Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I have to take both rounds of the Assessment?

No. You only have to take the FWA (Part 1) during one of the two times it is offered.

What if I have problems logging in or submitting my summary?

First, double-check that you have your NetID and password correct. If you do not yet have a NetID, please go to and follow the instructions under Activate Your NetID.

If you do not remember your password, use to reset your NetID password. 

Please back up your summary before submitting in case of internal or external technical issues. 

If you still have problems, you will need to contact the IT HelpDesk.

How long do I have to complete the Assessment?

The Assessment has two parts.  Part 1 asks you to write a summary of an academic article, and is designed to take 3 hours.  However, in case you need extra time, once you access the readings for the essay you have 5 hours to submit your summary.  Part 2 is a questionaire that you must complete within 3 days of finishing Part 1.  The questionnaire should take 10-20 minutes, though you may take as long as you need.

Any student with a disability requiring further accommodations must register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC).  You may contact the DSS office at 713-348-5841 or

What if my summary goes over the word limit?

While the computer program will accept a summary longer than 750 words, such a summary most likely contains unnecessary details that detract from the focus of your writing.

What are the possible scores on the FWIS Writing Assessment?

There are two possible placement results:

  • FWIS (fall or spring). The student is eligible to enroll directly in a FWIS that meets the graduation requirement.  The student will be randomly assigned to either the fall (Group 1) or spring (Group 2).
  • FWIS 100 (fall) and FWIS (spring). The student must successfully complete FWIS 100: Introduction to Academic Writing before registering for a FWIS that meets the graduation requirement; both courses must be successfully completed before the student can graduate.

What happens if I score 5 on the AP Test on Language and Composition (or a score of 5 on the AP Test on Literature and Composition), but I am placed in FWIS 100?

You will have to take FWIS 100. Your score on the AP test in no way influences your score on the FWA, nor does it take the place of the FWA.

Do you accept the IB (International Baccalaureate) Exam in place of the FWIS Writing Assessment?

No. No other exam or assessment replaces the FWA.

Do you accept high scores on the SAT in place of the FWIS Writing Assessment?

No. No other exam replaces the FWA.

I took a class for college credit during high school or at another university before transferring to Rice. Can that substitute for the FWA?

No course taken during high school will substitute for the FWA.

Transfer students might receive transfer credit for a university course judged to be equivalent to a FWIS taken at an accredited university that Rice recognizes, but they will have to file an appeal to the Program in Writing and Communication for credit. Please visit to view directions for submitting your transfer credit petition.

All transfer students are required to take the FWIS Writing Assessment regardless of whether they submit a petition.

Can I use a computer at my local library/internet cafe to take the online FWA?

Yes! Where you choose to write the summary is completely up to you.

What can I do if I miss the deadline for submitting my Assessment?

All new students must complete the FWA according to the dates posted; however, students who find it impossible to take the assessment during these dates must send an e-mail to by May 29 explaining their situation and petitioning for special administration of the Assessment.

What if I do not have a Rice e-mail account?

All students admitted to Rice are assigned an e-mail account as soon as they tell the Admission Office that they are coming. You will need to go to to activate it.

What if I am going out of town for the summer and will not have access to a computer or e-mail?

You should do your best to complete the Assessment before you go. In special cases, we can arrange to allow you to complete the Assessment earlier than the posted first-round dates.  You should send a request for special administration to by May 26 to make arrangements for you to complete the assessment by June 26.

Is it possible that I might fail this Assessment?

There are no passing/failing scores for this Assessment.  The purpose of the FWA is to determine the best first-year writing placement for you.  For that reason it is important that you take the FWA seriously, allow enough time to complete it to the best of your abilities, and follow the instructions carefully.

If I miss taking the FWA during the summer, can I make it up during O-Week?

We do not administer the FWA during O-Week.  You must complete the Assessment May 31 - June 5 or June 21 – June 26, or make other arrangements by May 26 as discussed in the FAQ above. 

Can’t I simply skip the Assessment and register for a FWIS?

No.  All students entering Rice as of the 2012-2013 academic year must take the Assessment.

I matriculated prior to August 2012 and never took the FWA or COMM 103.  Can I take the FWA to satisfy the graduation requirement?

Students who matriculated prior to August 2012 may take the FWA in order to place out of FWIS 100.  However, they still must pass a FWIS to satisfy the graduation requirement.

Other questions: