English 250 Test-Out Information

Test Date

The next 250 Test-Out Exam will be offered Saturday, August 26, 2017. Students registered for the exam should arrive at 8:30 a.m. in 124 Ross Hall for check-in.

The 250 Test-Out Exam is offered only twice a year on the first Saturday of the fall and spring semesters.


Although any ISU student may take the English 250 Test-Out Exam, it is strongly recommended that he/she meet at least one of the following criteria:

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


  • If you have previously taken or been enrolled in an English 250 class, you cannot register for the 250 Test-Out.
  • First-Year Honors Program (FHP) students no longer have the 250 Test-Out option.  The University Honors Committee voted to return to the no test-out option.

In addition, students should have experience with:

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

Students may be enrolled in English 250 when they take the exam. If the student is enrolled in 250 and passes the exam, the student will be given an administrative drop by the respective college.

The Test

Analysis and Argumentation (written). Students will read a prose selection of 16-18 typewritten pages. They will then write one essay (rhetorical analysis) about the selection and one essay (argumentative) related to the selection. Students will compose their essays on computers in a Ross Hall computer lab. Three hours will be allowed for the exam.


If you are asking for accommodated testing arrangements, please contact Student Disability Resources, 1076 Student Services Building, phone 515-294-7220 to schedule a meeting and request a SAAR (Student Academic Accommodation Request form).  The completed SAAR and registration forms must be dropped off at the Student Counseling Service receptionist desk, Student Services Building, 3rd floor by no later than noon on the Wednesday before the test.  

Suggested Preparation

This test-out is intended to test the communication skills that students already possess, specifically in rhetorical analysis and argument. If students wish to review, they may consult the following sources:

  • For all areas of the test-out: ISUComm Foundation Courses: Student Guide for English 150 and 250, which you can purchase at the University Book Store.
  • For the rhetorical analysis and argumentative essay: Everything’s an Argument, 7th edition by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, Bedford/St. Martin’s (on reserve at the ISU Parks Library)

Click on the following links for study material for the Test-Out Exam:

Registration for the Exam

Students must register with the Testing Office. The Fall 2017 registration deadline is noon on Wednesday, August 23. Absolutely no late registrations will be accepted. A $100, non-refundable fee will be placed on the student’s university bill after the student has taken the exam.  Please keep in mind that the $100 fee is non-refundable, unless you cancel your registration by sending an email to scstesting@iastate.edu by Wednesday noon before the exam.

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.

Upon receipt of your registration form, you will receive a confirmation email that you are registered.  If you are not among the first 40 students to register, you will receive an email indicating that you will not be able to take the Fall 2017 test-out but will have the option to take the Spring test-out that will be offered January 2018.

Please Note:  If you do not receive a confirmation email reply within 24 hours, please call the SCS Testing office at 515-294-0154 and leave a message.

What to Bring to the Exam

Student ID, dictionary, and pens/pencils. No notes, flash drives or other computer equipment, or backpacks.


The Test-Out Committee evaluates each portion of the English 250 Test-Out 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 a student to earn “T” (test-out) credit. Students will be notified in approximately six weeks after the test date by email whether or not they have earned this “T” credit. If a student receives “T” credit, it will be posted at the end of the semester in which the student took the exam.

Students exempted from English 150 who pass the English 250 Test-Out will earn 3 “T” credits for English 150 in addition to the 3 “T” credits earned for the English 250 Test-Out.

There is no appeal process for the ENGL 250 Test-Out Exam result. Once your result is sent to you, your exam will have been read by a minimum of two professors of English. There is no further action to be taken in the ENGL 250 Test-Out Exam process.

Contact Information

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