A passing score on the test of critical reading and writing skills (CRWS) is required to register for several courses. If a course requires this test, it is noted in the prerequisites of the course description. Most courses have an alternative prerequisite expository writing (EXPO) course that can be taken instead of CRWS. For an explanation of the test, review the test FAQs. Note that if your native language is not English, you must first meet the English proficiency requirement before you can take the CRWS test.
How To Take The Test
- Log in to MyDCE, click the link to Online Services, and select “Take Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills” under “Placement Tests.” If you are a student in need of accommodations, please see “Students with Disabilities” at the bottom of this page for more information.
- Read carefully the page of test information and procedures.
- Select “Begin Test” to take the test immediately, or select “Return to Menu” to take the test at a later time.
You cannot pause or cancel the test once you start it, so take the test when you have strong computer connectivity and are not likely to be interrupted.
When To Take The Test
The test of critical reading and writing skills is available through MyDCE year round between 3 am and 11 pm eastern time. Test scores are posted to your online services account according to the schedule below.
It is best to take the test before registration begins*, as most courses that require CRWS have limited enrollment and fill quickly. You may take the test as far in advance as you wish, but you may take it only once for each term. If your native language is not English, you must first meet the English proficiency requirement before you can take the test.
If your native language is not English, you must first meet the English proficiency requirement before you can take the test. Students who need to take the CRWS must submit documentation for the English proficiency requirement no later than Thursday, May 23, 2024 to ensure a timely review by staff.
Test Schedule for Summer Courses
|Take the test between:
|To have your score available on:
|January 6 and January 25
|January 26 and February 8*
(last test period before registration begins)
|February 9 and March 7
|March 8 and March 28
|March 29 and April 11
|April 12 and May 2*
(last test period before payment deadline)
|May 3 and May 16
|May 17 and June 6
(last test period for summer courses)
Courses That Require The Test
If a course requires a passing score on CRWS for registration, it is noted in the prerequisites of the course description.
Alternatives To The Test
- For BIOS and BIOT courses, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 42c.
- For ECON 1615, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 34 or EXPO 25.
- For ENVR courses, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 42b or 42c.
- For EXPO 25, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 15.
- For HUMA courses, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 42a.
- For JOUR 100, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 42b.
- For MGMT courses, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 34.
- For MUSE courses, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 42a.
- For SSCI 100a and 100b courses, you can earn a grade of B or higher in EXPO 42b.
Counting Alternatives Courses Toward a Degree
Degree program applicants may use the alternative course as a degree requirement with the exception of Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) applicants in the fields of management, sustainability, and global development practice who follow the MITx MicroMasters pathway to admission. These program applicants may complete the alternative course with a grade of B or higher at the undergraduate or graduate level as an alternative to passing the CRWS test, but the course itself does not fulfill any degree requirement.
EXPO 25 Academic Writing and Critical Reading
EXPO 25 earned with a grade of B or higher may also be used as an alternative course for registration for all the above Harvard Extension School ALM proseminars and other courses that require CRWS. This is particularly helpful to current and former Harvard Extension School ALB candidates who wish to continue their graduate studies at Harvard Extension School and enroll in these courses to apply for ALM admission.
Registering For Courses That Require This Test
You can register for courses that require this test if:
- You have a passing score on the test of critical reading and writing skills, or
- You have earned a grade of B or higher in the designated alternative course, or
- You are currently enrolled in the designated alternative course and grades for that course will be posted before the course with the CRWS test prerequisite begins. If you do not earn a grade of B or higher in the alternative course, you will be dropped for a full tuition refund from the course with the CRWS test prerequisite.
Courses that require CRWS may have other prerequisites; see course descriptions for all course prerequisites.
- Any use of outside resources is strictly forbidden.
- All test scores are final and we cannot provide detailed feedback about test scores.
- You may take the test only once for a term (fall, spring, or summer).
- If you pass the CRWS test, you do not have to take the test again to register for any course that requires it. If you do not pass, you will be advised to enroll in a writing course to help improve your critical reading and writing skills before attempting the test again. You can see your course recommendation in your online services account, along with your test score.
- If you do not pass the test after two attempts, you will not be allowed to attempt the test again.
- Many of the courses that require the CRWS test are required admission courses for Harvard Extension School degree programs. You must meet this course prerequisite even if you are not considering an Extension degree program.
You may not use outside resources when taking this test. The answers and writing you submit must be your own. Breaches of academic integrity are referred to the Administrative Board, which may impose sanctions that include indefinite suspension from the Summer School and the Extension School.
Students With Disabilities
Harvard Summer School welcomes students with disabling conditions to participate in all aspects of our academic programming. Students who plan to take this test who have a need for accommodations should contact the Accessibility Services Office by calling (617) 998-9640 or email, to discuss accommodation needs. Please see Accessibility Services for further information.