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The English Competency Exam Committee wants to know if you can write


Students beware: the English Competency Exam (ECE) takes place this month. It will be administered on February 25 and 26 in the Stone Center, per usual.

Tuesday’s ECE sections test from 6 to 7:30 PM and Wednesday’s from 3 to 4:30 PM.

The exam, which is a requirement for graduation, is administered by the English Department. Any student who has completed English 101 and 102 and has at least 60 credit hours may register to take it, but must do so as soon as registration opens each semester—there is absolutely no late registration.

Detailed instructions about what to expect on the writing examination and what materials to bring can be found on the ‘ECE Information’ section of the English Department’s website, but students will need a photo ID, a blue or black ink pen, and a blue examination book.

Students are also encouraged to bring a dictionary. Blue examination books can be purchased from the book store or at the Stone Center for an hour before the test begins each day.

The examination takes the form of two essay prompts. The examinee must choose one of the prompts and write a well-reasoned expository or argumentative essay of four or five hundred words within the time limit of an hour and a half.

The exam is graded on a pass-or-fail basis by two or three members of the English Department faculty according to two criteria: organization and development of the topic, and grammatical and mechanical accuracy. Put more simply, students need to write an essay that makes sense and contains as few errors as possible.

If any student feels their expository writing skills could use some brushing up, the English Department offers an ECE workshop on February 17 and 18 at 6 PM in room 125 of the Stone Center. No registration is necessary for the workshop.

Because passing the ECE is a requirement for graduation, it’s a good idea to get it out of the way as early as possible. It must be completed at least one semester before applying for graduation. Any student who fails is required to complete remediation through Learning Services, which could delay graduation for someone who waits until late in their college career to take the exam.

Rememdiation could include passing a remedial writing class, completing a tutorial with Learning Services, or earning a “C” or higher in an upper-level English course.

Registering for the ECE is just like signing up for a class—simply log into MyJSU, choose the ‘Registration’ tab, then choose the same option on the next page. From there, choose ‘Add or Drop Classes’ and specify the ECE term for the current semester, then click submit.

After that, students can choose which section of the exam to register for.

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