define the word with helping their communities, the needy, or the sick. In a word: service. For these individuals, money is not the motivation, although many earn a respectable living. Instead, the contacts with people, the joy of aiding others, and the learning that comes with the job are big rewards." In short, success becomes a matter of personal fulfillment. Responding to what you have just read, explain how you define success. Write an essay, using examples and specific details to support your point of view.
In an essay of approximately two pages, describe in detail the best or worst teacher you have ever had, explaining why you liked or disliked the teacher.
In the last few decades, technology has advanced very rapidly. Which technological discovery or innovation has had the greatest effect in your life? Write an essay, using examples and specific details to support your choice.
"Life is one long test and we keep taking it." You may not share that comedian's summary of life, but certainly we all confront mental and physical challenges. Reflect for a moment and select a test that was particularly important to you. It could be a test someone set for you (for example, a teacher, your parents, your boss, some governmental or other agency). It could be a test you set for yourself (learning to dance, losing weight). Or it could be a test that life handed you (dealing with grief, a physical handicap). In an essay of approximately two pages, tell how the test came about, how well you responded to it, and what affect it has had on you.
Today, we live in a materialistic society. We value cars, clothes, jewelry, stereos, and many other personal items. If you had to choose only one item that you value the most, what item would you pick? Describe the item in detail and explain its importance to you.