Composition Program older placements and English 3 description for Fall 2019/Spring 2020 and earlier

All Saint Mary’s first-year students (except those enrolled in the Integral Program) take an English composition course during their first semester at the college.

Note: The Information below is for reference for students who started at Saint Mary's in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 or earlier. New incoming students for Fall 2020/Spring 2021 please refer back to the Composition Webpage (click here).


Any incoming students for Spring Semester 2020 may take the exam if they do not fulfill any of the requirements below.


The Composition Program uses scores from the SAT Essay, ACT Writing, AP Language, AP Literature, and IB English (HL) Exams to place incoming students into the appropriate English composition course. For those students who do not have a score from one of the aforementioned exams, the Composition Program offers the Online Writing Placement Exam. [Click here to go to exam page 2019-2020].

NOTE: All incoming international students are required to take the Online Writing Placement Exam. The results of the Online Writing Placement Exam are used solely for placement purposes; scores are not recorded on transcripts or academic records.

Students seeking accommodations under the American Disabilities Act should contact Student Disability Services (, 925-631-4358) to make appropriate arrangements for testing.
Completion of both English 4 and 5 is required for graduation and is typically completed during the first year of college. For some students, completion of English 3 will be a prerequisite for English 4.

If you have concerns about your placement or questions about the Online Writing Placement Exam, please contact the Director of Composition, at


NOTE: This description is here for historical/informational purposes only as this class is no longer offered and would only be available to students who started at Saint Mary's in the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 school year.

English 3 (Practice in Writing) is designed to enable students to bridge the gap between their present level of writing competency and that expected of students entering English 4.  Students focus on developing and organizing ideas, constructing complex sentences, and enhancing proofreading and editing skills.  Enrollment in each section is limited to 10 to allow individualized instruction.