ESL Examinations


The ACCUPLACER ESL assesses your English skills if you have learned English as an additional language to your native or first language. The ACCUPLACER ESL is divided into four sections. You may be asked to take more than of one of these exams.


  • The Reading Skills test evaluates comprehension of short passages. There are 20 questions to this test. The content of passage is varied and deals with a variety of subjects including the arts, human relationships, physical science, history, social sciences, and practical situations.
  • Half of the Reading Skills test contains straightforward comprehension items (paraphrasing, locating information, vocabulary on a phrase level, and pronoun reference).
  • The other half assesses inference skills (main idea, fact vs. opinion, cause/effect logic, identifying irrelevant information, author's point of view, and applying the author's logic to another situation)

ACCUPLACER ESL Sentence Meaning

  • Sentence Meaning assesses the understanding of word meanings in one or two-sentence contexts. There are 20 questions to this test. The sentences draw from the content areas of natural science, arts/humanities, human relationships, history, social sciences, and practical situations.
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Verb tenses
  • Irregular verbs
  • Noun forms and pronouns
  • Modifiers and comparatives
  • Prepositions of direction and place
  • Comparatives, connectives, and commands


ESL Listening is a true listening assessment-allowing you to listen to all parts of the test, including the answers. You will be assessed on your ability to listen and understand one or more people speaking English - not on your ability to read English.

The conversations take place in a variety of settings, for example a computer lab, the library, shopping, in a restaurant, reading the newspaper, and performing tasks at work.

First, the student will listen to the conversation and the question that follows, while looking at pictures of the speakers. Below this are four answers from which to choose, written on the screen or with a drawing next to each choice. You will be asked to choose the best answer to the question that was asked.


This is to accurately assess your fundamental writing skills. This test measures your ability to write effectively, which is critical to academic success. Your college will select the topic to be written, and the essay will be either timed or untimed.

Your writing sample will be scored on the basis of how effectively it communicates a whole message to the readers for the stated purpose. Your score will based on your ability to express, organize, and support your opinions and ideas, not the position you take on the essay topic. The following five characteristics of writing will be considered:

  • Organization - The clarity with which you structure your response and present a logical sequence of ideas
  • Focus - The clarity with which you maintain your main idea or point of view
  • Vocabulary - The effectiveness of your use of vocabulary
  • Sentence Structure - The effectiveness of your sentence structure
  • Mechanical Conventions - The extent to which your writing is free of errors in usage and mechanics

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