About the Writing 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 one substantive academic source focusing on a particular topic and write an argumentative essay in response to that reading. 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 source you will read totals approximately 20 pages.

The 72 hours for your exam will begin as soon as you log in and access the prompt and the source. When you begin the exam, you will find a link to the source 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 source; 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 the reading 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).