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What Is WGU's Readiness Assessment Like?

Mandy is a mom of four and a longtime volleyball enthusiast and coach. Mandy's other interests include parenting, teaching, and literature.

What to expect when taking the WGU Readiness Assessment.

What to expect when taking the WGU Readiness Assessment.

What is WGU?

WGU stands for Western Governor's University. It is a Nationally and Regionally Accredited Non-Profit Private Online University that was founded in 1997 by 19 United States Governors to increase access to higher education to working adults. The University uses Competency-based learning for students to complete degree and certificate programs, allowing adults to work and learn at their own pace. There are four main colleges at WGU where you can earn Bachelor's and Master's Degrees. The College of Business, College of Information Technology, College of Health Professions and the Teacher's College. WGU is the ONLY online university to be accredited by the NCATE.

The admissions process is geared towards adults and most come into the college with SOME previous college experience. To gain admission to WGU you must apply, supply transcripts of prior college work, take a Readiness Assessment and have a phone interview with an Enrollment Counselor.

What is the Western Governor's Unveristy Readiness Assessment Like?

The Readiness Assessment is WGU's entrance exam. It's a timed online assessment. Once your application for admission is received you will get an email with the web address for the test. The website recommends that you set aside two hours to complete the exam. It is not proctored and I don't know if there is anything preventing you from "cheating" but then again, I don't see that cheating would be to your benefit. If you do not pass the Readiness Exam either you were severely distracted or you need to review some basic concepts before attending college. The exam basically checks to determine if you have the tools available to you to be successful in college like a 10th-grade level understanding of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

The exam took me almost exactly two hours. The exam came in four parts. I will report on them in the order that I took them.

The Admissions Inventory

I took this one first because my husband was still trying to get the kids into bed and they were being noisy and I wanted to start with something where I didn't really need to think. This section took me about 20 minutes. I read each question twice (as I do every question on an exam). Most questions were Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree and the questions were geared mostly to discover what kind of learner you are.

To be a successful Online Education student you are going to need to be self-motivated. You are going to need to realize that you need to invest a significant amount of your time to your classes and you are going to need to be the kind of person who can do their own research and guide themselves through the material that is to be learned. This is why this University is geared towards adult professionals and not kids out of high school. Adult professionals are more used to working and learning independently. The Admissions Inventory is there to find out if you are a person who will succeed at WGU.

It also asks if you have a computer, if you have a reliable broadband Internet connection, if you know how to use a computer, and how many hours a week you plan to spend on your education (You need to expect to spend at least 15 hrs a week, 20 being better).

I suggest answering these questions honestly. If WGU isn't a good fit for you it doesn't do anyone any good for you to pretend like it is. If you can't pass this part of the test honestly, then you need to find a brick and mortar school for your education.

The Language Test

The next part of the WGU Readiness assessment that I took was the Language test. This one took me about 30 minutes. The nice thing about the Language and the Math assessments is that there is a little checkbox at the bottom that you can check to "review later". The questions that you marked to "review later" will have an asterisk by them when you get to the "review your answers" page. At this point, you can go back and check your answers.

For the most part, I found the Language assessment to be pretty simple. There are several questions where you read the passage and answer the question. Make sure to read the question twice. I noticed a couple of times where the question was asking for something different than I expected it to and had I not re-read the question, I might have gotten it incorrect. There are also questions on grammar, proper pronoun usage, when to use pronouns and when to use the proper nouns, active and passive voice (wish I had reviewed this) and several other basic English Language concepts. The question I spent the MOST time on was the sequencing question. It gave six sentences and asked you to put them in an order that makes sense. I don't think I would have found this difficult if t had not been for the fact that my sequence was in order when I read it and I kept reading it over and over to see if I could find a different order to put it in, but I couldn't. So sentence one wound up being the first in order, and two the second and so on. I probably spent 15 minutes on this question. It didn't seem right.

That was really the only question I struggled with. I wasn't expecting the test to be hard, at all, based on what I had read on the test, but it was slightly harder than I had anticipated. I would go into the test carefully, reading each question twice, and do not expect it to be a breeze.

The Math Test

The math test took me about 17 minutes and I found it to be the easiest test of them all. I am a natural at math. I haven't taken a math class since high school, but I did take Trigonometry, Calculus, Physics (which was mostly math) and Advanced Algebra, so I have a strong math background, even if I have mostly forgotten it all. While at the local University I tested out of College Algebra, my only required math course, but there were still a lot of things that I needed to kind of "refresh" in my mind while taking the test.

