Western Kentucky University

English Departmental Exams

Credit by Examination

Credit may be earned at WKU through the following examination programs:

  • the Advanced Placement Program (AP),
  • the American College Testing Program (ACT),
  • the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT),
  • the College Level Examination Program (CLEP),
  • departmental examinations developed by WKU departmental faculty committees.

What is the difference between the CLEP and departmental exams?

CLEP is a national, standardized examination administered through WKU’s Counseling and Testing Center. Students who want to test using the CLEP procedure should contact Counseling and Testing at 270-745-3159. The English departmental exams are created and graded by English Department faculty. Students who wish to take a departmental exam should read on.

Requirements for taking the departmental exam

A student must be fully matriculated, in good standing, and regularly enrolled at WKU. Credits earned in this manner will be recorded on the student’s official transcript but will not be considered as a part of the normal semester load in the term in which the examination is taken.

A student may not register for a departmental examination for a course while he or she is enrolled in that course.

A student may not take a departmental examination for a course that has been previously attempted at WKU or at another accredited institution.



Information about each of the available exams is presented below. All students, however, should note that because this work is intended to gauge relative mastery of the knowledge and skills of a full semester course, credit is not granted for performances that might qualify as a weak pass in the work of an actual section of the course; credit will be granted only for strong work that clearly indicates the examinee has a solid background in the scope of the course. Students are advised to undertake departmental exams only if they have reason to believe they can be successful by virtue of having appropriate background and skill, not merely in vague hopes of avoiding the work of a course.

English departmental exams are administered once each fall, once each spring, and twice each summer (once in late May and once in mid-August). In the fall and spring, the exam is normally administered on the seventh Saturday of the semester. The exams take approximately four-five hours, excluding a one-hour break for lunch, so students should plan for five-six hours from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.


English 100

The English 100 exam consists of five parts:

  • Grammar test (60 minutes)
  • Reading comprehension and summary (40 minutes)
  • Argument and critique (40 minutes)
  • Quoting, paraphrasing, and documentation (MLA or APA style) (40 minutes)
  • A response essay (2 hours)


English 200

The English 200 exam consists of four parts:

  • Literary terms test (30 minutes)
  • Short answer/discussion questions on poetry (30 minutes)
  • Short answer/discussion questions on a short play (1.5 hours)
  • Short essay on short fiction (1.5 hours)


English 300

The English 300 exam has been discontinued.


Steps to register for the departmental exam

Students who wish to attempt credit-by examination for English 100 or 200 should contact the WKU Counseling and Testing Center at 270-745-3159.

Students who have situations not covered by CLEP may contact Dr. Christopher Ervin, Director of Composition in the Department of English.

After approval, students are responsible for registering for the exam with the University Registrar in Potter Hall. Students must register for the exam by the end of the third week of the semester (fall/spring) or by the end of the first week of May or the end of the last week of July for summer exams. The cost of the exam is $75.00 ($25.00 per credit hour), paid to the Registrar.

The Registrar will notify the English department of the student’s request. The student will then receive a confirmation e-mail from the Director of Composition.

After testing has been completed, the Director of Composition will notify the Registrar in writing as to whether or not the student demonstrated acceptable proficiency. If the department recommends that credit be granted, the semester hours earned will be recorded on the official transcript. However, the credit will not be used in computing the grade point average since letter grades will not be assigned.


Important things to remember for the exam day:

Only students who have applied to and have been approved by the Director of Composition to take a departmental exam will be allowed to sit for the exam.

All work is completed in MS Word.

No personal electronic devices will be permitted in the room, including cell phones. The one exception to this is any aid registered through the Office of Student Disability Services. Notification of such accommodations must be made in advance (at least one week prior to the exam).

Students must present ID on exam day.

Dictionaries and documentation handbooks will be provided.


Contact Information

For information about the CLEP (College Level Examination Program), contact WKU’s Counseling and Testing Center at 270-745-3159.

Students who have situations not covered by CLEP may contact Dr. Christopher Ervin, Director of Composition in the Department of English. 


 Last Modified 7/22/13