Writing Skills Test (WST)

All students, regardless of where they began their college studies, are required by the California State University to satisfy an upper division written communication requirement. At SJSU the writing requirement has two parts: passing the WST and passing a 100W course.

  • A satisfactory score on the Writing Skills Test (WST) is required prior to enrollment in Written Communication II (100W courses) and all SJSU Studies (advanced general education, Areas R, S, and V) courses. To make timely progress to their degree, students should register for, and take, the first available WST they can after completing English 1A course (CSU GE Area A2) and a critical thinking course (CSU GE Area A3).
  • The WST requirement cannot be waived.
  • High WST scores may also be used to waive the required Written Communication II course (100W). Some majors do not permit waiving of 100W no matter what score the student receives on the WST. Individual score reports explain each student's status.

Beginning Fall 2014 the prerequisite for the WST is completion of English 1A (CSU GE Area A2) with a grade of "C- or Better". Completion of a second semester composition course (e.g. Area A3 courses or English 1B at SJSU) is strongly recommended for students prior to taking the WST. For SJSU students who completed their English composition courses at SJSU prior to Fall 2014, English 1A and English 1B (or equivalent) were prerequisites for the WST.

Once the writing courses have been completed with grades of "C- or Better", students should visit to view upcoming test dates and register for the WST. Completion of the WST prior to reaching upper division standing will prevent any delays in registration for any courses which require the WST or 100W as a prerequisite for enrollment. Transfer students should complete the WST prior to their first semester at SJSU to prevent any delays in registration.

Consult for the most current information about the WST. The following students do not need to take the WST to enroll in any classes:

  1. Students who have completed the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) at SJSU or at another CSU campus as a matriculated student at the time of completion. Note: If you have satisfied the GWAR at another CSU campus, your department may still require that you take 100W to satisfy the requirements of the major, even though the university GWAR requirement has been met;
  2. Post-baccalaureate students who have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university;
  3. Students who have submitted a Written Communication II petition and received approval granting equivalency based on satisfactory completion of an upper division composition course completed at another university, or the submission of published work for which the student is the primary author.

For students who have failed the WST, SJSU offers, ENGL 100A and LLD 100A. Either course satisfies the WST requirement if passed with a "C or Better."

If you have questions about your status, contact the Testing Office at

If you will not be in the U.S. for one of the spring or summer WST exams, take the first available exam in the fall semester.

If you will not be in the U.S. for one of the fall WST exams, take the first available exam in the spring semester. Students who live more than 50 miles away from campus may request to have their WST proctored at an approved testing center in the US. E-mail for more information.

Effective Fall 2012, students must take the WST no later than the term in which they reach 75 earned units (counting no more than 70 transfer units). If they do not pass, they must retake the WST or, if the WST has been failed once, take a 100A course each term until they pass. Students who reach 90 earned units without passing the test must enroll in 100A. (Updated - Presidential Directive 2009-05)

Graduate Students and the WST

All graduate students are required to satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) through the completion of courses designed for this purpose in order to advance to candidacy and to graduate. The current list of courses can be found at Some of these courses require the WST for registration. Waivers of the exam are issued for graduate students. The prerequisites described above (Eng 1A and a second semester composition course) are assumed to have been completed during the undergradute education. Exceptions to the course requirements can be found at and in the section on Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement - Graduate in this catalog. See your department graduate advisor for more information.

WST Scores

Scores will be reported on your MySJSU account. See for detailed WST score information.

How to prepare for this exam

To register

1. Register at least 4 weeks in advance at, dates are available on testing website.

Students who require disability-related accommodations must register and contact AEC at least four weeks prior to the posted test date.

2. The non-refundable test fee is $38.00, payable online via credit card, or at the Testing Office (Industrial Studies 228) with cash or check.