College Writing Exam (CWE)

Professor is talking to the group of students in the classroom


The College Writing Exam (CWE) is an important graduation requirement for all PCCC students. Students will be asked to write an essay based on one of two questions provided. 

The exam is administered by computer.  The essay will be typed and the computer will allow you to use spell check, but not grammar check or the Internet.

For additional information about the CWE, go to the Libguide:

When should a student register to take the College Writing Exam?
Students are eligible to take the exam after completing EN 101 and one Writing-Intensive course required for their degree.

Can failure on the CWE prevent a student from graduating?
The CWE must be completed successfully in order to graduate.  A failing score on the CWE can delay graduation if the student does not re-take and pass the exam before the targeted graduation date. Taking the CWE as soon as you are eligible can allow sufficient time to get help, practice further, re-take the exam and graduate on time.

Is it possible to re-take the CWE if a passing score is not earned the first time?
Yes, however, students who need to retake the CWE must contact the Writing Center to review the structure of the essay and determine the student's best course of action.

If students fail to pass the CWE after two (2) attempts, they must attend a 4-session Intensive CWE Writing Workshop before they can make future attempts at taking the CWE.

Please contact the Testing Department at 973-684-5582 or to schedule an appointment for the workshop.

How do I get the results?

Results are:

  1. E-mailed to students at their PCCC e-mail address
  2. Posted on their degree audits 

If you take the exam:

  • by the 15th of the month, you will receive your results by the 30th of the same month.  
  • later than the 15th of the month, you will receive results by the 15th of the following month.


All students are encouraged to refresh their writing skills BEFORE taking the CWE
Practice is especially important if more than one semester has passed since you
completed EN 102.  Assistance is available on each campus:   


  • Only one (1) test session per person per month is allowed.
  • All students must present a photo ID.
  • When e-mailing, please include:
    • Your name
    • Student ID number
    • Major
    • Phone number
      Test Date and Test Time
    • Whether you wish to type or handwrite your essay.

Students are given a choice of two topics:

  1. One relating to their major, or
  2. A general topic
    For a list of general topics suited to students of any major, click here.

Students can obtain the theme (but not the actual question) of the general topic on the Libguide so that they may prepare some ideas for their essay.