The Writing Exam

You can access the Writing Exam here.

All admitted first-year students enrolling in the fall of 2019 will need to take the online Writing Exam during the summer. This exam allows the Writing Program to make placement recommendations about how students can meet the Expository Writing requirement. More detailed information about the exam will be posted here on our website soon, and information about the exam will also be emailed to all students on May 15.

The scheduled dates for the 2019 Writing Exam are:

  • The June Writing Exam Window will run from May 30 – June 13. All students are expected to take the Writing Exam during those dates.
  • For students with unavoidable conflicts with the June dates, the Make-up Exam Window will run from July 9 – 16.

Information on how to petition to move to the Make-up Exam Window will be included in the material sent to all incoming students in mid-May.

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 50 pages.


About the Writing Exam

Schedule and Exam Windows

Taking the Exam

Submitting the Exam and Technical Issues

Placement and Expository Writing Courses


Writing Exam Calendar