ELI Placement Test

What is the ELI Placement Test?

Details about each part of the test

How the test is scored

How to prepare for the test

When is the ELI Placement Test?

Questions and answers about the ELI Placement Test

Register online for the ELI Placement Test

 

What is the ELI Placement Test?

The ELI Placement Test includes five separate tests (one writing test, two listening tests, and two reading tests) designed to measure your ability of academic English. The results help us to determine which ELI classes, if any, will be most helpful for you. If your English is adequate for full-time study at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, you will be exempted from all ELI classes.

The ELI Placement Test is given at least three times each Fall semester and at least two times each Spring semester. In Fall, we offer at least two test dates before the beginning of the semester, and one evening test after the semester has begun. In Spring we offer at least one test before the beginning of the semester, and one evening test after the semester has begun. The evening tests are only for students who are unnable to arrive in time for our regular tests (for example, because they cannot get their visa in time).

The ELI Placement Test takes about 4 hours, and follows the following schedule:

 

You will be able to find out your test results the next day, either online (via this website) or in person (results are posted on the wall outside the 5th floor of Moore Hall).

Details about each part of the ELI Placement Test

Part 1. Writing Sample (45 minutes)

Graduate students and exchange students. Graduate students and exchange students who are not exempt from the ELI take take the ELI's writing test, along with the listening and reading parts of the ELI Placement Test

Undergrdaute students. In Spring 2008, some undergraduate students will also need to take the ELI's writing test.

Undergraduates who have already taken the equivalent of ENG 100 at another university and received a grade of C or better are exempt from this part of the test (however, the course must be one that has been deemed equivalent by UH-Manoa.)

Those undergraduate students who take the Writing Placement Exam given by Manoa Writing Program on November 3, 2007 will be placed into ELI or ENG courses based on their exam results.

All other undergraduate students will placed based on ELI exemption criteria (if exempt), or by taking the ELI’s writing placement test. Undergraduate students who are exempt from the ELI based on attending school for 6 years or more in the U.S., Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom will be placed into an appropriate English Department writing course based on SAT/ACT scores. Those students who are exempt from the ELI based on other exemption criteria are placed into ELI 100. Those students who do not meet any ELI exemption criteria must take the ELI’s writing test, along with the listening and reading sections of the ELI Placement Test.

You will have two general topics to choose from. Your job is to write a composition on one of the topics.

Important things to remember:

    1. Select ONE of the topics. Do NOT write about both of them.
    2. You may wish to make an outline, or a quick rough draft.
    3. You may begin planning and writing as soon as you have selected a topic.
    4. Write only on the paper provided. If you need more paper, please raise your hand and ask an instructor for more.
    5. Be sure to write your name (family name first), I.D. number, date, and the number of the topic at the top of each sheet.
    6. Dictionaries are not allowed.
    7. Your writing will be scored for content, organization, vocabulary, and language use.

Part 2. Dictation (10 minutes)

The dictation test is the first of two listening tests. The dictation passage is a 50-word paragraph that has been recorded onto a cassette. Your job is to write every word you hear. The dictation passage will be read three times: the first time will be normal speed, the second time will be a bit slower (with pauses to allow you to write), and the third time will again be normal speed. After that you will be given about one minute to make any changes. Punctuation will be given during the second reading. Spelling and punctuation will not be graded, but grammar (such as a past-tense "ed" or a plural "s") will be graded.

Part 3. Academic Listening Test (60 minutes)

This is a multiple-choice test of your ability to understand oral academic English. You will hear 3 short lectures and 2 longer lectures on a variety of topics. You will be given a computer-readable answer sheet, a test booklet, and paper to take notes. Questions are in the test booklet, but you are allowed to mark your answers only on the answer sheet.

SECTION 1. In Section 1 you will hear three short lectures (each lecture is approximately 5 minutes long). After each lecture, you will have 2-3 minutes to answer 5-6 questions (the CD is silent during this period). You are not allowed to turn the page and look at the questions until after hearing the passage. However, you may take notes as you listen, and use those notes to help you when you answer the questions. Mark only one answer (the best answer among A, B, C, or D) for each question.

SECTION 2. In Section 2 you will hear two longer lectures (each lecture is approximately 7-9 minutes long). After each lecture, you will have 7 minutes to answer 9 questions (the CD is silent during this period). You are not allowed to turn the page and look at the questions until after hearing the passage. However, you may take notes as you listen, and use those notes to help you when you answer the questions. Mark only one answer (the best answer among A, B, C, or D) for each question.

Part 4. Gap-Filling (25 minutes)

This is a test of your ability to understand written academic English.  In this test, you will read two passages. After reading each passage, you will fill in 16-20 blanks by writing a missing word on the blank line.  Types of items include:

Practice passage 1

From aromatherapy to herbal remedies to acupuncture, Americans are embracing alternative health practices with open arms. While most people don't view these treatments as a replacement for traditional Western medicine, they do consider them a viable complement to conventional care.

