Writing Skills Assessment

Students preparing for the WSA

The Milgard School of Business emblem at the UW Tacoma campus

The ability to communicate ideas clearly and concisely in writing is a key skill for success in college and in your career. For your Milgard Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration application to be considered, you must take the Writing Skills Assessment (WSA) prior to the application deadline of the quarter for which you are applying.

Applicants who were required to show proof of English Proficiency for admission to UW Tacoma have the option to submit the TOEFL or IELTS in lieu of taking the WSA.

Registration Instructions 

1. Register for the WSA

You must first register for the WSA. To do so, please fill out the following form:


After registering for the exam, you must then pay for the exam. 

2. Pay for the Exam

There are two options to pay for the exam:

Online Payment Instructions

After selecting the Make an Online Payment button below, you will be redirected to TouchBase, University of Washington Tacoma's online payment portal. UW students and employees have been set up with TouchBase accounts and can sign in as Returning Users.

Online Payment

Guests can sign in using the Create Guest Login:

  1. Follow the sign-in instructions and create a guest login.
  2. Click on Guest Items At UW Tacoma found under the "Make an Online Payment" header
  3. Click to Continue next to School Type
  4. Select University of Washington - Tacoma
  5. Select Milgard School of Business WSA

Cashier Payment Instructions

Pay in advance with cash, check, or credit card at the UW Tacoma Cashier's Office in Carlton 400. Receipt must be delivered to WSA Coordinator in Dougan 401 prior to test date to confirm your registration. The cashier's office hours and contact information can be found here

3. Confirm Registration and Payment

Please confirm that you have successfully registered and paid for the WSA. The exam cannot be administered until payment is received. You should receive an email confirmation with more information regarding the exam. 

About the Writing Skills Assessment

The WSA is given in a proctored setting in which no dictionaries or calculators are allowed. The assessment takes 90 minutes and consists of two essays: a Persuasion Task based on a statement, and a Position Task based on a short scenario. No special business knowledge is required or expected for either writing task.

Each Task is scored on a six-point scale. The two scores are averaged to create your assessment score. Scores are based on the degree to which each essay:

  • Addresses the writing task effectively and insightfully, relativity, and provides a well-reasoned solution that displays analysis of data (numerical or verbal);
  • Is well organized with a clear overall strategy.
  • Fully developed concept with pertinent support for the intended reader.
  • Has consistent facility with written English (grammar, syntax, vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling).

The Writing Skills Assessment can only be taken once per application period.

The WSA is applicable at all three University of Washington campuses.  To take the WSA at Foster School of Business- UW Seattle or UW Bothell School of Business contact business schools directly.

Preparing for the Assessment

Foster School of Business online WSA Study/Practice Test Resource

WSA Info Sheet with suggestions on how to prepare

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University

Online Writing Skills Assessment Workshop from the Foster School of Business

Purdue OWL resources to help ESL students in second language writing

Short List of Good Links for ESL students

Odegaard Writing & Research Center writing resources

Teaching and Learning Center resources, handouts, and more helpful links

(accessible to all) are available online. For WSA practice tests, click on 'Other Resources'.

Current UWT students may visit the Teaching and Learning Center for writing support


Disability & Out of State Accommodations

Disability Accommodation Exams

If you require disability accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at 253-692-4501 or e-mail dssuwt@uw.edu for more information. When an accommodation is made please ensure Milgard School of Business and UW Tacoma Disability Support Services are informed about the accommodation at least 10 days in advance of the test date. Also, be prepared to provide documentation of your disability in order to receive academic or testing accommodations.

Out of State Exams

If you are outside of Washington State and unable to attend a WSA at a UW campus, please complete the Out-of-State Registration Form and mail with the appropriate fee to the address below:

Milgard School of Business
ATTN: WSA Registration
1900 Commerce Street, Box 358420
Tacoma, WA 98402-3100

We must receive your Out-of-State Registration Form at least 4 weeks in advance of the application deadline.

Refunds, Rescheduling, Retakes & Test Voiding

Refund Policy

No refund will be issued if you choose not to reschedule or test on the UW Tacoma campus. The $35.00 assessment fee is non-refundable. If you register and cannot attend, your payment may be applied towards another test date by request to uwtwsa@uw.edu or the DOU 401 business office 253-692-5630 only prior to the original registered test date. The payment is no longer transferable at 2:00pm the day of the exam.

Rescheduling & Retake Policies

Exams may be rescheduled prior to the day of the test and may only be rescheduled once. In addition, Milgard School of Business does not allow WSA retake exams per application. If results are unsatisfactory, the student must wait for the next application period to take the exam again.    

Test Voiding Policy

Students may void their WSA at the exam. The voided assessment will not be scored, and the student may re-register for another date. The Void Policy is as follows:

  • Students will be allowed to void the WSA once per academic year.
  • Students may NOT void only one part of the two-part test; voiding will apply to both the Persuasion and Position tasks.
  • Once the assessment is voided, it will not be scored and cannot be used for admission purposes.
  • Students who void their assessment will NOT receive a refund and will have to pay the full registration fee again for their next assessment.
  • Students will have to declare their intent to void the WSA before they depart the room in which the assessment was proctored. They can do so at the time the written tasks are collected.

If you have questions about the WSA, please e-mail uwtwsa@uw.edu.