To pass this test make sure you know how to do the following:

  • How to take a fraction and turn it into a whole number or decimal.
  • Use the Order of Operations. I learned it as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" meaning Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction. If you do not do the problems in the right order, you will not get the right answer.
  • Know how to find the "absolute value" of any given number. (very simple, but something easily forgotten)
  • Know how to find basic probability
  • Know how to recognize which corresponding line graph goes with a particular algebraic equation.

It sounds simple enough, and it is. I know I passed mine with flying colors, and I would be surprised if I got even one of them wrong, but I know that not everyone has the math background I do. If you review what I highlighted above though, you should be fine.

The Essay Section

I took the Essay section last. At this point, everyone in the house was sleeping and I could really concentrate. This section took me almost exactly one hour.

The test says that your essay should be between 200 and 800 words. It will not pass if it is less than 200 or greater than 800. A word counter is supplied for you. It also said it should be grammatically correct and have balanced paragraphs. You will not pass if the paragraphs are not balanced.

The test suggested writing it first in a word processor and copying over to the exam page. I did this. I used Microsoft Word and when I was finished I ran the spelling/grammar checker. It found words that were mistyped and spelled incorrectly, it also found a couple of passive voice sections, a place where I should have used a noun instead of a pronoun and two punctuation errors. I highly suggest running your essay through a word processor before submitting!

My question was a simple one. A basic, What do you think... Why? Use as many details as you need to support your argument.

When writing an essay I always use an outline. Sometimes it's in my head, but for this high-stakes test, I wrote it out.

This gives you a good idea on how I used my outline for this essay:

I. Introduction (paragraph one)- attention grabber and highlight the information that will be provided.

II. Body

A. Main point one is first sentence (paragraph 2) - Use three or four more sentences to back up with specific examples/facts.

B. Main point two is first sentence (paragraph 3) - Use three or four more sentences to back up with specific examples/facts.

C. Main point three is first sentence (paragraph 4) - Use three or four more sentences to back up with specific examples/facts.

III. Conclusion (Paragraph 5) - Reiterate what you have just expressed in the body, then bring it back to the attention grabber in the introduction.

Thanks to writing online articles, I have gotten familiar with what word counts look like, so I knew I had to be concise. Otherwise, I probably would have gone way over with my word count. Each of my paragraphs was 4-5 sentences long.

In the end, my essay was 762 words. Because of this short length, I didn't feel that I had given them my best writing, but what I did write was coherent, to the point, and easy to follow. I think that is what they look for more than content. There is a LOT of paper writing in college and I think they just want to know if you can write coherently.

I found the Essay Section of the WGU Readiness assessment to be the most difficult section because it was time consuming and frustrating due to the limitations imposed.

The Result

The result of all of this is that I did pass all four sections of my WGU Readiness Assessment. I found out via an email sent to me about two hours later. I did read online that some people have waited as much as a week to get their results. Perhaps they have improved their scoring system since then, or perhaps I just got lucky in getting my results so quickly.

IF you do not pass on your first attempt (although if you are reading this, I bet you will!) do not despair. You can retake the examination in a few months!

Now that I've completed and passed my Readiness Assessment, I am one step closer to being Admitted to WGU. I'm very excited! The sooner I get started, the better!

(Note: I have heard that they no longer send you an email with your results. I believe they now will share your results with you over the phone.)


Art on August 30, 2019:

In the essay writing, what do you mean by a balanced paragraph? Balance in size or argumentative?

Mike on August 25, 2019:

I may have to take this test but I'm wrestling with the school on not taking it since I have my A.A.S and its recognized by WGU and WGU accepted my transferable credits if I do have to take it I will report back what the test was like also Mandy thanks for these great tips.

Destany on August 23, 2019:

Thank you for the tips, wasn't sure what to expect and now I have a better idea! I am glad I read this before taking the test, I'll be taking it this weekend, wish me luck!

Daniel on June 22, 2019:

I just took this exam and can confirm that what she listed is still what you should brush up on. Hope this helps, and hope I passed!

Beth Lapp on June 21, 2019:

I am wondering if you had to write your Essay in APA format. My enrollment counselor is telling me I must do this. Did you include a title and reference page, or just type the main essay section?

STEVEN on January 30, 2019:


Cathy Barbarita on May 15, 2018:

Thank you for the information. I am planning on taking the assessment this weekend and was wondering does it need to be taken in one session or can I complete each section at a different time.

It has been over 25 years since I have been in school so I am slightly nervous.

