What you need to know
The first step in completing the Communication Requirement (CR) is to take the First-year Essay Evaluation (FEE), offered online in June and July. The test measures your writing proficiency and determines what type of CI‑H subject you must register for during your first year at MIT. You and your advisor will also receive detailed feedback on your writing to help you prepare for your MIT career.
Some key points to remember:
- In order to place you in the kind of subject that will provide a strong foundation in expository writing, your FEE should be completed without the aid of generative AI programs such as ChatGPT or Bard.
- Students are strongly encouraged to take the FEE during the summer before their first term, as results affect registration choices.
- If you do not take the FEE and have not submitted an AP or IB score exempting yourself from the test (see exemptions below), you will automatically be placed into "CI‑HW (Writing Subject) Required."
- If you are a non-native English speaker or if not all of your schooling (ages six through high school) was in English, you should take the FEE online in June or July.
Understanding your FEE results
- You may take any CI‑H or CI‑HW in either semester of your first year.
CI-HW (Writing Subject) Required
- You must take one of the Expository Writing subjects designated as CI‑HW in either semester of your first year in order to develop foundational writing skills and prepare you for your next CI subjects. You will not receive CI credit for any other subject until you pass a CI‑HW. Your CI‑HW subject will count as one of your two CI‑H subjects.
21W.222 Expository Writing for Bilingual Students Required
- You must take 21W.222 as your first CI subject. It provides you with a foundation in communication and conventions of academic writing in American universities for your other MIT subjects. You will not receive CI credit for any other subject until you pass 21W.222.
- Non-native English speakers who take the FEE over the summer and are required to take 21W.222 based on their FEE results will be prioritized for registration in this subject.
21W.220 Workshop in Written Expression (ELS) required
- We strongly recommend that you register for 21W.220. While it does not carry CI credit, 21W.220 is a HASS-H subject and will count toward your HASS Requirement. With this result, you are also required to take 21W.222 Expository Writing for Bilingual Students (listed above) as your first CI‑HW subject. You will not receive credit for any other CI‑H subject until you complete 21W.222.
“For students who are CI-HW Required upon arriving at MIT: If your first CI-H subject were a standard CI-H, then your background in writing would not prepare you to engage with the content of the subject. You will be better placed to engage with the content of your second CI-H subject by first taking a subject whose primary focus is writing, than by first taking a standard CI-H subject.”The Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement
- If you scored a 5 on one of the Advanced Placement English Tests (English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition), you are exempt from the FEE. Request that the College Board submit your AP scores to MIT.
- If you scored a 7 on the English A or B Higher-Level International Baccalaureate (IB) exam, you are also exempt from the FEE. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to verify your placement.