The CUNY/ACT Writing Exam is a 60-minute test that measures your ability to write a college-level essay. The ACT Writing Exam serves as an English and ESL placement test for entering freshmen and transfer students and as an exit test for those students placed in a remedial or developmental English class. Students must pass the test before enrolling in English 1302, Hostos’ required Expository Writing course. The minimum score for passing the ACT writing exam is a seven.


  • FOR INITIAL PLACEMENT: Entering students are exempt from the writing tests if they achieve a score of 480 or above on the verbal part of the SAT, 20 or above on the ACT, or 75 or above on the English Language Arts Regents. Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in the United States may be exempt from testing. All other entering freshmen must take the ACT writing exam. Transfer students from a college outside of the CUNY system must also take the exam. CUNY transfer students take the exam at their original campus and must have their placement test results transmitted to the Office of Student Assessment.
  • FOR EXITING FROM REMEDIAL OR DEVELOPMENTAL ENGLISH AND ESL COURSES: After successful completion of course work in remedial or developmental English, students are tested again on another version of the ACT writing test. In order to get a grade and pass a remedial or developmental course, students must pass the ACT writing test.
  • FOR GRADUATION: All students, except those meeting the exemptions described above, are required to pass the ACT writing test in order to graduate.

The ACT writing test is given at the end of each semester to all students enrolled in English 1300 or English 1301. Students enrolled in the upper level ESL classes who have been recommended by their professors can also take the test at the end of the semester. In addition, the Hostos Academic Learning Center typically offers workshops in January and during the summer. The ACT Writing Test is given at the end of the workshop cycle to students enrolled in the workshop who have been recommended for the test.

Entering freshmen and transfer students take the test in the semester prior to their initial registration at Hostos. Entering students will receive a letter inviting them to come for placement testing. The results of the ACT Writing Test and the other placement tests are used to place students in appropriate courses. Entering students receive their test results and placements when they come for registration. All entering students must take the three CUNY skills tests (unless exempt) before they are allowed to register.

Entering freshmen and transfer students who fail the ACT placement test will be required to take remedial or developmental English courses or ESL courses to strengthen their English language proficiency. Students who fail the test at the end of their remedial or developmental English course may take a workshop at the Hostos Academic Learning Center and may re-enroll in the English course up to two more times. Students are required to re-take the course or participate in a workshop before being allowed to re-take the test.


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