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Engineering writing test

All undergraduate students at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science must satisfy the School's writing skills requirement. There are two ways to fulfill the writing skills requirement:

  • Take ENCS 272 and pass with a C- or better


  • Take the Engineering Writing Test (EWT) and receive a PASS result

You must fulfill the writing skills requirement by completing one of the above options before you can register for ENCS 282 – Technical Writing and Communication, which is a required course for all undergraduate engineering students. Students may not register for ENCS 282 until they have fulfilled the writing skills requirement.

The EWT should be taken within the first 30 credits of a student's program, after all required English as a Second Language courses have been completed. Students who have not completed required English as a Second Language courses should not register for the EWT.

Non-engineering students who wish to register for ENCS 282 must also fulfill the writing skills requirement before registering for this course.

Please note: Students cannot register for 400 level courses until all 200 level courses are completed, as per Faculty policy.

The EWT is a 90-minute diagnostic test that is offered several times per year. The test assesses a student’s ability to analyze and evaluate complex arguments. It consists of two sections: the first section is a two-paragraph written analysis of an article, which must demonstrate understanding of the author’s thesis and argumentation. The second section consists of several questions referring to a graph, chart, or diagram, and tests students’ ability to interpret visual data critically.

Part One

You will be given an article or essay of approximately 1,000 words, which you will then analyze in a two-paragraph composition. In the first paragraph you will identify the author’s thesis, i.e. the main claim that the author makes in the article. You will then state some of the key points that the author uses to support their claim. In the second paragraph, you will explain how the author uses the evidence that you have previously identified to support their thesis, and then end the paragraph with a brief conclusion. Each paragraph should be approximately five to eight sentences long.

To practice for this section of the test, read an article from a newspaper or magazine, such as an editorial column or an opinion piece. Then write a paragraph that introduces the topic of the article and explains the author's opinion and key arguments in your own words. Finally, write a second paragraph that explains how the author tries to convince the reader of their claim. You may find the following resources useful:

Part Two

In this section, you will be asked to interpret and write about data presented in the form of a pie chart, bar graph, line graph or diagram. You will answer several questions about the data in two or three sentences each.

To prepare for this section, find a graph or chart in a newspaper, magazine or online. Consider the information that the graph provides. What trends does it demonstrate? To whom is this graph important and why? What conclusions can be drawn from the graph? What kind of decisions might be made on the basis of the information contained in the graph?

The EWT is offered several times per year, generally near the beginning and the end of every semester. Upcoming test dates are posted on the EWT registration portal, as well as on the information board in the Centre for Engineering in Society, near EV 2.249.

You must register in advance to take the test.

If you are a current Gina Cody School undergraduate student, you may register yourself on the EWT website. Use your ENCS account and password to log in and register. From outside Concordia, you must use VPN/MFA to access this app.

If you are not a current Gina Cody School undergraduate student, or if you any difficulties registering for the test, you should contact the test coordinator to register. Please see the test coordinator’s contact information on the lower right-hand side of this page.

Once you register for an EWT session, you must take the test. Unexcused absences count as failed attempts. If you have a valid reason for not attending the test after you have registered, you must contact the test coordinator before the date of the test to cancel your registration.

The results of the EWT are posted within one week of the test. You will find the results online in the registration portal, and also posted on the information board in the Centre for Engineering in Society, near EV 2.249.

If you pass the EWT, your results will be transmitted to Student Academic Services and you will be released to register for ENCS 282.

If you fail the EWT, you may attempt the test a second time, or you may choose to enroll in ENCS 272. After two failed attempts, students will be blocked from further registration into the EWT and will have to take ENCS 272 in order to fulfill the writing skills requirement.

Bring your student ID card to the test, as well as several pens. Please note that you may NOT bring the following into the EWT:

  • Dictionaries
  • Phones
  • Calculators
  • Other electronic devices

In most cases, graduate students do not need to take the EWT. However, if you have completed the Concordia University Continuing Education Language Institute (CELI) Intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) program and are seeking admission into the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, you may be required to take the EWT. The EWT determines placement in the appropriate graduate writing course in the School.

After you have successfully completed Advanced 2 level of the CELI Intensive ESL program with a minimum final grade of 72%, you may take the EWT. Contact the EWT coordinator to register for an upcoming EWT exam. Graduate students are NOT able to register for the EWT via the online portal.

From outside Concordia, you must use the VPN/MFA to access this app.

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