ENG 088 Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I have to take the CUNY/ACT Writing Test?

All students who are accepted to BMCC have to take the CUNY/ACT Writing Test to determine their first English course, except those who:

  • score 480 or higher on the English portion of the SAT, or
  • score 20 or above on the Verbal portion of the ACT (the college-admissions test, not the CUNY/ACT Writing Test), or
  • score 75 or higher on the English portion of the New York Regents Exam, or
  • transfer 45 or more credits to BMCC.

Why do I have to take ENG 088?

Students who score lower than 5 on the CUNY/ACT Writing Test take ENG 088 as their first English class. In ENG 088, students learn a variety of writing, reading, and critical thinking skills through the writing of sentences, narrative and descriptive paragraphs, and essays. These are skills all students will need for future college courses.

Is there a way to skip ENG 088 once I am placed in it?

On the first day of class in ENG 088, all students write a diagnostic exam. This exam will give the professor an overview of the students’ writing strengths and weaknesses. If the professor finds that the diagnostic exam demonstrates a student’s ability to succeed in a higher-level course, the professor will pass the exam onto the departmental review committee. If the committee decides that the student belongs in the next English course, the student will be allowed to transfer to ENG 095 without paying a fee. The English department will help that student transfer to an open ENG 095 section.

Do I get college credit for ENG 088?

No. The class does, however, count as six hours toward full-time status, which may help you qualify for financial aid, health insurance through parents’ policies (where applicable) and other benefits that require students to be enrolled full-time in college.

How will I be graded in ENG 088?

If you complete the course, you will receive a grade of either S (satisfactory) or R (repeat) at the end of the semester.

What do I need to do to pass ENG 088?

In order to receive an S (satisfactory) grade for the course, you have to: (1) pass the coursework assigned by the professor throughout the semester, (2) pass the final exam, and (3) satisfy BMCC attendance requirements (see BMCC’s attendance policy.)

What is the ENG 088 final exam like?

The ENG 088 final exam is a seventy-minute departmental writing exam. You will need to write a coherent, well-organized, and developed essay that is either narrative, descriptive, or both narrative and descriptive. The essay must address the topic and support and illustrate the essay’s main point.

A narrative essay is an essay that tells a story and relies on the writer’s or others’ experiences. A descriptive essay relies on the writer’s observations to illustrate a person, place, or thing. A narrative/descriptive essay combines both of these methods. All of these essays use specific details to support their points and enliven the narrative.

What kinds of topics can I expect to see on the ENG 088 final essay exam?

Here are three examples of ENG 088 final essay exam topics:

Descriptive Example
There are certain objects in our homes that we are fond of for sentimental reasons, such as photographs, gifts, or souvenirs. Describe an object in your home that you feel attached to, and tell how you obtained it and why it means a lot to you.

Narrative Example
Sometimes people in authority use their power unfairly. Tell about an experience in which someone in authority (such as a parent, a teacher, or an employer) treated you–or someone you know–unfairly.

Narrative/Descriptive Example
Relating to other people (e.g., relatives, co-workers, teachers, etc.) is not always easy. Describe a person you dislike and tell about how you have struggled to get along with that person.

Who grades the ENG 088 final exam?

Your professor will not grade your final exam. Instead, other ENG 088 professors will grade your final exam.

How is the ENG 088 final exam graded?

Two professors grade each 088 exam. Each professor assigns the essay a grade between 1 and 4. A combined grade of 6 is needed to pass the exam.

What are the graders looking for in a passing ENG 088 final essay exam?

ENG 088 graders are looking for essays that:

  • address the topic,
  • are clear, coherent, and organized,
  • are well-developed,
  • use the techniques of narration and/or description to support its main point,
  • show an understanding of the basic rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure.

What English class do I take after I pass ENG 088?

The next English course after ENG 088 is ENG 095.

In some cases, a student may be able to move directly from ENG 088 to ENG 101. To do so, the student must:

  • pass the ENG 088 final exam
  • pass the CUNY/ACT Writing Test, and
  • be exempt from, or have completed, ACR 095.

What if I don’t pass the ENG 088 final exam?

If you have not passed the course, you will have to retake the course. In this case, please make sure to take it the following semester because, once you complete ENG 088, there are at least three more English courses you will need to take to graduate. All of these courses have to be taken in sequence, one course per semester.

What if I miss the final exam?

If you miss the final exam, you must contact your professor as soon as possible to arrange for a make-up exam.

English Department

199 Chambers Street, Room N-751
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 220-8270

Hours of Operation:
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m