Due to COVID-19, the EDT is being offered online during Fall 2020.

To see the scheduled dates for the exams and to register online, please check the English Diagnostic Test page, where you’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions.

When writing the EDT, you will be given four questions and you will choose one of them to answer in essay form. Your essay should be 300–500 words long (roughly 4 to 6 paragraphs).

No special preparation is required before writing the EDT. However, if you want to feel confident in your essay-writing skills before entering the exam, you’re welcome to write a practice test and email it to the Writing Centre instructors at writingcentreonline@capilanou.ca (you will receive feedback within one business day).

Check out the Writing Centre for a description of the online services we provide.

In the exam, you will want to choose the question that you think you can write about the most effectively.

Your EDT will be evaluated for the quality of your thesis statement and the development of your essay.

A variety of elements, ranging from writing mechanics to creativity, will be factored into the placement results.

Structurally, you should aim to include these main elements in your essay: 

  1. An introduction, which highlights the main focus of your essay and conveys why it is an important topic to consider. Try to avoid generalizations (e.g., “In all of human history” or “As technology progresses”), aiming instead to get right to your point.
  2. Within the introduction, a thesis statement that encapsulates the main claim or position of your paper.
  3. Approximately 2–4 body paragraphs, in which you back up your thesis with the main subpoints of your essay.
  4. Each body paragraph should begin with a strong topic sentence, which identifies the main focus of the paragraph.
  5. Within the body paragraphs, you should also back up your points with examples and supporting details. Try to be specific!
  6. A conclusion, which reinforces the main points of your essay in new words. Rather than using exact repetition, endeavour to frame your thesis and its significance in a new way. 

Please check out these Writing Centre handouts that offer guidelines on important elements of essay writing, including crafting a strong thesis statement and developing your introduction and conclusion.


  1. Write an essay that states under what circumstances a physician should have the right to assist in the suicide of a terminally ill patient who is expected to live less than six months and who requests such assistance.
  2. Television is educational. AGREE OR DISAGREE.
  3. Post-secondary students should alternate study time with time spent in the work force. AGREE OR DISAGREE. 
  4. Write an essay that contrasts the quality of your life with either your parents’ or your grandparents’.
  5. What makes a good teacher?
  6. Physical education should be considered an option in high school. AGREE OR DISAGREE.
  7. How has the growth of the Internet changed your life?


Have questions?

Writing Centre

604 984 4956 , ext. 4956
Library Building, room LB126

Please note the new location.