EXAMPLE 1

Fill in the blank to complete the summary of the passage.

Most Americans do not consider the alternative treatment as a(n) 1 _____ to conventional Western medicine. However, they view them with favor and regard them as a 2 _____ to traditional care.

Answer: 1. equivalent, 2. complement (or supplement)

EXAMPLE 2

Fill in the blank to finish the restatement of information in the passage. 

The attitude of Americans towards alternative health practices is very 3 _____.

Answer: 3. positive (or favorable)

Practice passage 2

Traditionally, it was believed that acupuncture works by clearing obstructions in the body's energy channels, or meridians. Modern science, as explained by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, holds that when acupuncture points are stimulated, the nervous system releases chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals either change the experience of pain or trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the body's internal regulation system.

EXAMPLE 3

Fill in the blanks to finish the chart below.

Recent Understanding of How Acupuncture Works

Answer: 4.nervous 5. system, 6. chemicals, 7. chemicals, 8. hormones

 

Part 5. Reading Comprehension Test (55 minutes)

This is a multiple-choice test containing two sections: one on reading comprehension (25 items) and the other on vocabulary (25 items). You will be given a computer-readable answer sheet and a test booklet. Questions and reading passages are in the test booklet, but you are allowed to mark your answers only on the answer sheet.

SECTION 1. In this section, there are 6 passages to read. Each passage is approximately half a page, and has 4-5 questions to answer. Your job is to read each passage and the questions that follow, then choose the best answer for the question (A, B, C, or D).

SECTION 2. In this section, you are given a word or phrase, and your job is to choose the word or phrase that is closest in meaning (A, B, C, or D). Here are some examples:

feverish invisible related to work
A. hungry A. not seen A. recreational
B. poor B. not divided B. occupational
C. hot C. not allowed C. sensational
D. evil D. not wanted D. rotational

 

In Example 1, the word nearest the meaning of the word feverish is the word hot. If this were a part of the test, you would mark the letter C on your answer sheet.

NOTE: Each section includes half of the total number of questions. Some students prefer to begin with the vocabulary section because it takes less time to read. If you choose to do this, be careful to mark the corresponding questions on your answer sheet (the vocabulary section begins with Question 26).

Also note that some of the questions on this test are new, and are being considered for future versions of the test. These items are not included in your final "reading comprehension test" score. However, since there is no way of knowing which items are the experimental ones, please do your best on all the questions.


How the test is scored

Writing tests are read by at least three different readers, and the readers have to agree on the correct placement. For graduate students, placements are into the intermediate course (ELI 73), the advanced course (ELI 83), or EXEMPT. For undergraduate students, placements are into the intermediate course (ELI 73), the advanced course (ELI 100), or for undergraduates whose writing needs are clearly the same as native speakers of English, the tests are passed to the Manoa Writing Program for placement into the appropriate English Department course.

For both listening and reading, we use the higher of your two test scores to determine placement (we feel that whichever score is higher probably reflects your best ability). In effect, this means that you have two chances to do well. Because the two listening and two reading tests have different levels of difficulty and different numbers of questions, scores are adjusted statistically to create a standard scoring system for the listening and reading tests. Placement is based on the following scale:

60 or higher EXEMPT
50-59 Advanced course (ELI 80 for listening, or ELI 82 for reading)
49 or lower Intermediate course (ELI 70 for listening, or ELI 72 for reading)

 

For example, if you got a score of 43 on the Dictation and 52 on the Academic Listening Test, we would use your score of 52, which places you into the advanced course in listening. If you got a 60 on the Gap-Filling Test and a 48 on the Reading Comprehension Test, we would use the score of 60 and you would be exempt in reading.

How to prepare for the test

There are no "practice tests" that you can use to study from. The best way to prepare for the ELI Placement Test is to be familiar with the different parts of the test, so that you know exactly what to expect. It's a good idea to review this the day before the test. Additionally, we recommend that you try to sleep well the night before, and eat a good breakfast so that you have enough energy for the 4-hour test. It's also a good idea to bring an "energy" snack to eat during the 15-minute break between the listening and reading tests.

Some people find it useful to practice the different skills that the test covers. For writing, you could keep a journal in which you write your opinions about events and issues in the news. Allow yourself the same amount of time that our test allows - 45 minutes - and try to write a well-organized composition in which you support your views based on experience, things you've read, or things you've observed.

For listening, you could try to attend a lecture given in English and take notes, or you could listen and take notes to the English news from TV, radio, or the internet. If possible, you could try to record a short passage (around 50 words) and try to do your own "dictation test" from it.

For reading, you could try to get textbooks for classes you may need to take and start reading them. You could also read newspapers, news magazines, journal articles, or articles on the internet. Again, it's good to give yourself a time limit so you can get used to reading under pressure.

 

Photos: lava= R. Kelly/SOEST, diver=Chris Evans/SOEST, others=UH Relations