Placement-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University


Advanced Placement Policy

All first year students must take 76-101, Interpretation and Argument. Carnegie Mellon University does not accept any Advanced Placement (AP) score in place of 76-101.

Please note, if you achieved a score of 5 on the AP exam, this can be used as 9 credits for an English elective course. Speak with your advisor for more information. Transfer students who have been granted AP credit from another institution should consult with their advisor. Additionally, if English was not listed as your first language on the Common Application, AP scores may be used to exempt you from taking the placement exam. See the 76-100 Placement Policy below for more information.

Please direct any questions you have about placement to Arianna Garofalo, Coordinator of the First-Year Writing Program, or Dr. Danielle Wetzel, Program Director.

76-100 Placement Policy

All students must take 76-101 during their first year at Carnegie Mellon, but if English is not your primary or native language, you may be required to take 76-100 prior to 76-101. Students who indicated in their admissions materials that they use English, but that English is not their primary or native language, will receive an email and letter in late May or early June, notifying them that they need to take the English placement exam to determine which first-year writing course is the best fit.

Students who receive this email message must take the placement exam before registering for any first-year writing course. (If you meet certain qualifications, you may not be required to take the placement exam. Please refer to the paragraph at the end of this section for more information.)

The exam will be available from May 25 until July 29. Please check with your academic advisor for your college's deadline for completion of the test. If you take the test by 11:59 EDT on June 24, you will receive your placement by July 1. If you take the test by 11:59 EDT July 29, you will receive your placement by August 5.

The exam is located on CMU's Blackboard site. To access the test, please complete the following steps:

1. Go to

2. Enter your CMU ID and password.

3. The exam should be listed under "Courses" as "F16-English Placement Exam." Click on this course link and follow the instructions found there.

Please note: The exam must be completed within 48 hours after you begin. Most students in previous years report spending 5 to 6 hours on the exam, so please plan accordingly.

If you feel you may not be required to take the English placement exam, please email us immediately. We will then email you a set of questions. The answers to these questions will give us the information for determining whether you are required to take the exam. These questions should take less than 10 minutes to answer. You may take 76-101 as your first year English course at CMU without taking the placement exam or answering the email questionnaire if you meet any of the following qualifications:

  • Received a 4 or 5 on the English Language and Composition AP exam
  • Received a 7 on the IB English A exam
  • Received an A on Cambridge International A or AS level exams in English Language, Literature in English, OR Language and Literature in English.

You must provide documentation of these scores to be exempted from the placement exam in order to take 76-101 as your first year English course at CMU. Please send your score report(s) from your Andrew email account to We cannot accept score reports sent from other email accounts.

If you have problems with Carnegie Mellon's Blackboard site, please e-mail For other questions or problems with the online exam, please email us at engfirst@andrew.cmu

To learn more about the First-Year Writing Program, contact  Dr. Danielle Wetzel, Program Director, or Arianna Garofalo, Coordinator of the First-Year Writing Program.

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