Leilani, are you are recent graduate?

Thank you

Leilani on April 29, 2018:

Thanks very much for your tips. I passed the assessment on my first try. Thanks! :)

P. on February 12, 2018:

Hi Mandy, I wished I had read your article before taking this assessment, but I will be better prepared the next time. Thank you for taking time to help those of us who have been out of school for a very long time.

Amber on February 07, 2018:

Thank you for writing this! I graduated HS 21 years ago and did a few years of college after. This test is making me more nervous than anything! Now I feel I won't be do it blind.

Misty on July 20, 2017:

Thank you for taking the time to write this. It is very valuable for someone who hasn't been in school for 16 years & nervous to take the test. I'm going to study what you have stated & take the exam in a few days. I wish you all the luck in your adventure. You sound like a very educated person so I'm sure you will be done soon.

Need help on May 29, 2017:

Hello, first and foremost I want to thank you for all this helpful information. I have a question regarding the assessments, do you have to take all the test at one time once you start or are you able to take one, one day and another the next day?

LuckyMeli28 on May 08, 2017:

How many questions does each section have?

Elizabeth on May 01, 2017:

I am so very thankful that you were so considerate enough to post these details online. I now have a better idea of what to expect on the entrance exam. I hope WGU hasn't changed the test much since your post, but I am still much more confident now. I looked everything up that you listed and it is VERY simple. Thank you again. I wonder how your journey has went for you at WGU since your post.

Monique on February 21, 2017: are AWESOME for posting this very helpful information!! Thank you so VERY VERY much. I was stressing trying to figure out what to study for or what to expect and you answered all my questions. Thank you and I wish you nothing but the best on your Journey back to school!!!!

Ahsley on January 18, 2017:

They can waive this if you already have a degree...

Jessica on December 13, 2016:

Is there a science section?

Maggie on August 26, 2016:

I took my enterance assessment Wednesday evening, still no word.

Didn't take it seriously the first time or I was just in a rush to get everything done. It took them almost a week to tell me I didn't pass.

The most aggravating aspect of this process is the lack of feedback in a reasonable amount of time.

Crossing my fingers that I can get on with the next thing on the list.

Wes on August 14, 2016:

Thank you for sharing this! I am going to be taking the exam in about an hour. This post has been very helpful in bolstering my confidence leading into taking it. I do wonder, though, how your WGU experience has turned out? Which degree were you going for, have you completed obtaining your degree, and, if so, how long did it take you?

Stephanie on August 08, 2016:

And also, if their any geometry, and what type of geometry?

Thank you!

Stephanie on August 08, 2016:

Hey to the people who've recently taken this test.

Could you tell me if it's still the same things you need to know as the person above listed?

Thank you!

Jared on June 21, 2016:

This has been very helpful! Thanks you so much :)

Karen on May 14, 2016:

Thank you for sharing your experience! Greatly appreciate it!

elijah on February 20, 2016:

just finished my exam about two hours. i wish they would send an email since its saturday....anxiously waiting for my results

red on January 12, 2015:

I just completed it. It seemed a little scary but I studied up on what was posted here and it seemed to help. Waiting for my results so no telling how I did yet.

Jordo on January 12, 2015:

Thank you for the heads up on the test. This is exactly what I wanted to see/read prior to taking the test.

Royalty on December 31, 2014:

Thank you very much for this post.

Steve on October 14, 2014:

Thank you for posting this. It is very helpful.

Lisa on April 15, 2014:

Thank you! I took the assessment in December, and your info was invaluable!

Emily on March 06, 2014:

Thank you so much for this! I will be taking the test very soon and I am just nervous because I have been out of school for 10 years. I am going to study up on everything you listed! Thank you again!!!!

Ke'Asha on February 21, 2014:

I'll be taking the exam soon. Thanks for this article, I really need to refresh myself on the math section. I haven't taken a math course in about 3 years. If you don't mind me asking, what are you planning to major in?

Jake on January 16, 2014:

Thanks for the tips! I'm taking the exam here in a few. I hope I hear back from them as quickly as you did!

Li on September 24, 2013:

Thanks for your tips! I just finished the exam. Wish me luck!

Ryan on September 24, 2013:

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Vince on September 10, 2013:

Thank you for the information! I will be taking the exam within a few days.

Curious on September 07, 2012:

Thank you!

Mandy M S (author) on September 06, 2012:

Yes, you can take the 4 parts of the exam in any order you choose, which is very nice.

Curious on September 06, 2012:

So you can select the specific section in the order you want to take the exam?