English 1500 Test-Out

Contact Information

Deanna Stumbo
Department of English

You May Not Register If You

  • have previously taken or been enrolled in an English 150/1500 class.
  • have previously taken the Iowa State University 150 test-out. University policy states that students may attempt a test-out for a course only once.
  • are not officially enrolled at Iowa State University during the semester the 1500 test-out is being offered.
  • have credit for English 250/2500. We do not allow students to take the English 1500 test-out when their credits show they are already beyond that course level.

NOTE:  You may be enrolled in English 1500 when you take the exam. If you are enrolled in 1500 and pass the exam, you will be given an administrative drop by your respective college.

The Test

We recommend that test takers have experience with

  • organizing their writing using clear paragraphs and transitions
  • reflecting on their own writing processes, strengths, and areas for growth
  • adapting their writing to specific purposes and audiences

You will read a prose selection of 600-1000 words. Then you will write a response essay about the selection and complete a survey.

You will take the exam at an ISU Test Center lab.


If you need accommodated testing arrangements, contact Student Accessibility Services to request a Notification Letter. The completed Notification Letter must be emailed to stumbo@iastate.edu by no later than noon on Friday, September 6, 2024.

Test Date

The Fall 2024 dates for the 1500 test-out are Monday, September 16 and Tuesday, September 17.

Registration for the Exam

You must complete and submit the English 1500 Test-Out Registration Form — Fall 2024.

Upon receipt of your registration form, you will receive a confirmation email that you are registered and further information on scheduling your exam with the ISU Test Center. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 1-2 business days, contact Deanna Stumbo at stumbo@iastate.edu.

The Fall 2024 registration deadline is noon on Friday, September 6, 2024. A $100 fee will be placed on your university bill. The $100 fee is nonrefundable unless you cancel your registration by sending an email to stumbo@iastate.edu by noon on Friday, September 6, 2024.

Because of resource limitations, registration is limited to 40 students. To increase the likelihood that you can take the test-out, submit your registration form as soon as possible.


The Test-Out Committee evaluates each portion of the exam using the following criteria: context, substance, organization, style, and delivery. All segments of the test-out must receive a satisfactory rating for you to earn T (test-out) credit. You and your advisor will be notified by Monday, September 30, 2024, on whether or not you have earned this T credit. If you receive T credit, it will be posted at the end of the semester in which you took the exam.

In keeping with the ISUComm philosophy of incorporating all the WOVE (written, oral, visual, and electronic) modes of communication, the fundamental principles of effective communication have been summarized into five concepts, the rhetorical pentad, that are used for all forms of assessment including test-out examinations. You will find a brief overview of criteria that are relevant for this written communication-based test below.

Criteria for Evaluation of Written Work

Purpose, Position, Audience

  • Early reader involvement
  • Stated question, problem, or motivation
  • Clear relationship of the writer to the situation

Scope, Depth, Relevance, Fairness

  • Detailed examples
  • Subject suitably narrowed
  • Responsible use of facts and evidence
  • Precise definition of key terminology

Focus, Structure, Relationship, Emphasis

  • Clear thesis
  • Coherent argument transitions that clarify logic and purpose
  • Well-developed, unified, coherent paragraphs
  • Audience-oriented headings

Conventions, Aesthetics, Variety

  • Adherence to usage, punctuation, and grammar conventions
  • Verbal expression suited to the audience and situation
  • Careful proofreading and documenting

Consistency, Engagement, Accessibility, Layering

  • Functional and consistent page layout: headings, typography, paper quality, binding, etc.
  • On or before deadline
  • Within word/space limits