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Writing Assessment Information

First Year Writing Placement Process:

Students below the state cut scores on the SAT or ACT English sections (or students that have no ACT or SAT scores on record) may place with the First Year Writing (FYW) placement. All students that complete the First Year Writing placement will be eligible for a college-level First Year Writing course.

Testing at home for English placement:

The MSU Denver English Department allows students to complete the First Year Writing placement at home.

To request the First Year Writing Assessment to complete at home please fill out the form available at this link: Request First Year Writing Placement

Testing on campus for English placement:

Accuplacer math placement tests are available on campus in Tivoli Room 347. Drop-in testing is available Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm. Please bring a photo ID and your student ID number.

Do I need to take a placement test for First Year Writing?

Students with SAT or ACT scores over State of Colorado requirements may enroll directly into English 1010. The required SAT Writing sub-score is 470 or higher. The required ACT English sub-score is 18 or higher. See this link for for instructions on how to find your ACT or SAT scores in the student hub.

Students with ACT or SAT sub-scores below these numbers should complete the First Year Writing placement, known as the “FYW.” All MSU Denver students that complete the First Year Writing assessment will place into a college-level Freshmen Composition course.

Questions regarding FYW placement? Please email Dr. Jane Chapman Vigil ( or Dr. Jessica L. Parker (


ENG 1010-Composing Arguments

ACCUPLACER English tests


SAT (old version)

SAT (new version)


200 – 245
(Accuplacer Next Generation Writing test)

20 – 94
(Accuplacer Sentence Skills Test)

Below 18

Below 430

Below 470

Students in this score range must complete the First Year Writing (FYW) Placement writing sample.

Possible course placement based on the FYW Placement writing sample: ENG 1010, ENG 1010+ ENG 1001, or ENG 1008/1009.

Please see the English Department in King Center 402 for placement details.

246 or higher
(Accuplacer Next Generation Writing test)

95 or higher
(Accuplacer Sentence Skills Test)

18 or higher

430 or higher (score result before March 2016)

470 or higher (score result March 2016 or later)

ENG 1010 Composing Arguments

The MSU Denver English Department offers college-level, credit-bearing First Year Writing courses for all admitted students regardless of standardized test scores. English Department faculty will determine placement based on the First Year Writing (FYW) Placement writing sample. 

ACT and SAT scores are valid for five years. Students with expired ACT or SAT scores must complete the First Year Writing placement.

Consult with the English Department (King Center, Room 402) for additional information on placement options.

Transfer Students or Students with Previous College-level English Credit:

Students must transfer completed courses equivalent to ENG 1010 (or pre-requisite ENG courses) from other institutions to MSU Denver. This includes completed classes from other colleges, Concurrent Enrollment credit completed while in High School, CLEP credit, AP credit, etc. Consult with Transfer Services for details on this process. Consult with an Academic Advisor for placement options based on transfer credit.

FYW Placement Process:

There is no time limit for the writing sample; the average time is under 60 minutes. Once scored the English Department will contact students via email regarding placement based on the writing sample. Students must respond to the email message in order to register. For questions please contact the English Department.

New, First-time Freshman Students: Please complete all placement tests prior to attending New Student Orientation!

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