Placement Test Study Guide

Prep for the Test to do your Best!

The ESL Test SetUp

The ESL Tests examines the non-native speaker's ability to use high-level English grammar, vocabulary, & reading comprehension. Each section has 20 questions.

The 3 sections are:

1) Reading Skills: Read short passages & answer questions about them including direct questions & inferences.

2) Language Use: Evaluate grammar usage.

3) Sentence Meaning: Know & use vocabulary.

Helpful Sites

WritePlacer- The Writing Sample

The essay gives you an opportunity to show how effectively you can develop & express ideas in writing.

  • 1st: Read a short passage & assignment question focused on an important issue.
  • 2nd: Write an essay developing your own point of view on the issue.
  • 3rd: Support your position with appropriate reasoning & examples.
  • The position you take will not influence your score.

Scoring the Writing Sample

Your essay will be given a holistic score that represents how clearly & effectively you expressed your position. The following 6 characteristics of writing will be considered:

  • Purpose & Focus: Presenting information in a unified and coherent manner, clearly addressing the issue.
  • Organization & Structure: Ordering & connecting ideas.
  • Development & Support: Developing & supporting ideas.
  • Sentence Variety & Style: Crafting sentences & paragraphs, demonstrating control of vocabulary, voice & structure.
  • Mechanical Conventions: Expressing ideas using Standard Written English.
  • Critical Thinking: Communicating a point of view and demonstrating reasoned relationships among ideas.
Scores on WritePlacer range from 1 to 8. An essay that is too short to be evaluated, written on a topic other than the one presented, or written in a language other than English will be given a score of zero.

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