All students in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science must satisfy the Faculty writing skills requirement. They have two options for fulfilling this requirement. They may take ENCS 272 and pass with a C- or better, or they may take the Engineering Writing Test, or EWT.
The EWT should be taken within the first 30 credits of a student's program, after all required English as a Second Language courses have been completed.
No student is permitted to register for ENCS 282, “Technical Writing and Communication,” unless he or she has fulfilled the Faculty writing skills requirement, either through passing ENCS 272 with a C- or better, or passing the EWT.
Note: ENCS 282 is a required core course for all Engineering students. One cannot register for 400 level courses until all 200 level courses are completed, as per the Faculty policy.
The EWT consists of two parts: a two-paragraph composition and answers to questions regarding a graph.
You will be given an essay of approximately 1,000 words discussing a technical issue for a lay audience. In the first paragraph you will state the writer's thesis, or key points, and then clearly indicate your opinion. In the second paragraph you will expand upon your position and provide the reader with evidence, or reasons, that support your position. Each paragraph should be between five and seven sentences long. You will end the second paragraph with a brief conclusion statement.
To practice for this section of the test, read an article from a newspaper or magazine, such as an editorial column or an opinion piece. Then write a paragraph that introduces the topic of the article and explains the author's opinion and key points in your own words. Then state your opinion about the author's argument, and support your position with evidence from the article, your own experience, and other sources.
In this section, you will be asked to interpret and write about data presented in the form of a pie chart, bar graph, line graph or diagram. You will be asked to answer several questions about the data with two or three sentences each.
To prepare for this section, find a bar graph or pie chart in a newspaper, magazine or on the internet. Consider what information is provided by the graph. To whom is this graph important and why? What conclusions can be drawn from the graph? What trends does it demonstrate? What kind of decisions might be made on the basis of the information contained in the graph?