This site provides comprehensive information about taking Part 1 of the FWIS Writing Assessment (FWA) that is required of all undergraduate students entering Rice University.  For more information on the graduation requirements, see the Undergraduate Students section of the Rice General Announcements.

If you are entering Rice in the fall of 2024, you are required to take the FWA during one of the two times it is offered.  No make-up opportunities are offered, and you may only take the assessment once.

The FWA is a placement instrument and does not affect your admission status or financial aid.

All communications regarding the FWIS Writing Assessment will be delivered to your Rice email address.

The dates for the exam are as follows: 

Round one

Begins May 29th, 2024, at 1:00 p.m.* and closes June 3, 2024, at 1:00 p.m.*

Round two

Begins June 20, 2024, 1:00 p.m.* and closes June 25, 2024, at 1:00 p.m.*

*All times are U.S. Central Standard Time (CST)

When a round opens, you can log in to the FWIS Writing Assessment site to take Part 1 of the assessment, which is an academic reading and writing task.  You will be asked to read a scholarly article and write a summary of it.  Part 1 of the assessment is designed to take 3 hours, though you will have an additional 2 hours to complete and submit your work should you need it (for a total of 5 hours).  The topic and readings for this task are available once you click the "Start Assessment" button.  You may start the assessment any time after the round opens.

Any student with a disability requiring accommodations must register with Disability Resource Center (DRC).  You may contact the DRC office at 713-348-5841 or adarice@rice.edu.  If additional time would be a sufficient accommodation for your disability, you do not need to contact the DRC office.  You may simply make use of the extra two hours that are available for completing the assessment.

Part 2 of the assessment is a questionnaire that you must complete following the submission of your summary in Part 1. The questionnaire should take 10-20 minutes.

Your summary and questionnaire responses must be submitted to the FWIS Writing Assessment website by 1:00 p.m. CST on the closing day of the round.  Students should be careful not to wait until the last minute to start or to submit the summary. 

Your placement results will be distributed to you and your academic advisor just before O-Week. You will receive an e-mail (at your Rice e-mail address) informing you that your results are available. You will be notified if you are required to enroll in FWIS 100 in the fall, and whether you have been assigned to enroll in a FWIS course that satisfies the graduation requirement in the fall or the spring of the coming academic year.

Purpose and Characteristics of the FWA

The assessment provides evidence of your strengths in college-level reading and writing in order to help you and your advisor select classes and determine your communication course requirements to graduate from Rice. The assessment establishes if students must complete FWIS 100: Introduction to Academic Writing before registering for a FWIS course numbered 101-299. Therefore, you should do your best work on the assessment and take it seriously. To do otherwise could result in an inappropriate placement. 

Procedures for Parts 1 and 2 of the FWA

The steps to complete the writing task are as follows:
1. Log in and click "Start Assessment" to access the topic and download the reading.
2. Write your summary based on the reading.
3. Complete Part 1 of the FWA.  Submit your summary for review within the allotted time period. (Note: The FWA is designed to take 3 hours to complete, but you will have 5 hours to complete it.)
4. Complete Part 2 of the FWA. Part 2 is a questionnaire that you must complete following the submission of your summary in Part 1. The questionnaire should take 10-20 minutes.
5. Check your Rice e-mail to see that you have received verification of the receipt of your summary and questionnaire responses.

Evaluation of the FWA

Writing instructors/reviewers will evaluate your submission for Part 1 of the FWA, which is a summary of a secondary source article.  Then, the placement committee will review the results of both Part 1 and Part 2 of the FWS and determine the appropriate placement for you.  Finally, just before Orientation Week, your final placement will be posted on the FWA website for you and your advisor to review.

Your summary will be reviewed using the following criteria.  Your final placement will be determined holistically by the placement committee, using both the results of your summary writing task and your answers to the questionnaire.  


  • The summary correctly identifies the author’s thesis/overarching argument
  • The summary identifies the key evidence that the author uses to support the argument
  • The summary identifies all major supporting claims
  • The summary uses an appropriate amount of detail to explain the evidence that the author uses


  • Introduction provides adequate context to understand the topic and the argument presented in the article
  • Body paragraphs are cohesive and transitions are clear
  • Summary presents the information in a way that accurately reflects the article
  • Conclusion is fully developed and considers the broader implications of the article’s argument

Clarity of Prose

  • The writing is thoughtful and precise at the sentence level
  • The summary displays evidence of effectively chosen vocabulary
  • The summary uses quotes and/or paraphrases effectively and draws upon and correctly cites from the article in either MLA or APA style

Honor Code Guidelines

You are on your honor to complete the writing of the summary without the assistance of others (including ChatGPT or other AI tools) and without using any information from sources other than the reading provided. Even though you have not yet matriculated at Rice University, your work in this placement task is covered by the Rice Honor Code, which provides that you do this work without assistance from anyone else. Receiving any aid from others--for example, obtaining ideas or input on the content, soliciting opinions on your ideas or writing, discussing the topic with others, having someone edit or proofread your essay, or submitting a summary that someone else has written--are all examples of academic fraud. Academic fraud is punished by penalties up to and including expulsion from the university.  (Note:  Students have had their admission to Rice revoked in the past for academic fraud on the FWA.  Please follow the stated guidelines.)

In addition to violating the Rice Honor Code, you are doing a disservice to yourself and your future academic career at Rice if you obtain outside assistance with the FWA. The ability to write effectively is crucial to your success, and you want the FWA to provide an accurate measurement of your ability so that you can be guided into the appropriate classes for your writing level.

If you are unsure what constitutes plagiarism, click here.  You will also be provided some guidance on proper documentation when you download the essay topic.

The following is a brief excerpt from Rice's Honor Code booklet to help you understand how the Honor Code is viewed at Rice:

"All assignments submitted at the University are pledged, either explicitly or implicitly, and students fulfill their responsibilities to their fellow students under the Honor System when they can pledge, in good conscience, that their work is their own.

"Cultures differ in their views about the ownership of ideas. In some cultures people believe that ideas, like air and sunshine, cannot be owned, and they do not acknowledge those who first publish ideas. Some countries are only now developing laws for ownership of patents and copyrights. Rice University is not part of such traditions: it follows Western conventions for dealing with intellectual properties. Its Code of Conduct acknowledges the unique intellectual contributions of individuals at the same time it recognizes that all individuals rely on the concepts, creations, and inventions of others. Although some students come from countries and cultures that do not recognize individual contributions to knowledge, Rice University expects these students and all other students and faculty to participate in an academic community that honors the intellectual work of others and acknowledges their influences. This community's commitment is formally recorded in a system of rules called The Honor Code" (Quote from http://honor.blogs.rice.edu/files/2011/01/Academic-Fraud-and-the-Honor-System.pdf).

Rice University students and faculty are proud of the Honor Code tradition. To read more about the Rice University Honor Code, click here.

Transfers and undecided students

If you are a transfer student who has not yet decided whether to enroll at Rice (for example, you may be waiting for financial aid information), you should go ahead and take the assessment now.

If you are a transfer student who has accepted the offer to enroll at Rice, you are required to take the assessment.  You may also petition for transfer credit for the required FWIS course; please review the Transfer Credit section of this page for more information.

Special Circumstances

All new students are expected to complete the FWA according to the dates posted; however, students who find it impossible to take the assessment during these dates should send an e-mail explaining their situation to fwiswritingassessment@rice.edu by May 28 and petition for special administration of the exam.


 Questions about overview, deadline, or procedures:

Technical problems with submission: helpdesk@help.rice.edu