English 250 Test-Out

Contact Information

Deanna Stumbo
Foundation Courses Office
229 Ross Hall
(515) 294-3516


Registration for the Fall 2019 test-out is closed. 

The Spring 2020 test-out information will be posted soon.

You may not register if:

  • you have previously taken or been enrolled in an English 250 class.
  • you have previously taken the ISU 250 test-out. University policy states that students may attempt a test-out for a course only once.
  • you are not officially enrolled at ISU for the semester the 250 test-out is being offered.
  • you are a First-Year Honors Program (FHP) student. The University Honors Committee voted to return to the no test-out option for FHP students.

NOTE:  You may be enrolled in English 250 when you take the exam. If you are enrolled in 250 and pass the exam, you will be given an administrative drop by your respective college.

The Test

Although any ISU student may take the 250 test-out, it is strongly recommended that you meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • an ACT-E score of 29 or higher
  • an “A” in English 150
  • an exemption from English 150 and a high school rank in the top 5 percent of your graduating class

We recommend test-takers have experience with:

  • rhetorical principles and composing rhetorical analysis of written texts
  • argumentative principles and composing written arguments

You will read a prose selection of 2500-3500 words. Then you will write one rhetorical analysis essay about the selection and one reflective essay.

You will take the exam at the Online Testing Center computer lab, 2552 Gilman, and you will receive a maximum of two hours to complete the exam. When you arrive at the Testing Center, you will need to check-in and tell the check-in staff member you are there to take the English 250 test-out so they can give you access to the exam.

To access the exam at the Online Testing Center computer lab, you will log in to Canvas with your Iowa State NET-ID and your password. You must submit the exam before the end of the two-hour time frame or the lab closing time, whichever comes first.

For further information on the Online Testing Center hours and rules at 2552 Gilman, please go to http://www.testcenter.iastate.edu.


If you are asking for accommodated testing arrangements, please contact Student Accessibility Services (https://sas.dso.iastate.edu/) to request a notification letter. The completed notification letter must be dropped off to Deanna Stumbo, English Department, 229 Ross Hall, by no later than noon on Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

Suggested Preparation

This test is intended to test the communication skills that students already possess, specifically in rhetorical analysis and argument. If you wish to review, you may consult the following source, which can be found on reserve at the ISU Parks Library:

  • ISUComm Foundation Courses: Student Guide for English 150 and 250

Test Date

The Fall 2019 dates for the 250 test-out are Week 2 of the Fall 2019 semester, September 3-6. You are responsible for selecting one of these four dates, September 3-6, to take the exam at the Online Testing Center computer lab, 2552 Gilman, and for allowing a two-hour time frame (the maximum time allowed to take the exam).

Registration for the Exam

You must complete and submit the English 250 Test-Out Registration Form – Fall 2019. Upon receipt of your registration form, you will receive a confirmation email that you are registered. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 1-2 business days, please contact Deanna Stumbo at stumbo@iastate.edu.

The Fall 2019 registration deadline is noon on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. A $100, non-refundable fee will be placed on your university bill. The $100 fee is non-refundable, unless you cancel your registration by sending an email to stumbo@iastate.edu by noon on Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

Because of resource limitations and to provide an optimal testing environment for students, 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.

What to Bring to the Exam

All you need to bring to the exam is your student ID.


The Test-Out Committee evaluates each portion of the exam using the following criteria: context, substance, organization, style, and delivery, explained in the ISUComm Foundation Courses: Student Guide for English 150 and 250. All segments of the test-out must receive a satisfactory rating for you to earn “T” (test-out) credit. You will be notified within six weeks of the exam 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.

If you were exempted from English 150 and pass the English 250 test-out, you will earn 3 “T” credits for English 150 in addition to the 3 “T” credits earned for the English 250 test-out.