Writing Skills Assessment

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 with an F-1 Student Visa and students who were required to show proof of English Proficiency for admission to UW Tacoma have the option to submit Proof of English Proficiency in lieu of taking the WSA. Applicants can opt to take the WSA (or submit scores from both the TOEFL and WSA).


  • You must prepay a $35 non-refundable fee to confirm your registration for a Writing Skills Assessment session.
  • Select your method of payment during online registration; pay online with Visa/Mastercard/Discover via PayPal or pay in advance with cash, check or credit card at the UW Tacoma cashier's office in Carlton 400. Please note, the cashier's office is not open on Saturdays. PayPal is the preferred method.
  • If you pay at the Cashier, your receipt must be delivered to Dougan 401 before the exam. Payment will not be accepted at the exam.
  • Double check that you have typed your e-mail address correctly on the registration form. Your assessment confirmation and electronic receipt are sent to that address.
  • You will be notified of your assessment results with your admission decision letter. We cannot release WSA scores before admission decisions have been made.
  • The Writing Skills Assessment may only be taken once per application period. 
  • Scores are valid for two years.


Out of State Registration

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.

If you are able to register for an assessment date on the Tacoma campus, register online here. To register at the Foster School of Business at UW Seattle or the UW Bothell School of Business, contact them directly.

Writing Skills Assessment Format

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, and where appropriate, provides a well-reasoned solution that displays analysis of data (numerical or verbal);
  • is well organized, with a clear overall strategy;
  • is fully developed, with pertinent support for ideas presented;
  • is appropriate in style and tone for the intended reader; and
  • displays consistent facility with written English (grammar, syntax, vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling).

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 Accommodations

If you require disability accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at 253-692-4501 or e-mail dssuwt@uw.edu, preferably at least 10 days in advance of the test date. Please be aware that you should be prepared to provide documentation of your disability in order to receive academic or testing accommodations.

About Disability Support Service

Refund, Scheduling and Voiding Policy

The $35.00 assessment fee is non-refundable. If you register and cannot attend, you may send a request to uwtwsa@uw.edu at least 24 hours prior to your confirmed assessment date to reschedule. You may only reschedule once. No refund will be issued if you choose not to reschedule or test on the UW Tacoma campus.

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.

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

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

To request changes to this page, email business@uw.edu.