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What is the CWRTE?

The CWRTE is a two-hour exam that requires students to read an article regarding a familiar topic, answer reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, answer information fluency questions, and write a multi-paragraph essay.

Who must take the CWRTE?

All Thomas University students must take this exam.

What is the format of the CWRTE?

In a two-hour time block, you will read a short article, answer 20 multiple choice questions, and write a multi-paragraph essay.  The entire exam is contained within Blackboard.  You will receive directions for accessing the exam from Blackboard when you arrive at the testing location. 

How will I learn the results of my exam?

The exam will be graded shortly after you take it. You will receive the official results in a letter mailed to the address you provided when you registered for the exam. No scores can be given over the phone.

What happens if I pass the CWRTE?

If you pass the CWRTE, REA 111 and REA 311 are optional elective courses for you.  The credits will contribute to the number of hours you need to graduate, and the skills you develop in the class will greatly help you meet the demands of courses you take in your junior and senior years.

 Since the classes use a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” course grade, the course does NOT contribute to your overall grade point average (GPA). 

What happens if I do not pass the CWRTE?

If you do not pass the CWRTE, you are required to enroll in either REA 111 or REA311, whichever course you and your advisor feel best meets your needs.  At the end of this course you will re-take the CWRTE.  You will not be able to register for courses in the upper division (i.e., your “major”) this semester.

 If you do not pass the CWRTE the second time (after taking REA111 or one semester of REA311), you, your advisor, and the REA111/311 professor will work with you to develop an Action Plan.  This Action Plan can involve an additional semester of REA311, individual or group tutoring, or similar enrichment activities.  After completing this Action Plan, you will re-take the CWRTE. You will not be able to register for courses in the upper division (i.e., your “major”) this semester.

If you do not pass the CWRTE after the third attempt, you will not be eligible to continue taking classes at Thomas University.  Your advisor can help you explore other options for adult education.

How is the exam graded?

Your answers to the multiple choice questions will be graded through Blackboard, just like any college exam.  The CWRTE coordinators are able to double-check Blackboard for accuracy.  The essay will be graded by the Criterion service provided by the national organization, Educational Testing Services.  The CWRTE coordinators and English faculty will corroborate Criterion scoring as needed. 

What are the expectations for the essay portion?

Your essay should demonstrate competent sentence construction, paragraph organization, development of ideas, and documentation of sources (i.e., the exam article).  In particular, your essay should be free of sentence errors (fragments, comma splices, run-ons) as well as free of other grammatical problems such as subject-verb agreement and pronoun agreement. Your organization should reflect a logical order with a clearly stated thesis and main ideas.  Your paragraphs should be unified; that is, every detail should pertain to the idea stated in the topic sentence. Your paragraphs should also be coherent; that is, your sentences should flow smoothly, each idea building logically on the ones that came before it. Show your logic with transitional expressions, repetition of key words, and clear use of pronouns and synonyms.

For additional information on the CWRTE exam, email Carolyn McClenny at

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