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The WPE

Samantha Higgins

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We’re all required to take the WPE to graduate. For those of you who don’t know, that’s the Writing Proficiency Examination. If you ask me, it’s more like a Waste of Precious Energy.

sammi higgins bw

We all have to take English classes as part of our core requirements, so why are we then required to take an exam that brings bad flashbacks of the SATs? Prepping, pre-reading, going to a classroom where you have to bring your ID, put all electronics up front or otherwise risk instant failure, sign in and then sit there for what feels like forever while everyone else signs in and that’s all before you even get handed the prompt you need to answer. Friends who have taken it bombard you with “help” and tips that really just make you anxious and nervous like, “don’t forget a title or you fail automatically” or “write like a fifth grader, don’t use commas” and “read it ahead of time and take notes.”

By the time you are handed the prompt, you are literally reliving bad high school memories of standardized tests and sitting there terrified of failing and having to do it all over again. I’m not one to bad mouth a decision of UNH—if you’ve read my previous articles you know I am pro-UNH in all aspects—but I just see this test as a complete and total waste of time and energy. And who even reads these tests? Who has to sit there for hours and try to decipher thousands of those every year and decide if the student needs to go through that stress again?

Right before they hand out the prompt, they tell you that you are allowed to have more than one blue book if you need it, but I can barely fill two pages half the time; I can’t imagine filling two of those horrid blue books. Then they tell you that if you are a senior and you fail there is a WPE prep class on reading day, because they don’t want this to be what holds you back from graduation. I’m sorry, but this made my jaw drop. What on earth is a prep class on reading day going to do to help? Do they take it again during finals? And if so, that is even more stressful than anything else I can imagine. And are they graded faster? And are you really held back on account of failing the WPE? How long will you be held back because of failing the WPE? I feel like I was left with way more questions after this experience than ever before.

After this experience, I recommend that you all get on this early. Take your WPE as soon as you can, get ahead of the stress so you don’t have to take it on reading day of senior year because that just sounds terrifying to me. Trust me, the whole thing is long, stressful, tedious and annoying. You want to get it over with now.

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The WPE