What you need to know

The first step in completing the Communication Requirement (CR) is to take the Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE), offered online in June and July. The test measures your writing proficiency and provides you and your advisor with a detailed assessment that will determine what type of CI‑H subject you must register for during your first year at MIT.

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."

Some key things to remember:

  • Taking the FEE online in June or July means that you will have extra time to review the required readings and revise your essays. You will also receive detailed feedback on your writing.
  • A “pencil and paper” make-up exam and the English Diagnostic Review (EDR) for students whose first language is not English are available on campus during Orientation.
  • Learn more about the FEE.

Understanding your FEE results

CI-H/CI-HW Required

  • 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.

21G.222 Expository Writing for Bilingual Students Required

  • You must take 21G.222 as your first CI subject. It provides you with a foundation in communication for your other MIT subjects. You will not receive CI credit for any other subject until you pass 21G.222.

21G.220 Workshop in Written Expression (ELS) required

  • We strongly recommend that you register for 21G.220. While it does not carry CI credit, 21G.220 is a HASS-H subject and will count toward your HASS Requirement. With this result, you are also required to take 21G.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 21G.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

FEE exemptions

  • 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 commreq@mit.edu and ap@mit.edu to verify your placement.