Certification/Course Challenge Options

Students have the option of fulfilling certain General Education requirements by showing competency through prior learning or experience. Under these limited circumstances, Written Communication LVWA/B may be fulfilled through certification. Students are required to pay a fee in order to enter the certification process (see “Tuition and Fees” in the catalog). Through certification, students have the additional option of paying the Course Challenge Fee and receiving course credit. Payment for course credit must be completed within one semester or term after completing the certification or no course credit will be given. Students who wish to initiate certification should contact the Writing Program Chair or the Office of Student Accounts for information.

Outside of special circumstances, the Writing Program does not advise students to certify out of the Written Communication LVWA/B general education requirements, given that these writing courses are a prerequisite for upper-division courses in most majors. However, if you feel confident about your argumentation, critical analysis, editing, proofreading, and research citation skills, you may challenge the course through a timed exam.

NOTE: RCS 109 Academic Writing for Multilingual Students may not be completed through certification.


Students who request to “challenge” or certify out of General Education Written Communication requirements (LVWA/LVWB) must follow the following steps:

  1. Go to the Office of Student Accounts (Registrar’s window in Woody Hall, main campus) and fill out the Challenge Exam form. Bring completed form to the Writing Program Chair or  Modern Languages Department Chair (Miller 115) for approval.
  2. Once approved, the student can pay the $50 administrative fee at Student Accounts in Woody Hall and take the receipt of the payment to the Academic Success Center (Student Center, 2nd floor La Verne campus), where the student arranges with ASC to take the certification exam.
  3. ASC administers the certification exam on the appointed day/time.
  4. Exam is evaluated by the Writing Program. Once the exam is scored, the student is sent a notification from the Modern Languages Department with the results of the exam.  A copy of the notification letter is also sent to the Office of the Registrar for the student’s academic file.
  5. Student will be informed of the result of their exam under one of the following three conditions:
  • Student did not score high enough to be certified out of the WRT 110 (LVWA) or WRT 111 (LVWB) requirement.  They must enroll in the appropriate course to meet the prerequisite or General Education requirement.
  • Student did score high enough to have the prerequisite or General Education requirement certified as being met. The Office of the Registrar will designate this requirement met in Banner and file a memo in the student’s file.
  • Student scored high enough to have the General Education requirement met and is eligible to pay the challenge fee of 1 semester hour to receive the 4SH credit. This is optional.  If student does not need additional semester hours they do not need to pay challenge fee.

If Student wants the 4SH they must pay the 1 SH of credit at Student Accounts and complete the Challenge form in the Office of the Registrar.  Student needs to bring their copy of the notification letter from the Writing Program.  Once this process is complete, the Office of the Registrar can now verify the completion of LVWA or LVWB to the student’s academic record.

The Certification Exam for Written Communication A (LVWA) and B (LVWB)

  • You are allotted three hours to complete the exam, which consists of brief passages for critical reading, several short answer questions, and an essay response.
  • You will compose your exam answers and essay on a computer; you may use the dictionary and thesaurus features of Microsoft Word.
  • You will be allowed to consult a handbook provided by the ASC for MLA citation styles.
  • Electronic translators of any kind are not allowed during the exam.

Tips for taking timed essay exams

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides an informative web page.