About the Writing Exam

You can access the Writing Exam here.

About the Exam

All information about the Writing Exam will be sent to your @college email address. You are responsible for checking that email address regularly during the summer.

The format of the required Writing Exam differs from the other Harvard placement exams you will take this summer. You will read three sources focusing on a particular topic and write an argumentative essay in response to those readings. The Writing Exam gives you several days to read, reflect, and write. You will have a maximum of 72 hours to read the sources and write your essay. The three sources will total approximately 40 pages.

The 72 hours for your exam will begin as soon as you log in and access the prompt and readings. When you begin the exam, you will find links to all three sources as well as a detailed prompt giving you instructions and guidelines about the essay you will write. Please note that we do not expect that you will spend 72 hours writing. Rather, we give you that timeframe to allow you to move back and forth from the placement exam to other things, in a writing process in which you can read and analyze the sources; make note of your initial ideas, perhaps in an outline; draft an essay; and revise it into a finished essay that argues clearly for your idea. Given the scope of the exam, you should not plan on being able to complete all the readings and write the essay in one sitting.

Please see the Placement Exams website for information on accessing the Writing Exam and other summer placement exams (http://placement-info.fas.harvard.edu).