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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

If you have questions about the AWP Exam, CW R1A, MSW sections, or enrollment, please see our FAQs.

If you don’t find your question answered below, please call us at 510-642-5570.

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Please select a category from the list below to read frequently asked questions relating to the topic or course.

 

  • CW R1A
    Accelerated Reading & Composition

Enrollment

1. I’m taking CW R1A this semester and don’t know yet if I will pass, but I want to enroll in a R1B course for next semester. Can I enroll in a R1B course for next semester before I get my final course grade in CW R1A?

Yes. When TeleBEARS opens this semester, you can enroll in R1B for next semester (or in R4B, or any other course that fulfills the second semester of the R&C Requirement). If you pass CW R1A at the end of this semester, you are allowed to take the second-semester R&C course that you enrolled in. If you don’t pass CW R1A at the end of this semester, you are not allowed to take the second-semester R&C course that you enrolled in, and you will have to drop yourself from that course’s enrollment list.

2. There’s a prerequisite listed for the College Writing course I want to take. Do I have to fulfill that prerequisite before taking the course?

If the course you want to take is CW R4B, then yes, you absolutely must fulfill the prerequisite first semester of R&C before enrolling in the course.

For courses other than CW R4B, the answer is almost always yes, you must fulfill the prerequisite. You may contact the instructor to ask for an exception, but expect to be told that you need to fulfill the prerequisite before taking the course. Even if TeleBEARS allows you to enroll in the course, the instructor will drop you if you haven’t fulfilled the prerequisite.

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CW R1A

1. What is College Writing R1A?

College Writing R1A, Accelerated Reading and Composition, is an intensive 6-unit seminar that concurrently satisfies the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement (formerly known as the Subject A requirement) and the 1A portion of the university's Reading and Composition Requirement.

2. What is the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement?

The University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement (formerly known as the Subject A requirement) is universitywide writing requirement. Fulfillment of that requirement is a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses. If you have not passed the Analytical Writing Placement Examination (formerly known as the Subject A examination) or otherwise fulfilled the Entry Level Writing Requirement by the time you enter UC Berkeley, you should enroll in College Writing R1A during your first semester.

3. What will I do in College Writing R1A?

Students read imaginative, expository, and argumentative texts representative of the range of those encountered in the undergraduate curriculum.  Readings feature authors from diverse social and cultural backgrounds and perspectives.  Additionally, students are instructed in techniques for writing a range of discourse forms, and in the revision of papers.  In response to course readings and instruction in technique,  students write short (2-3 pages) and longer (4-6 pages) papers; other writing assignments might include journals, quickwrites, reflections, or text responses. The students' writing serves as a text in the class as well, and papers are frequently revised.

4. What is the format of the class?

Class size is limited to 14. The class is an interactive seminar; student discussion and writing are at the center.

5. Is there a final examination?

No. The culminating project for all College Writing R1A students is preparing a portfolio.

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6. Where can I go if I want extra help with my writing?

The Student Learning Center, located in the Cesar Chavez Center in lower Sproul, offers peer tutors who are trained to work with students on their writing. In addition, they offer tutoring in a broad range of courses.  For other sources of help offered to athletes, disabled students, and students living in the residence halls, see Writing Support for Students on our On Campus Writing Resources page.

7. How do I enroll in College Writing R1A?

The same way you enroll in any other class using Telebears. There are typically long waiting lists for this class, so try to enroll as early as you can.

8. When should I take College Writing R1A?

Students should take CW R1A in the freshman year.

9. Which section should I enroll in?

Each section has its own theme and reading list. See the online descriptions of CW R1A sections being offered in the upcoming semester, and choose that one that interests you the most.

10. What kind of support does CWP offer to native speakers of languages other than English?

CWP offers four to six CW R1A courses per semester that are designated for multilingual student writers (MSW). That means the course is reserved for non-native speakers of English. These sections follow the same curriculum standards and carry the same units as all other sections. The only requirement for students in CW R1A sections designated for multilingual students is that they spoke—or speak—at least one language besides English at home. (A high percentage of CW R1A students meet this qualification.) All MSW-designated sections are taught by specialists who can provide additional support to multilingual student writers. Our specialists have a background not only in teaching writing, but also in Second Language Writing or Applied Linguistics. This means that they will have studied English language use, language teaching, language testing, discourse analysis (fine-tuned attention to oral/written language), and linguistics (including syntax and grammar).

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11. Should I enroll in a section for multilingual speakers of English?

Some CW R1A sections are reserved for students who are fluent in languages other than English. If your Analytical Writing Placement Exam results suggest that you would benefit from specialized instruction, or if you want a chance to learn more about the structure of English while you read and write, consider enrolling in one of these sections. For more information, see FAQs about Multilingual Student Writers CW R1A Sections.

12. What do I do if I can't get into the course this semester?

Come to the CWP office in 112 Wheeler Hall for help.

13. Can I enroll in CW R1A if I have already fulfilled the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement and/or R&C Requirement?

No. Because this class is reserved for students who need to fulfill the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement, there are no spaces for others.

14. What course do I take after CW R1A to fulfill the second half of the R&C requirement?

UC Berkeley offers courses in a wide range of departments that fulfill the second half of the R&C requirement. (See, for example, CW R4B.) Check the Schedule of Classes to find out which of these courses is currently offered.

15. Are there other courses I can take to develop my writing?

The College Writing Programs offers a number of upper-division writing courses, such as intermediate and advanced composition, professional communication, travel writing. and creative writing.  The Undergraduate Division of the College of Letters and Science offers a Creative Writing Minor.

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Multilingual Student Writers CW R1A Sections

1. What kind of support does CWP offer to native speakers of languages other than English?

CWP offers four to six CW R1A courses per semester that are designated for multilingual students writers (MSW). That means the course is reserved for non-native speakers of English. These sections follow the same curriculum standards and carry the same units as all other sections. The only requirement for students in CW R1A sections designated for multilingual students is that they spoke – or speak—at least one language besides English at home. (A high percentage of CW R1A students meet this qualification.) All MSW-designated sections are taught by specialists who can provide additional support to multilingual student writers. Our specialists have a background not only in teaching writing, but also in Second Language Writing or Applied Linguistics. This means that they will have studied English language use, language teaching, language testing, discourse analysis (fine-tuned attention to oral/written language), and linguistics (including syntax and grammar).

2. Who would most benefit from taking an MSW-designated section of CW R1A?

These courses can benefit international and recent-arrival immigrant students who want intensive support with improving vocabulary development, learning editing/proofreading strategies, and understanding the expectations of U.S. academic instructors. These courses can also benefit certain long-term immigrants who have received much of their education in the United States. Specifically, an MSW-designated section can be beneficial to a student who speaks English fluently, but who has some difficulty writing or reading academic prose in English. Research in language learning has shown that some immigrant students may need more than ten years of instruction to achieve a level of proficiency in academic English appropriate for work at a university like UC Berkeley.

3. Are MSW-designated sections of CW R1A just as rigorous as any other section of CW R1A?

Yes, MSW-designated sections are just as rigorous as any other section of CW R1A. These sections are designated "MSW" by the College Writing Programs and are not seen as not separate courses by the university; they are not reported differently from any other section of CW R1A on students’ transcripts, nor are they listed separately in any printed catalog. There are only two differences between these MSW sections and any other section of CW R1A:

  • All of the students are bilingual and will bring this unique background into the classroom.
  • The instructor has experience helping students address writing challenges in English that may be unique to second language writers.

4. How can a student enroll in an MSW-designated CW R1A section?

Look for the following sentence at the end of the course descriptions on the online and printed versions of the schedule of classes: “Section X presumes proficiency in a language other than English.” Alternatively, you can contact the College Writing Programs main office at (510) 642-5570 and ask for the MSW section numbers for any given semester.

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AWP - Satisfying the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement

1. How do I satisfy the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement?

Before you enroll at Berkeley:

  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test, Writing Section and score 680 or higher,* or
  • Take the ACT Combined English/Writing Test and score 30 or higher, or
  • Take the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in English Language or Literature and score 3, 4, or 5, or
  • Take the International Baccalaureate High Level English A1 Exam and score 5 or higher, or
  • Take the International Baccalaureate Standard Level English Exam and score 6, or
  • Take the Analytical Writing Placement Examination at your high school's exam center and score 8 or higher.

* If you graduated from high school prior to March 2005, a score of 680 or higher on the SAT Writing Test satisfies the Entry Level Writing Requirement.

After you have enrolled at Berkeley: Take the Analytical Writing Placement Examination on campus and score 8 or higher.

2. If I didn't pass the Analytical Writing Placement Examination, what should I do?

Before you enroll at Berkeley: You can satisfy the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement at most community colleges. Check with an advisor at your college to find out what course satisfies the requirement. Register for that course and make sure that your college sends your transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Berkeley.

After you have enrolled at Berkeley: Register for College Writing R1A.

3. Can I retake the Analytical Writing Placement Examination?

No. You can take the exam only once.

4. Can I satisfy the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement at a California Community College (CCC)?

Yes, but only if you have not already enrolled at Berkeley (See 2 above).

5. Can I satisfy the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement at another UC campus?

Yes, you can go to any UC campus except UCSF.

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6. Can I satisfy the Reading & Composition 1A Requirement at a California Community College (CCC)?

Before you enroll at Berkeley: You can satisfy the R&C 1A Requirement at most community colleges. Check with an advisor at your CCC to find out what course satisfies the requirement. Register for that course and make sure that your CCC sends your transcript to the Admission Office at Berkeley.
After you have enrolled at Berkeley: If you enrolled at Berkeley before you satisfied the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement, you cannot take a course at a CCC to satisfy the R&C 1A Requirement.

7. Can I satisfy the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement and the R&C 1A Requirement in one semester?

At Berkeley: Yes, you can do this at Berkeley. Both requirements are satisfied in one course: CW R1A.
At other UC Campuses: No, on most other UC campuses it is necessary to complete a 2-quarter sequence to satisfy both requirements. Contact an advisor in your college here at Cal, or contact the campus directly for further information

8. I failed CW R1A. Can I retake the course in the summer at another UC campus?

In order to satisfy both the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement and the R&C 1A Requirement, you would have to take a 2-course sequence. You cannot take the 2 courses concurrently. It is very unlikely that you could complete both courses during the summer term. However you should contact the Summer Session office of the relevant UC campus for details.

9. I failed CW R1A. Can I retake the course in the summer at a California Community College?

No. You must do the coursework at a UC campus.

10. May I write in pencil when I take the Analytical Writing Placement Examination?

No. You must write in pen.

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College Writing Programs

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University of California
112 Wheeler Hall #2500
Berkeley, CA 94720-2500

Hours: M-Th 8-2:30
Phone: (510) 642-5570
Fax: (510) 642-6963
Email: collegewriting@berkeley.edu

 

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