About the WST


The WST consists of one experience-based essay prompt (effective Jan 2015). Students will have 70 minutes for the test: 15 minutes to plan the essay, 45 minutes to write, and 10 minutes to proofread. Please allow additional time for check-in.

For resources to help you prepare, visit: How to Prepare  
For information on scoring, visit: WST Score Information
For answers to frequently asked questions, visit: WST FAQ

To register for the test, click here.


Why Take the WST?

For Undergraduate Students: 
All students must pass both the WST and 100W course in order to satisfy the GWAR.

The GWAR must be completed prior to graduation unless the requirement has been met through other approved provisions. We strongly recommend completing a second-semester composition course prior to taking the WST.

Since both components of the GWAR are also prerequisites for many upper division courses, we strongly recommend that all students complete the test before reaching upper division standing, as soon as you are eligible to take the test. 

To qualify for the WST, students must complete either English 1A or English 1AF/S (GE Area A2) with a grade of "C-" or better, plus one of the following: (effective Fall 2014)

    • A second semester Humanities Honors Program course with a grade of "C-" or better
    • English 1B (SJSU Engineering majors only) or one course from GE Area A3 (all other majors)

Your course options are severely limited if you have not completed the WST by the time you reach 75 units. Please consult with an academic advisor and plan ahead to ensure that you take the test at the appropriate time. You must complete the test 3+ weeks in advance of any deadlines in order for your score to be available in time.

For Transfer Students:

We strongly encourage all incoming transfer students to take the WST before transferring, or at the very latest, no later than their first semester after transferring. Since the WST is a prerequisite for many upper-division courses, especially the 100W course in your major and the SJSU Studies courses, you will have access to a wider selection of upper division courses if you have completed the test ahead of time.

Depending on your major, you may be required to take the WST several months prior to transferring, or even before applying to SJSU. Please communicate with your major advisor to ensure that all your deadlines are being met on time.

If you are transferring to SJSU from another CSU campus and have completed the GWAR at your previous campus, please ask their Testing Office to send a score report to SJSU with a notation that you have fully completed the GWAR. 

Please note: this requirement can only be transferred if you have completely satisfied the GWAR as a matriculated student at that CSU campus. Partial GWAR completion cannot be transferred and/or combined, as per CSU Executive Order 665. If you completed the test only, you will need to complete the entire GWAR requirement at SJSU by taking the WST (even if you have taken an equivalent exam previously) and then pass the 100W course.

For Graduate Students: 
Graduate students do not have to take the WST for the 100W or 200W course unless it is specifically required by their program. However, all graduate students are required to demonstrate competency in written English as a requirement for graduation. SJSU policy requires that English competency be a requirement for advancement to graduate candidacy.

See your department graduate advisor for more details about your programs's Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).