Information on English Placement Exam

The following information refers only to the Placement Exam on the Columbus campus. For information about English Placement on another Ohio State campus, please contact your advisor.

The English Placement Exam asks students to respond to a prompt that requires critical reading, summary skills, and an original essay in response. Students read a short opinion piece (approximately 500-750 words) and are asked to summarize and then respond to it.

General Directions for the Placement Exam

The Placement Test asks you to read a short essay, write a one-paragraph summary of that essay, and write a response to that essay.

You have a few choices about the document type you use to write and submit your essay:

  1. You may write your essay in Word, Pages, or Google Docs and copy and paste it into the submission text box once you have completed it and submit it there.

  2. You may type your essay directly into the text box in the Testing area and submit it through the submission function.

Please read the essay before you begin writing. When you have finished reading the essay, respond to it in two ways.

Step 1: Write a one-paragraph summary of the essay that provides a good idea of what the essay is about. Be sure to identify the central argument in your summary and to include the title of the essay and the author’s name in the summary.

Step 2: Write an essay of your own that responds to the author's argument. In your essay, do your best to demonstrate your composition skills and familiarity with edited American English. While much academic writing requires finding and working with outside sources, this placement essay should consist exclusively of your own writing. While you may quote from the placement reading, do not include the work of other writers

You should work to display the following attributes in your writing:

  • A clearly defined central idea (thesis).

  • A clear and logical organization (clearly defined organization and logical paragraphs).

  • Strong supporting details drawn from experience, observation, and/or from the reading. No sources outside the reading should be included.

  • An understanding of the reading and argument presented in it.

  • Grammatically correct and effective sentences.

You may take some time to to free-write, plan, or outline your thoughts before you write the essay. If you are writing in Word, Pages, or Google Docs to copy and paste into the text box, be sure to include a header or separation between your notes and Steps 1 and 2. If you are typing directly into the submission text box instead of in a file that you will cut and paste, please indicate the location of your planning notes in the text box with a heading such as notes, brainstorming, or free-writing.

NOTE: The writing you submit should be your own. This is not only because the Student Code of Conduct requires that you do your own work, but also because it is essential for our assessment process that the writing you submit is typical of your writing. If you get help with your response, you may be placed in a class that is too difficult for you.

Please make an effort to proofread your work before you submit it. At the least, make sure that the separation between pre-writing notes and Steps 1 and 2 is clear.

We strongly recommend that you write both your summary and your response using Word, Pages, or Google Docs and then copy and paste them into the submission area. If you write in the textbox itself, you may lose your work if you have an internet interruption or your browser times out.

Once you have submitted your test, our team of readers will read the summary and response to determine which of the following English courses will be the best for you:

  • Level 4: either English 1110.01 or 1110.02 (3 credit hours)

  • Level 5: English 1110.03 (3 credit hours) and 1193 (1 credit hour) simultaneously (a total of 4 credit hours)

  • Level 6: English 1109 (4 credit hours). After completing 1109, you must enroll in English 1110.03 and 1193 simultaneously (4 credit hours) to complete your first-year writing requirement.

We will send your results to be posted to your Student Testing Profile in SIS. Once the results are posted in your Buckeye Link profile, you will be able to work with your advisor to schedule for first-year writing. (Results will not be entered in Carmen.)

  • Carmen works best using Chrome on a PC or Mac. We do not recommend using the Carmen app for the exam. The app offers a limited version of Carmen and can make it harder to find and access some features. In addition, your work may not properly upload into the submission area.

  • We recommend taking the test on a tablet or computer, not your phone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Placement exams are read and assessed every business day. Unless there is a technical issue or complication with your exam, you can expect to see your results in Carmen within 1-2 business days. After your result is posted in Carmen, it is sent to the Testing Center to be added to your Buckeye Link account. Your advisor will be able to see your result in SIS 24 hours after Testing updates it.

Please email us at to request accommodations such as extended time at least two business days before you plan to take the exam. You should also register with Student Disability Services.

No. If you have taken the ESL Composition Placement test, you will be placed into EDUTL or English classes on the basis of that test. Please email us at if you are asked to take both tests.

A placement result of 4 means you can register for English 1110.01 or 1110.02. A placement result of 5 means you must register for English 1110.03 and 1193. A placement result of 6 means you must register for English 1109.

If you experience technical difficulties, email We can reset your attempt and allow you to take the exam again. You will receive a new exam and have to begin again.

No. You can retake the exam if you have technical difficulties, but we do not reassess placement exams. If you have questions about your placement, you can contact Scott DeWitt ( and Ashleigh Hardin (

Probably. Ask your advisor if placement procedures have changed since you were assigned the placement exam. You can also email

The best way to prepare for the Placement Exam is to ensure you're able to take the exam in a distraction-free environment with a reliable internet connection. You should also make sure you can devote the full 75 minutes to the exam. Take the exam when you're not sleepy or hungry. Read the instructions fully before you begin the exam. Other than these preparations, students should not need to "study" for the English Placement Exam.

Yes, unless you also took a First-Year Writing course at another school as well. We do not recognize placement exams from other institutions.