ELPT: Format

The following describes the basic format of the ELPT. The specific sections that you will take depend on your overall proficiency and our assessment of your need for evaluation.

Please note that, given the numerous combinations of skill levels represented across the various student populations attending the university, not all students will be required to take the same sections of the exam. The director of the program, based on a review of all pertinent test scores and relevant information, will determine which sections each individual student is required to take. If you have a question or concern regarding the section(s) you are assigned, do not hesitate to ask the director during the exam, or after the exam is complete.

1. Reading, Summary, Essay (~75 minutes)

The essay section of the ELPT is combines critical reading with skills in writing an original essay and summarizing both written and oral information. If you are assigned to complete the reading section, you will respond to 10-15 questions based on 2-3 reading passages. You may also be asked to write short summaries of information contained in the articles. Finally, you will be asked to write a brief expository essay in which you take a position on an issue presented and support that position.

The focus of assessment of the reading responses is on demonstration of ability to identify isolated pieces of information within an academic passage as well as demonstration of ability to process the main ideas of a passage and communicate them in appropriately paraphrased form.

The focus of assessment on the essay is demonstration of control of discursive elements appropriate to writing for the U.S. academy as well as command of linguistic structures appropriate to writing for the U.S. academy. We do not assess the opinions or positions expressed. We are only interested in the clarity and appropriateness of the language you use to express those opinions or positions.

2. Interview (~10-15 minutes)

The interview section of the ELPT is an informal, face-to-face interview with two trained interviewers. The interview is required for those students who have not met the minimum score meriting a waiver from this section (e.g. a 24 on the Speaking section of the iBT). There is no standard set of questions for this interview, as the interviewers adjust their expectations as the interview and responses emerge. As a result, the interview may last for a varied length of time, depending on the sophistication of the responses provided and the amount of discussion the interviewers need in order to make a solid assessment of the interviewee's current oral/aural skills.

This section tests your ability to comprehend questions in English as well as to answer them appropriately. The focus of assessment is on the appropriateness of your discursive response as well as its linguistic accuracy, not on the actual opinions you express. In other words, we do not assess your position on issues or opinions about situations. We are interested in the way in which you express those positions or opinions.

Initial questions may focus on your academic plans. Additional questions may focus on hobbies or current issues, although knowledge of current events or issues is not tested.

Like the TOEFL, the ELPT provides a snapshot of your overall language proficiency at the time of testing. Although studying for the ELPT is not recommended, spending time reading, listening to, speaking and writing in English prior to the test would be beneficial. Any activities that force you to use English as a medium of communication will help you hone your skills and improve your proficiency, which should be reflected on your ELPT results.

3. Listening (~20 minutes)

The listening section is required for students whose test scores suggest remaining challenges in their aural development. The listening section is an objective, multiple-choice test. Both the listening score and interview performance factor into placement in oral/aural classes.

Note: The integrated and complex nature of language assessment necessitates that the director of the program review the scores of each individual student before final scores and placements are determined. 

Further Information

If you need additional information, email the director of ILC at Please put your family name and "Query, ELPT format" in the subject line of your message.


Subject: Basso - Query, ELPT format