The Most Common Student Questions and Answers about GWAR and GPE

GWAR Placement Exam (GPE) Waiver

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the CSULB campus will not offer the GPE during Spring 2021.  To avoid roadblocks or delays to graduation, impacted student groups are waived from the exam and allowed to progress to their required Writing Intensive course once they have completed 60 units. This waiver includes undergraduate students who were registered for the cancelled April 2020 GPE

Impacted Students Waived from GPE

  • New transfers for Fall 2020, Spring 2021 as well as returners and returning transfer students
  • Continuing undergraduate students who earned 30 or more units by the end of Winter 2021


Printable Word document version of this page is available.

There are two categories for these questions and answers:

  • A. I have taken the GPE and have a question.
  • B. I need to take the GPE and have a question.

A. I have taken the GPE and have a question.


GWAR is important, so enroll in an open section if at all possible. If your classes conflict, then put your name on the Waitlist in your My CSULB Shopping Cart for the time and section you wish. If you have additional concerns contact GWAR eAdvising by email at

If “Holds” on MyCSULB show “GWAR Requirement,” the registration hold is because you have not taken the GWAR course within the prescribed amount of time. You cannot register for any classes until you have contacted the GWAR Advisor. The advisor can review your situation and release the GWAR registration hold. Please contact GWAR eAdvising by email at

Undergraduate students must take the course within two semesters after taking the GPE test. However, we encourage you to take your GWAR Portfolio course right away so you don’t delay your graduation. Graduate students must take the course the semester following the GPE test.

Yes and No.

  • Yes, English 301B (ENGL 301B) and Fashion Merchandising and Design 450 (FMD 450) section in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences are open to all majors. However, FMD 450 has the following prerequisites: Completion of GE Foundation courses ANTH 120 or SOC 100 or 142, and upper-division standing, or instructor consent.
  • No, most GWAR courses are just for specific majors. If your major offers a GWAR Portfolio course, you should take it because it will focus on helping you to write in your major.
  • The GWAR website has a list of Portfolio classes offered.

Go to MyCSULB to search for English 301A course offerings during the semester you need to enroll. Click on the “Search” tab. Select the “Term” from the pull down menu to find the course availability for the semester of enrollment. Select the “Subject” from the pull down menu, and select the course offering by name, English, and enter the course number 301A. The Search Result will display the course times and availabilities.


B. I need to take the GPE and have a question.


You can register for the GWAR Placement Exam (GPE) online, on the Testing Department's website, with the link below:

Yes, and they are free! GPE workshops are offered by

Go to the Testing Department's Webpage and complete the GPE registration form. Once you click submit, you will be transferred to a page where you can pay.

If “Holds” on MyCSULB show “Prevents Add Activity,” GPE Required, the registration hold is because you have not taken the GPE test. Contact the Testing Office at to resolve this hold. In order to have your hold released, you will need to register for the first upcoming GPE, and contact the Department of Testing & Evaluation to file an “Appeal to have a GWAR Placement Examination Hold Temporarily Removed.”

All undergraduate transfer students from community colleges must take the GPE. If you transfer from another CSU and have passed its GWAR writing requirement, you have satisfied the GWAR at CSULB.

  • All graduate students (M.A., M.S., M.B.A) who have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. university or college, or earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited university from an English speaking country, have satisfied the GWAR at CSULB.
  • List of Approved English Speaking Countries
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Australia
    • Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • Bermuda
    • Botswana
    • Canada
    • Dominica
    • England
    • Fiji
    • Gambia
    • Ghana
    • Grand Cayman Islands
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Jamaica
    • Kenya
    • Ireland and Northern Ireland
    • Liberia
    • New Zealand
    • Lesotho
    • Sierra Leone
    • St. Christopher - Nevis
    • Scotland
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent and Grenadines
    • Saint Kitts
    • Tanzania
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • Swaziland
    • Virgin Islands
    • Wales
    • Uganda
    • Zimbabwe
    • Zambia
  • If you are a graduate student who scored a 4 or higher on the GRE or GMAT, you have satisfied the GWAR at CSULB.
  • Note: graduate students may either attempt the GPE writing placement test during their first semester at CSULB and follow one of the GWAR course pathways, or they may self-place directly into a low- or mid-range GWAR pathway in consultation with their graduate advisor. Students wanting to self-place into a GWAR portfolio course must do so in their first semester at CSULB. If they choose to take the GPE, then self-placement into a GWAR portfolio course is no longer an option. Students must follow the pathway where they place once they receive a GPE score.

  • If you are a Continuing CSULB student, you are required to take the GPE when you have earned between 30 and 50 units.
  • If you are a Transfer student to CSULB, you are urged to take the GPE in the summer prior to your enrollment at CSULB. If you miss the summer GPE, you are then required to take the GPE in your first semester of enrollment.

No, by CSULB policy you can take the GPE only once.