Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I have to take both sessions of the Assessment?
No. You only have to take the FWA (Parts 1 and 2) once during one of the two sets of dates that it is offered.

What if my summary goes over the word limit?
While the computer program will accept a summary longer than 750 words, such a summary most likely contains unnecessary details that detract from the focus of your writing.

What are the possible results I can get on the FWIS Writing Assessment?
There are three possible placement results:

  • FWIS 101-299 (fall or spring). If you receive this placement, you will be randomly assigned to take your required first-year writing course in either the fall (Group 1) or spring (Group 2) semester.
  • FWIS 101-199 (fall) + Writing Studio (COMM 120) recommended.  If you are placed on this pathway, you will be assigned to take your required first-year writing course in the fall semester, and you also will have priority access to the Writing Studio, which is a one-hour course with additional writing support.
  • FWIS 100 (fall) and FWIS 201-299 (spring). If you are placed on this pathway, you must successfully complete FWIS 100: Introduction to Academic Writing in the fall semester.  Then, in the spring semester you will take a FWIS course that fulfills the graduation requirement; both of these courses must be successfully completed before you can graduate.

What happens if I score 5 on the AP Test on Language and Composition (or a score of 5 on the AP Test on Literature and Composition), but I am placed in FWIS 100?
You will have to take FWIS 100. Your score on the AP test in no way influences your placement on the FWA, nor does it take the place of the FWA.  (You may be able to receive course credit from the English department for these exams; for more information, check the Rice AP credit policy.)

Do you accept the IB (International Baccalaureate) Exam in place of the FWIS Writing Assessment?
No. No other exam or assessment replaces the FWA. (You may check Rice’s exam credit policies here.)

Do you accept high scores on the SAT in place of the FWIS Writing Assessment?
No. No other exam replaces the FWA.

I took a class for college credit during high school or at another university before transferring to Rice. Can that substitute for the FWA?
No course taken during high school will substitute for the FWA.

Transfer students might receive transfer credit for a university course judged to be equivalent to a FWIS taken at an accredited university that Rice recognizes, but they will have to file an appeal to the Program in Writing and Communication for credit. Please visit to view directions for submitting your transfer credit petition.

All transfer students are required to take the FWIS Writing Assessment regardless of whether they submit a petition.

Can I use a computer at my local library/internet cafe to take the online FWA?
Yes! The physical location you choose to write the summary is completely up to you.  However, once you begin the assessment you must complete it within the time allotment, so be sure that you have a stable internet connection.

What can I do if I miss the deadline for submitting my Assessment?
All new students must complete the FWA according to the dates posted; however, students who find it impossible to take the assessment during these dates must send an e-mail to by May 28 explaining their situation and petitioning for special administration of the Assessment.

What if I am going out of town for the summer and will not have access to a computer or e-mail?
You should do your best to complete the Assessment before you go. In special cases, we can arrange to allow you to complete the Assessment earlier than the posted first-round dates.  You should send a request for special administration to by May 28 to make arrangements for you to complete the assessment by June 25.

Is it possible that I might fail this Assessment?
There are no passing/failing scores for this Assessment.  The purpose of the FWA is to determine the best first-year writing placement for you.  For that reason, it is important that you take the FWA seriously, allow enough time to complete it to the best of your abilities, and follow the instructions carefully.

If I miss taking the FWA during the summer, can I make it up during O-Week?
We do not administer the FWA during O-Week.  You must complete the Assessment May 29 - June 3 or June 20 – June 25, or make other arrangements by May 28 as discussed in the FAQ above.

Can’t I simply skip the Assessment and register for a FWIS?
All students entering Rice as of the 2012-2013 academic year must take the Assessment.

I matriculated prior to August 2012 and never took the FWA or COMM 103.  Can I take the FWA to satisfy the graduation requirement?
Students who matriculated prior to August 2012 may take the FWA in order to place out of FWIS 100.  However, they still must pass a FWIS to satisfy the graduation requirement.

How will I get my results?
A few days before Orientation Week begins, you will receive an email asking you to log back into this site, where you will find your results.

Other questions: