Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills

Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills

A passing score on the test of critical reading and writing skills (CRWS) is required for registration in some environmental studies, management, museum studies, writing, and graduate proseminar courses. Most courses have an alternative prerequisite expository writing (EXPO) course that can be taken instead of CRWS.

How to take the test

  1. Go to the online services login page. If you are a new student, see “Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills” at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions to log in, read about the test, and take it when you are ready. If you are a returning student, log in and select “Placement Tests” from the main menu, then “Test of Critical Reading and Writing.”
  2. Read carefully the page of test information and procedures.
  3. Select “Begin Test” to take the test immediately, or select “Return to Menu” to take the test at a later time.

You cannot pause or cancel the test once you start it, so take the test when you have strong computer connectivity and are not likely to be interrupted.

When to take the test

The test of critical reading and writing skills is available in online services year-round between 4 am and 11 pm eastern time. Test scores are posted to your online services account according to the schedule below.

It is best to take the test before registration begins, as most courses that require CRWS have limited enrollment and fill quickly. You may take the test as far in advance as you wish, but you may take it only once for each term.

Test schedule for summer courses

Take the test between:

To have your score available by:

January 15 and February 18
(last test period before registration begins)

February 26

February 19 and March 3

March 11

March 4 and March 17

March 25

March 18 and April 7

April 15

April 8 and April 21

April 29

April 22 and May 5
(last test period before late registration)

May 13

May 6 and May 26

June 3

May 27 and June 9
(last test period for summer courses)

June 15

Courses that require the test

If a course requires a passing score on CRWS for registration, it is noted in the course description.

Alternatives to the test

Alternative to the CRWS test for:

Earn a B or higher grade in this prerequisite course

BIOS courses

EXPO 42c

BIOT courses

EXPO 42c

ENVR courses

EXPO 15, EXPO 42b, or EXPO 42c



MGMT courses


MUSE courses

EXPO 15, EXPO 34, EXPO 42b, or EXPO 42c

SSCI courses

EXPO 42b

Registering for courses that require this test

You can register for courses that require this test if:

  • You have a passing score on the test of critical reading and writing skills, or
  • You have earned a grade of B or higher in the designated alternative course, or
  • You are currently enrolled in the designated alternative course and grades for that course will be posted before the course with the CRWS test prerequisite begins. If you do not earn a grade of B or higher in the alternative course, you will be dropped for a full tuition refund from the course with the CRWS test prerequisite.

Courses that require CRWS may have other prerequisites; see course descriptions for all course prerequisites.

Test policies

  • Any use of outside resources is strictly forbidden.
  • All test scores are final.
  • You may take the test only once for a term (fall, spring, or summer).
  • Passing this test does not satisfy the Summer School English proficiency requirement. If your native language is not English, you should meet the English proficiency requirement before attempting this test.
  • If you pass the CRWS test, you do not have to take the test again to register for any course that requires it. If you do not pass, you will be advised to enroll in a writing course to help improve your critical reading and writing skills before attempting the test again. You can see your course recommendation in your online services account, along with your test score.
  • If you fail the test three times, you will not be allowed to attempt the test again. If you fail the test even once, you are advised to take the course recommended to you before attempting the test again.
  • Many of the courses that require the CRWS test are required admission courses for Extension degree programs. You must meet this course prerequisite even if you are not considering an Extension degree program.

Academic integrity

You may not use outside resources when taking this test. The answers and writing you submit must be your own. Breaches of academic integrity are referred to the Administrative Board, which may impose sanctions that include indefinite suspension from the Summer School and the Extension School.

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